The Top 10 NBA Shot Blockers of All-Time

The Top 10 NBA Shot Blockers of All-Time

The Top 10 NBA Shot Blockers of All-Time

Photo by USA TODAY Sports

In the NBA, very few things are as game-changing on defense as a quality shot blocker. In the rich history of the league, there have been some phenomenal players who did leave a mark because they could block your shot. This article will examine the careers of the ten greatest shot blockers in NBA history, analyze their impact on defense, and how their legacies have stood out.

1. Hakeem Olajuwon

  • Teams: Houston Rockets (1984-2001), Toronto Raptors (2001-02)
  • Career Stats: 3,830 blocks (3.09 BPG). He was commonly known for being very active in defense and his ability to score big-time block figures on a game-by-game basis.
  • Claim to fame: Olajuwon was also a perennial All-Defensive team member and won the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year honors. He topped the NBA in blocked shots three times and won two of his four NBA Defensive Player awards.

2. Dikembe Mutombo

  • Teams and Years Played: Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets (6 -New York Knicks ), Houston Rockets 4 
  • Career Stats: With 3,289 blocks recorded and an average of 2.87 BPG, He patrolled the paint with a menacing shot-blocking presence.
  • Key accomplishments: Mutombo was a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, selected to multiple All-Defensive teams, and a Top Shot Blocker Award Winner. He also led the NBA in blocks on two separate occasions to further highlight his defensive contributions.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

  • Team(s), years: L.A. Lakers, 1975-89; Milwaukee Bucks, 1969-75
  • Career Stats:3,189 Blocks, 2.57blocks per game. His elite shot-blocking was matched by his solid defensive skills in general.
  • Claim to Fame: Abdul-Jabbar was named one of the top ten defenders in NBA history, and his presence as a defensive anchor earned him multiple All-Defensive team selections.

4. Mark Eaton

  • Final Teams, Years: Utah Jazz (1982-93)
  • Career Stats: 3,064 career blocks, 3.50 blocks per game. He ranked no lower than 13th in blocks per game over his full-time playing career and led the league in rejections four times.
  • Claim to fame: Eaton led the NBA in blocks per game four times and was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year while earning five All-Defensive teams. He was a game-changer. He swatted shots going on the skylines and delivered some solid defense for the Jazz.

5. Tim Duncan

  • Teams: San Antonio Spurs (1997-2016)
  • Career Stats: Duncan notched 3,020 blocks for a career average of 2.17 blocks per game. He was the last line of defense that guided San Antonio's style to use a Ben Wallace jersey like no one else in purple and black.
  • Career Accomplishments and Accolades: Adept on the defensive end, Duncan was selected to multiple All-Defensive teams en route to becoming one of the most dominant interior defenders in NBA history.

6. David Robinson

  • Team: San Antonio Spurs (1989-2003)
  • Career Stats: 2,954 Blocks (2.99 bpg). It was the same with his shot-blocking presence on defense.
  • Career Highlights and Awards: Robinson was known for his defensive prowess, receiving multiple All-Defensive team selections and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He provided a nightly rim-protecting presence on the Spurs' defense.

7. Patrick Ewing

  • Team: New York Knicks (1985-2000, 01-02 Orlando Magic; traded to the Heat)
  • Career Stats: Ewing notched 2,894 blocks. The biggest aspect of his defensive contributions was his talent for blocking shots, which he did frequently throughout his career.
  • Career highlights and awards: Ewing was an 11-time All-Star, one of the greatest shot blockers in NBA history, frequently led the league in blocks, and was a member of four NBA All-Defensive Teams.

8. Shaquille O'Neal

  • Teams: Orlando Magic (1992-96), Los Angeles Lakers (1996-2004), Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics.
  • Career Stats: O'Neal - 2,732 blocks. While he was renowned for his offense, O'Neal's shot-blocking prowess changed the game tremendously.
  • Highlights and Honors: He used his defensive presence to earn All-Defensive team selections, which also proved that he was capable of protecting the rim.

9. Tree Rollins

  • Teams: Atlanta Hawks (1977-1988), Cleveland Cavaliers( 1988-1992, Detroit Pistons (1992-93) Houston Rockets( 1993-94 ), Orlando Magic, Spurs.
  • Career Stats: Rollins recorded 2542 blocks, an average of 2.20 big, with per-game splits as below. One of his biggest strengths as a defender was blocking shots.
  • Claim to Fame: Rollins made four All-Defensive teams and blocked more than 3.0 shots per game in three different seasons

10. Robert Parish

  • Teams: Golden State Warriors (1976-1980), Boston Celtics (1980, 1994), Charlotte Hornets (1994/95 season only); Chicago Bulls;
  • Career Stats: (2,361 blocks) 1.47 Blocks per Game. A big part of his defensive value was in his shot-blocking prowess.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses: Parish was a shot-blocking machine as a rim protector, ranking among the league leaders in rejections nearly every season because of his presence as Boston's defensive enforcer.

 

The top 10 shot blockers in NBA history spawned an impressive lineage that occasionally included multiple players of the same mold. They changed games with their shot-blocking and policed the paint to create an entirely new standard of play for big men on the defensive side. As the NBA transforms, these men stand for what was once popular and is still relevant in protecting basketball.


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