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Former Piston Dennis Rodman the seventh best power forward of the last 30 years

Once again, the Pistons were represented on the Basketball Jones’ ‘Best of the Last 30 Years’ lists. After having at least one Piston among the top 10 point guards, shooting guards and small forwards, Dennis Rodman was selected by Dennis Velasco as the seventh best power forward of the last three decades:

7. Dennis Rodman, Detroit Pistons (1986-1993), San Antonio Spurs (1993-1995), Chicago Bulls (1995-98), Los Angeles Lakers (1999), Dallas Mavericks (2000)
911 G; 7.3 PPG; 13.1 RPG; 1.8 APG; 0.1 3PTM; 52.1 FG%; 58.4 FT%; 0.7 SPG; 0.6 BPG

It’s probably safe to say that the NBA will never see anyone like Dennis Rodman again. He was a free spirit, enigmatic and more laid back about things than a dead person. However, on the court, he put in non-stop effort, played with fire, within the team concept and wanted to win. How else do you explain a skinny 6-foot-7 player averaging 13.1 boards per game in the NBA?

In his 14 seasons, Rodman averaged double-digit points only once (11.6 PPG in 1987-88). However, he grabbed double-digit boards 10 straight seasons, although the last two seasons saw the Worm play 35 games total. That said, Rodman did lead the league in rebounding per game average for seven straight seasons from 1991-92 to 1997-98, averaging an incredible 16.7 rebounds per. He made two All-Star games and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice (1989-1990 and 1990-91), as well as being named to eight All-Defensive teams (seven first team selections). The Worm was twice named to the All-NBA third team. He ranks 22nd overall all-time in Total Rebounds (11,954) and fourth all-time in Offensive Rebounds (4,329). Rodman’s 13.1 career rebound average is tenth-best all-time and he is tops in Total Rebound Percentage (23.4). He finished with five championship rings (two with the Pistons and three with the Bulls). Rodman had a less than stellar 14.6 PER, but had a very good 114 ORtg.

When I put Rodman on the list — he was a slam dunk to be on it by the way — I thought of Ben Wallace. If I put Rodman on the list, should I include Big Ben? In the end, despite better steals and blocks numbers, Wallace comes nowhere close to the impact that Rodman had on the game. He was an event. People paid attention to him to see what he’d do next. The five titles don’t hurt either.

Chris Webber, who played about half a season with the Pistons, also cracked the top 10.

Now, as for Velasco’s comments on Ben Wallace, there’s a simple solution: put him on the list of centers. He wasn’t a power forward. When he was voted into the All-Star Game, it was as a center. I agree, it would be hard to find a spot for Wallace in that crowded power forward space. But I think you’d be hard-pressed once you get past the obvious ones (Olajuwon, Shaq, Ewing, Robinson, Kareem, Parish, Mourning, Howard) to find any other centers in the last 30 years who were more impactful than Wallace.


  • Jul 28, 201110:11 am
    by brgulker


    Shawn Kemp? Really?

    Rodman definitely belongs on this list.  Glad to see him there.

    • Jul 28, 201112:00 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      He was so good in Seattle though.

      • Jul 28, 20111:16 pm
        by brgulker


        Yeah, but that makes him one of the best of the past 30 years? Seems like a stretch to me. Larry Nancy, Buck Williams, Charles Oakley. I don’t see what sets Kemp ahead of any of those guys.

        I agree with most of the list, but Kemp’s inclusion makes me think we’re too easily forgetting about history (and maybe valuing slam dunk shots too highly). Not trying to be a hater, but Kemp as an all-time great at his position just seems like a huge reach.

        • Jul 28, 20111:17 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          “(and maybe valuing slam dunk shots too highly)”

          Who wrote that comment? Billy Packer?

          • Jul 28, 20112:29 pm
            by brgulker

            Heh, getting my Pistons blogs mixed up.

  • Jul 28, 201111:40 am
    by neutes


    I’d put Barkley #1 easily followed by Duncan, Malone, and Garnett, but the top 4 are all so damn good. It could go 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D for all I care. It’s like splitting hairs between them.
    Rodman definitely deserves to be on it.

    • Jul 28, 201111:59 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Totally agree. With those four, order really doesn’t make much of a difference.

    • Jul 28, 20119:22 pm
      by tarsier


      I was thinking the exact same thing.

  • Jul 28, 201112:10 pm
    by RyanK


    If Barkley played defense, he’d be worthy of talking about the #1 spot.  He wasn’t much better than Dirk on that end.
    When you talk about both ends of the floor, Sheed should be part of that conversation.  He was the second best post player in the league for a long time, could drain the jumpshot anywhere on the floor, and was a tough defender.  Find one guy in NBA history who could hit the 3 pointer and score at will in single coverage in the post…Sheeds the only one I can think of.  His numbers weren’t stellar, but his ability was.
    This is my order:

    • Jul 28, 201112:22 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Sheed’s issue is rebounding though. Those other guys were all among the league leaders, double figures or better in boards for their careers. Sheed only even averaged 8 boards in a season twice.

