NBA Fantasy: Predicting the Top 3 in Blocks for the 2019-20 Season
The NBA is an offense-driven league. We love when a player averages 30 points a night for an entire season. Often lost in celebrating big shots being made is the defensive efforts that go into each game on a given night. Blocks aren’t the best indicator in someone being a good defender, but a guy who can block shots on a nightly basis is going to keep offenses honest and make players second guess their shot attempts.
One of the best shot-blocking players of all time was Manute Bol. Bol stood at 7’7 and only 200 pounds, but he could protect the rim in ways others only dreamed of. An interesting bit of NBA trivia is that Bol averaged more blocks per game than he did points per game over his career. He finished his career with a 3.3 block per game average and a 2.6 point per game average. Not many NBA players can lay claim to that accomplishment.
With the NBA season approaching and fantasy drafts taking place, let’s look at last seasons top-3 in blocks.
Myles Turner. Turner comes in at number one, with 199 blocks, good for a 2.7 league leading average. Turner has a career 2.1 blocks per game average. He finished seventh last season, and second two seasons ago.
Rudy Gobert. Gobert slides into second place last season with 187 blocks and a 2.3 per game average. Gobert led the league in blocks a few seasons ago, and for the past five seasons has averaged more than two blocks a game.
Brook Lopez. Lopez rounds out the top-3 with 179 blocks and a 2.2 average per game. Lopez may not be known as a top defender like the two guys above him, but he has been steadily consistent as a rim protector throughout his career.
None of these guys finished in the top three in blocks in 2017-18 and made the leap last season. So as you can see with most categories, it can vary from season to season quite easily. Much like assists favor ball-handling point guards, blocks will always favor rim-protecting big men.
As far as the 2019-2020 season goes, here’s what the top-3 could look like when the season has wrapped up.
Anthony Davis. If Davis can finally be healthy, he has a great chance to reclaim his throne. He has led the league three different times and has a career block average of 2.4 per game. Davis could go as the number one pick in most drafts without anyone questioning that decision. He does so much, so well, especially in a fantasy sports context.
Mitchell Robinson. In Robinson’s rookie season, he tallied 161 total blocks. That’s good for fourth in the league. The front court is going to be crowded for the New York Knicks, but if they know what’s good for them (and that can be a big if), they’ll let Mitchell anchor the middle and protect the paint.
The hope with Whiteside is that he will return to his old ways now that he is a Portland Trail Blazer. He came in seventh last season, and 20th the season before while falling out of favor with the Miami Heat. However, three seasons ago he finished fourth, and during the 2015-2016 he finished first with a whopping 3.7 blocks per game average! In Portland, he will have a chance to turn his career around and should get quality minutes at the center position with Jusuf Nurkic out recovering from an injury.
It may be some time before we ever see a season finish like Manute Bol’s rookie year when he averaged five blocks a game over 80 games. These days, players have to be a bit more versatile on both ends of the floor to find significant minutes. However, each season new guys emerge that invoke fear for players trying for the easy basket and the 2019-2020 season will be no different.