“Block Shots” in basketball, or simply blocks, is a defensive statistic. It happens when a defensive player deflects the ball legally from an offensive player as the latter attempts a shot.
What are “Block Shots” in basketball?
“Block shots” or blocks is a successful deflection of an attempted shot. This means the ball is thwarted in another direction before it goes to the rim. It is considered one of the most exciting defensive plays and a momentum-changer. When a shot-blocker is present, the offense often thinks twice about attempting shots near the rim.
- A blocked shot is the hardest counting defensive statistic to get. The best shot-blocking team in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers, blocks an average of 6.4 shots per game.
- “Block shots” have many other colloquial terms. These may be called “rejections,” “denials,” “swats,” “stuffs,” etc.
- Centers are power forwards and are often the players who block the most shots. This pattern has never been disturbed since, in the NBA, a guard has never led the league in blocked shots.
- Not only is blocking shots a notable defensive skill, but it may also lead to easy fastbreak opportunities on offense.
- When a defensive player swats the ball on the way down to the rim, that is not a legal block. In such cases, referees will call a goaltending violation, counting the basket.
Most Notable Blocks in NBA History
If you have watched basketball long enough, you know not all blocks are created the same. Some are more spectacular, while some directly changed a game’s outcome. Here are some of the most notable blocks in NBA history:
Tayshaun Prince’s chase down block on Reggie Miller
If not for Prince’s cat-quick reflexes, the Pistons possibly wouldn’t have made it past the Pacers and won the NBA championship in 2004.
LeBron James sealed the 2016 deal with the block on Andre Iguodala
If not for this block, it’s possible LeBron would only have three championships on his resume.
Nate Robinson stuffs Yao Ming YouTube Video
There is nothing better than seeing a relatively short NBA guy blocking the tallest player in the NBA at the time.
Kenyon Martin’s two-handed catch block on Dwyane Wade
Blocks are commonly done by swatting the ball and letting it run free. However, it’s also legal to simply snatch the ball out of the air and ensure a possession for your team, like what K-Mart did here.
Old MJ Revenge Play
As we all know by now, Michael Jordan took everything personally. Apparently, Ron Mercer didn’t get the memo.
Skills Needed to Block Shots
Shot blocking is a skill.
Athletic ability. Blocking shots sometimes require you to sprint and jump high in order to reach the ball up in the air. This needs some amazing athletic ability to pull off.
Timing. You reach high up and jump to block shots, but not all the time. An even more critical skill is timing. If you can correctly time an offensive player as he released the ball, you won’t have to sprint or jump.
Basketball IQ. Blocking shots requires timing, but it also needs basketball IQ. You have to read the tendencies of the players so you’d know what they like to do. Do they like to go up and under? Can he make a turnaround jump shot over the left shoulder? Does he like to use pump fakes around the basket? Answers to these questions are critical. This way, you can contest and perhaps block their shots more effectively.
NBA’s All-Time Block Shots Leaders
Here are some of the best shot-blockers that have ever played.
- Hakeem Olajuwon (3,830)
- Dikembe Mutombo (3,289)
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (3,189)
- Mark Eaton (3,064)
- Tim Duncan (3,020)
- David Robinson (2,954)
- Patrick Ewing (2,894)
- Shaquille O’Neal (2,732)
- Tree Rollins (2,542)
- Robert Parish (2,361)
More Block Shots Stats and Facts
Dwyane Wade is the shortest player (at 6-foot-4) to record at least 100 blocks in a season. He did it in 2008-09.
Manute Bol had more career blocks (2,089) than points (1,599).
The record for most blocks in a single game was 17 by Elmore Smith.
The most block shots in a Finals game record are owned by Dwight Howard (9) in a Game 4 win over the Lakers in 2009.
Olajuwon, Andrew Bynum, and Mark Eaton all had a 10-block game in the playoffs.
Brittney Griner blocked 736 shots in her college career at Baylor. That is the all-time NCAA record for men’s and women’s basketball.
It was only in 1973 that block shots were officially kept as a statistic. If it did happen in Wilt Chamberlain’s time, he would have easily been at the top of the all-time blocks list.
You’re on the Block Shots in Basketball Definition page.
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