Even though he is commonly remembered as the defensive specialist, who could shadow any given opponent at positions 1-5 on every given night, and rebounding machine who led the league in that department from 1991/92 even until 1997/98, many forget that at the very begging of his NBA career Dennis Rodman was also productive at the offensive end of the floor.
Although 25-year old forward started just one single game during his 1986/87 rookie campaign he showed some early promise and potential to be evenly effective on both ends of the floor for the rising power in the Eastern Conference, eventually 1989 and 1990 NBA Champs – Detroit Pistons.
Of course, the high-octane Pistons led by superstar showman Isiah Thomas and coached by future Hall-of-Famer Chuck Daly were loaded on each and every position. At forward spot Dennis The Menace would watch and learn from experienced veterans Adrian Dantley and Sidney Green.
But when given an opportunity the tireless rookie from Southeastern Oklahoma State University would fearlessly enter the game and do whatever Coach D would ask him to do, while averaging 6.5 ppg in 15.0 minutes per contest (which is 15.6ppg in hypothetical 36.0 minutes per contest).
During the course of that season, Rodman reached double digits in scoring 21 times and scored a season-high 21 points on 10-10 shooting against Sir Charles led Philly on March 14th, 1987. Performing in 1987 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Rodman scored a play-off high 14 points in 21 minutes in a one-point loss to Boston Celtics, on May 26th, 1987.
Season later, in 1987/88, Rodman would pump up his rookie numbers to 11.6ppg while hitting 56.5 of his field goals. Already in 1988/89, his third NBA season, he would lead the League with 59.5% accuracy from the floor. Interestingly, during 1991/92 season he would score 32 three-pointers!
Just enough for The Warm to also leave his mark on the offensive end of the floor.
Marjan Crnogaj is BN contributor and the author of the book ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’ which can be found here.