Dominance on the glass
Part of the criteria for best overall player has to factor in rebounding ability. If we’re talking hustle on the glass, the biggest Dame fans would have to acknowledge that he lags in comparison to Russell Westbrook.
Russ is not only the best rebounding point guard in the league today, but he’s unequivocally the greatest rebounding point guard we’ve ever seen. The closest example one could make to The Brodie’s dominance on the boards is Magic Johnson, who averaged 7.2 rebounds per game over his career.
Russ has a career average of 7.1 boards per contest, but he’s 6-foot-3 compared to Magic, who was 6-foot-9. Russ averaged double-digit rebounds for three consecutive seasons between 2016 and 2019, whereas Magic never accomplished that feat.
But let’s not lose sight of the conversation at hand. Lillard is a much more fair comparison than Magic, especially considering the similarities in stature between Lillard and Russ. But Lillard isn’t half the rebounder that Russ is, as Westbrook’s worst rebounding season came in 2010-11, when he posted 4.6 boards per game. By comparison, Lillard’s best season on the glass came in the 2016-17 season in which he averaged 4.9 boards per game.
In fact, The Brodie’s 11.1 rebounds in the 2018-19 season would have led the Blazers altogether. The Houston Rockets guard averaged 10.1 rebounds during the 2017-18 season, which also would have ranked first on the Blazers that year and the same can be said about Westbrook’s 10.7 boards during the 2016-17 season, as no player on the Blazers hauled in that many rebounds that season.
It goes without saying that Russ is much more dominant on the glass than Lillard and it almost seems unfair to Lillard to make that comparison, as Russ laps Dame in that department. But it can’t be ignored that Westbrook’s worst season on the glass is essentially Lillard’s best season in this category.
Advantage: Russell Westbrook