      • Jul 28, 20111:18 pm
        by brgulker


        I’m with Patrick as well.

        I don’t think Sheed was ever as productive as he could have been, and I don’t think it’s fair to rate players on capacities they never realized. Sheed had all the tools to be brilliant, and occasionally, he was.

        • Jul 28, 20119:23 pm
          by tarsier


          Still better than Kemp

        • Jul 28, 201110:38 pm
          by RyanK


          There have been a lot of good big forwards the last 30 years.  Sheed doesn’t make the list for most people, but that’s only because his stats don’t compare favorably.  Keep in mind, man to man defense doesn’t show up in the stat box, but IS 50% of the game.  Sheed did that better than Barkley, Dirk, Webber, and Gasol…comparable to McHale, Malone, and Garnett.  Yes, they were better rebounders…yes they took more shots per game…   With his defense and his inside-outside game that none of them had, Sheed belongs in the the conversation for top 10.
          Throw in the Guaran-Sheed and you have to put him in the top 10…none of the others had that!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZPZqumvnDY

  • Jul 28, 20114:57 pm
    by kamal


    I think Rasheed should have made it over Gasol.  Gasol was going nowhere in Memphis and wasn’t making a mark.  Then in LA, with the exact same production, he’s an All NBA player?  Not buying it.  He just went to a better team.  As a matter of fact, What has he done in his career that has been better than Zach Randolph or Elton Brand?  It’s not like Gasol is the reason why the Lakers are a contender.  He’s a major reason why they won it all two years straight, but he’s replaceable with about 4 or 5 other guys out there, IMO.

    Kemp shouldn’t be on this list either.  I could easily make the case for Tom Chambers, Larry Johnson, Vin Baker, or Derrick Coleman over Kemp.  I would roll with Buck Williams or even Terry Cummings. 

    1.  Malone
    2.  Barkley
    3.  Duncan
    4.  Garnett
    5.  McHale
    6.  Nowitzki
    7.  Rodman
    8.  Webber
    9.  Buck Williams/Terry Cummings

    • Jul 28, 20119:26 pm
      by tarsier


      Heck, you could make a case for Bosh or Stoudemire at that 10th spot.

      • Jul 28, 201111:10 pm
        by kamal


        Bosh is similar to Gasol in regards to not doing jack when he was the man in Toronto.  I think they went to two playoffs during his tenure.  Then, like Gasol, he goes to a team with better players and NOW he’s a top player.

        If Stoudemire is considered a 4, I’d put him on the list over Kemp and Gasol.  But I think he’s played most of his career at the 5. 

        • Jul 29, 20119:28 am
          by tarsier


          Bosh’s case would be very similar to Gasol’s. I think either has a legit argument t make for the last spot but certainly won’t take it hands down. Amare has mostly played at the 5, but I still think of him as a 4. But maybe that’s just me.

        • Jul 29, 20119:29 am
          by tarsier


          And it’s not like Sheed would have accomplished much more as the man.

  • Jul 28, 20116:05 pm
    by JoshB


    I wouldn’t want to put Sheed on this list, because when you look at everybody else on it you can probably say that they maximized the talent they had, whereas you couldn’t come close to saying that for Sheed. He had arguably top 5 talent, but never came close to realizing that on a consistent level. When I look at those two bottom spots on the list I’m not really comfortable with those guys either. Hopefully this current crop of 4′s(Blake, Aldridge, Ibaka) will help to make this list look a little more solid from top to bottom

    • Jul 28, 20117:14 pm
      by kamal


      I put Rasheed on the list due to him being on winning teams throughout his career.   8 or 9 conference finals.  177 playoff games.  4 time all star.  he was a big time player.  He never had the monster stats like his contemporaries, but I think he was always surrounded with a more balanced team.  He could’ve scored more, but never had to force anything playing with Hamilton, Billups, Prince (and the Portland squad) Rider, Wells, Smith, Stoudamire, Sabonis, Derrick Anderson, Randolph and Schrempf.  He could’ve grabbed more boards but he played with Muresan, Randolph, Sabonis, Dale Davis, Brian Grant, Dice and Big Ben.

      I don’t think he was ever a big scorer.  He just scored enough to win.  Hell, I think he only averaged 16 in high school; only 16 in college.

      My friend and I have this argument all the time with Derrick Coleman.  My friend knocks his career because he felt that his talent SHOULD have garnered him GOAT status at the 4.  I don’t agree.  He was an all star and put up some pretty good numbers in the NBA.  I’d say his career was a success.  Same with Rasheed.  People say he should have been better based on his skills.  I think he had a great career.  Numbers and stats don’t always tell the story.  I’ll take Rasheed’s career over Abdur-Rahim, who put up much better numbers over his career than Rasheed. 

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