Best rebounder in Boston Celtics history: Bill Russell
Did you really expect anyone else to be here for the Celtics? If you go by offensive and defensive rebounds, then I guess you could make somewhat of an argument for Robert Parrish (the NBA didn’t start tallying offensive and defensive rebounds until 1973-74, Bill Russell’s second to last season), but there’s no doubt that Russell deserves this recognition.
Putting the Celtics aside for a second, Russell is one of the greatest rebounders in the history of the sport. In terms of career rebounds and rebounds per game, Russell only trails Chamberlain in both categories. He also happens to hold a 1,569 rebound advantage over Parrish for the Celtics’ all-time franchise lead.
Drafted second overall by the then-St. Louis Hawks in the 1956 NBA Draft, Russell was traded to the Celtics for center Ed Macauley, as Boston head coach Red Auerbach valued his unselfishness and defensive prowess.
The legendary coach was ultimately vindicated in moving heaven and earth for the future Hall of Famer. In his 13 seasons — all with the Celtics — Russell never averaged fewer than 18.6 rebounds in a season, including an unbelievable 10 straight years hauling in at least 20 boards a night. He led the league in rebounding five times.
That and his stout defense — he led the league in defensive win shares in all but two seasons — made Russell the perfect complement to the likes of Sam Jones, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, K.C. Jones and Tom Heinsohn, hence why they won so many championships during that time.
Russell’s relationship with the City of Boston was far from rosy during his time there, but there’s no denying the indelible mark he left on the league and the Celtics.