Numbers Game: Where to Look for Blocks
Numbers Game: Where to Look for Blocks

This article is part of our Numbers Game series.

Where can we find more blocks?

It's too late in the season for trades, and most of the reliable shot blockers were drafted. The only option is the waiver wire, but shot blockers emerge off the waiver wire only rarely. At this point, owners trying to boost blocks totals are reduced to adding players averaging barely a block a game.

What if we could identify the matchups that are the most block friendly?

Already this season we have identified specific stats that are correlated with increased rebounding and steals. This week, we try to do the same with blocks.

Starting Points

I'm coming into this search with three assumptions. First, opponent blocks has some value, and can be used as a reference point. Second, opponent blocks is not the best way to identify the best matchup for a potential shot blocker. Finally, a team's shot selection patterns will correlate to the number of blocks an opposing shot blocker can swat in a game.

So I set out to combine those three assumptions. I looked at how the league's best shot blockers fared against teams with the highest and lowest opponent block totals. Then, I checked how those same players performed against teams who attempted the most shots close to the hoop (and the least from that distance) and the teams that took the most mid-range shots (least from that distance), etc. Finally, I compared the sets.

We only care about how good shot blockers perform in every data set we

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Rikleen
Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball and was a nominee for the 2016 FSWA Newcomer of the Year Award. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living outside Boston.
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