When the Chicago Bulls first announced they'd be losing Nikola Vucevic for approximately 7-10 days due to a groin strain, I believed that this would be the blow that killed the team's positive momentum. It's just unreasonable to expect a team to continue consistently winning when half of their payroll is listed on the medical report... Or is it? Stepping in for Vucevic, Andre Drummond is seemingly determined to prove me wrong by keeping the Bulls afloat with his stellar play.
Drummond has averaged a stellar 15.3 points, 21.3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1.7 blocks in the three games since receiving a bump up into the starting lineup. Don't mistake this for a simple case of stat-stuffing either, as the Bulls have won two of the three games and Drummond has posted an impressive admirable +12 plus/minus over this stretch despite being asked to play the most minutes he's registered since the 2019-20 season.
In fact, his 64 total rebounds over these three games is the most any Bulls player has achieved in the last 25 years. Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson relayed this information after last night's big win, as Drummond ties Dennis Rodman's 64 rebounds he achieved in a three-game stretch back in January 1998.
Andre Drummond has proven he is still one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history with the Bulls.
Rodman only played three seasons with the Bulls but still managed to leave an enormous impact, averaging 15.3 rebounds per game, winning three rebounding titles, as well as three NBA championships in that span. It would be difficult to ask much more from a player after doing such a perfect job of accomplishing the specific role he was asked to do.
And yet, Drummond still has a strong case even up against a player like Rodman. Drummond has reeled in 26.1 rebounds per 100 possessions and achieved a total rebounding percentage of 29.8% during his two years with the Bulls, whereas Rodman posted 23.5 rebounds per 100 possessions and a 25.3% total rebounding percentage.
Granted, Dennis was 5 years older than Drummond when he joined the Bulls and played in a more difficult era to crash the glass, but the comparison is still interesting.
Drummond appears keenly aware of his positioning among the game's all-time greats, joining as his play has him in rarified air among even legends like Rodman. In a podcast appearance back in September, Drummond points out how he has accomplished more as a 30-year-old veteran than most could ever hope to, including All-NBA honors, two All-Star selections, and four rebounding titles.
He even went so far as to say he's the greatest rebounder in NBA history:
"I used to play 40-plus minutes. I was a star — All-Star, All-NBA, I’ve done it. Hall of Fame candidate, best rebounder ever… I’m the best ever. I’ve done great in my career. I think I have a chance to be a Hall of Fame player due to what I’ve done in my career. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m in the top 20 for being in the Hall of Fame, so I have a great chance."- Andre Drummond
This may sound ridiculous — and his hopes of joining the Hall of Fame are, to a certain extent — but Drummond deserves his flowers after being long overlooked and considered to be a selfish player who doesn't contribute to winning. He's one of the very few who survived the purge of traditional big men as the NBA shifted to a perimeter-centric game for a reason. Truth be told, Drummond is still one of the best backup centers in the league today, despite possessing virtually no shooting ability or lateral mobility away from the hoop.
You could even make the case that Drummond deserves to once again be a starter in the league, a position he hasn't held down full-time since playing for the Cavaliers and Lakers during the 2020-21 season. At the very least, he deserves a larger role with the Bulls moving forward. Drummond talks a big game, but he's proven he can back it up, and Chicago would be fools to not continue using one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history to their advantage once Vucevic returns to the fold.