Guys who defend the paint are just as important as the point guard who leads the team on offense. They are often the last line of defense for teams when things break down on the perimeter. The NBA has seen its fair share of elite shot blockers in the past like Mark Eaton and Hakeem Olajuwon. Currently, the league has a tremendous amount of players that can guard the rim and they’re listed below. Here are the top ten predicted NBA blocks leaders for the NBA.
Predicting the Top 10 Blocks Leaders for the NBA 2022-23
10. Clint Capela
Clint Capela has been one of the best defensive centers in the league over the past few seasons. He can get rebounds with the best of them and because of his athletic ability, he can affect shots at the rim. Atlanta’s perimeter defense got better once they added Dejounte Murray, but Trae Young is still a revolving door on that end. Expect Capela to get his fair share of blocks this season, especially if John Collins gets better on that end. For his career, Capela averages 1.5 blocks per game and is coming off a season in which he averaged 1.3 blocks per game. Capela is also removed from posting his career high in blocks per game with 2 during the 2020 NBA season.
9. Giannis Antetokounmpo
There are still some poor souls that are under the impression that Lebron James is still the best basketball player on the planet. What they fail to realize is that Giannis Antetokounmpo now holds this title. What makes the Greek Freak the best player on the planet? He literally does everything including blocking shots. Giannis averages 1.3 blocks a game and averaged 1.4 blocks during the 2021-22 NBA season. He can guard 1 through 5 and often finds himself playing defense on the perimeter instead of on the inside. If Giannis hangs around the paint more on defense, that 1.4 blocks per game stat will increase substantially. His will to win plus his athleticism and versatility puts him on this list.
8. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis has been a shot-blocking machine since he entered the league in 2012, ranking in the top 10 six times in his career. His lowest block per game total over the course of a season was in 2020. That year Davis averaged only (yeah, right) 1.6 blocks per game. That was his second-lowest season average only behind his rookie season. Injuries contributed to that number but make no mistake about it, Davis is an elite rim protector. As long as his health holds up over the season, Davis will average at least 2 blocks a game. 2 blocks per game lines up with his career average of 2.3.
7. Mark Williams
Casual NBA fans probably don’t know about Mark Williams. Ask any Duke University basketball fan about Williams and they’ll give you the inside scoop. He was drafted 15th overall by the Charlotte Hornets for one reason only…defense. Williams averaged 2.3 blocks over 62 games at Duke, including an absurd 2.8 blocks while averaging 23.6 minutes a game. If that number doesn’t stand out to you then maybe this next fact will change your mind. At the NBA Combine, Williams was measured at 7’2” in shoes with a 7’6” wingspan. While those numbers are mind-boggling, the real eye-popping stat is a 9’9” standing reach. You can’t teach height and length and Williams has both of them. Expect those crazy blocked shot numbers to continue in the NBA, even with limited playing time. Yes, a rookie will rank in the Top 10 as one of the premier NBA blocks leaders.
6. Mo Bamba
Mo Bamba was expected to be an elite shot blocker at the next level. In his only year at the University of Texas, Bamba averaged 3.7 blocks per game, which led the Big 12 and ranked second nationally. Bamba more than likely won’t approach that number in his NBA career but his numbers are trending in the right direction. During his first three seasons with limited playing time due to injuries, in 15 minutes a game played during those three seasons, Bamba averaged 1.4 blocks a game. Those 1.4 blocks per game in 15 minutes played average out to 3.1 blocks per game over 36 minutes. Last season, which was his best season by far due to the fact Bamba was actually on the court, he averaged 1.7 blocks per game in 26 minutes. If Bamba can increase his minutes, he will flirt with 2 blocks per game next season, and who knows, maybe he can average 3.7 blocks a game as he did in college.
5. Jarrett Allen
Jarrett Allen isn’t scared to get dunked on. While he’s been in his fair share of posters, he’s also been on the positive side of clashes at the rim. How many players do you know have successful block attempts against the likes of Anthony Davis, Lebron James, James Harden, and Giannis Antetokounmpo? How many people have been successful at blocking Blake Griffin at the rim? Not many but Allen is on that list. Allen is fresh off his first All-Star campaign. During his all-star season, Allen averaged 1.3 blocks a game. While this number doesn’t look impressive, the opposition will have to pick its poison by going up against Allen or his frontcourt counterpart Evan Mobley in the paint. Allen hasn’t unlocked his true shot-blocking yet and he can only go up from here. We predict he will be one of the NBA blocks leaders for a long time.
4. Evan Mobley
Evan Mobley didn’t take any time at all to become an impact player in the NBA. Not only was he able to put the ball in the bucket at ease, but Mobley was also able to make an impact on the defensive end. Mobley led all rookies in blocks per game with 1.7 and second place on that list was nowhere close. Those 1.7 blocks Mobley averaged ranked 6th in the NBA ahead of the likes of Joel Embiid, Hassan Whiteside, and Al Horford; three players that are known for their defense and shot-blocking ability. Mobley’s playing time should definitely increase this season and with Mobley being able to play the 4 or the 5 (maybe even the 3 because he’s that talented), there’s no reason why Mobley can’t average more than 2 blocks a game.
3. Rudy Gobert
The 7’2” Rudy Gobert just finished his 9th NBA season. Out of those nine seasons, Gobert has averaged less than 2 blocks a game only once; in his rookie season when he played less than 10 minutes a game and averaged 1 block a game. When it’s all said and done, Gobert is going to end up being one of the best shot blockers in NBA history. Last season was a down season for Rudy Gobert in terms of his shot-blocking numbers. His 2.1 (yes, 2.1 blocks is a down season for Gobert) is his second lowest blocks per game number only ahead of his rookie season numbers. Those same 2.1 blocks for a down season for Gobert ranked 3rd in the NBA last season. While some people might assume that his block numbers will go down due to the offense wanting to drive on his new teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, Towns himself isn’t a slouch on that end. Gobert has practically found a comfortable home in this top 10. When it comes down to it, the sky is blue and Gobert will once again find himself among the league leaders in blocks.
2. Jaren Jackson Jr.
There has been a common theme with most of the shot blockers on this list….health. This includes last year’s block leader Jaren Jackson Jr. During his first two seasons, Jackson averaged 1.5 blocks per game in 27 minutes. Jackson also had major problems with fouls in his career that cut into his playing time. The 2020-2021 season for Jackson was a wash due to injury but he was still able to average 1.6 blocks per game. Coming off a career season in which he was healthy and averaged his lowest fouls per game totals (3.5 which is still high), Jackson averaged 2.3 blocks which led the NBA. If Jackson can drop those foul numbers below 3 per game, he could very well average close to 3 blocks per game. He is a staple in the NBA blocks leaders.
1. Mitchell Robinson
Mitchell Robinson was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school. Robinson is a big-body center with athleticism that’s off the charts. When the Knicks drafted Robinson in 2018 (in the second round which is an absolute steal), it didn’t take him long to showcase that shot-blocking ability. During his rookie season, Robinson averaged 2.4 blocks a game while only averaging 20 minutes a game. After his rookie season, he was hampered by injuries. In 2022, Robinson looked as if he returned to form. Robinson’s 1.8 blocks a game ranked 4th in the NBA. Once Robinson is able to get his fouling in check, he should be able to play more minutes. More minutes means more opportunities to improve those shot-blocking numbers. Robinson will be a staple in this top 10 for years to come. Robinson will be the best of the NBA blocks leaders this year.