UTAH JAZZ

How High Could Gobert Climb On All-Time Blocks List?

Dec 28, 2021, 4:33 PM
Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz...
Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz blocks a shot by Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game Two of a first round playoff game at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 19, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – After recording three blocks in the Utah Jazz 110-104 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, Rudy Gobert climbed into the leaderboard of the top 50 shot blockers in NBA history.

Gobert has now blocked 1,296 shots during his nine-year NBA career, leap-frogging former Jazzman Greg Ostertag and Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving in the process.

The question now stands, how high on the blocks list can Gobert climb?

First, let’s look at Gobert’s averages since he’s been a key rotation player for the Jazz, which has been the case ever since his second season in the NBA.

Gobert has averaged between 26 and 34 minutes each of his last eight seasons in the NBA and has never averaged fewer than 2.0 blocks, and never more than 2.7.

Over his 486 games as a rotation player, the defensive stalwart has averaged 2.4 blocks per game, which is a large enough sample size to run with in future projections.

Gobert will turn 30 this upcoming season, and on his current contract, is set to be a major piece of the Jazz puzzle for at least the next four seasons.

With roughly 50 games remaining to be played this season, plus four more seasons of 82 games, the remarkably healthy Gobert can reasonably expect to play around 350 games on his current deal with the Jazz with a few nights off calculated in for rest and injury as he ages.

At his current average of 2.4 blocks per game, spread over 350 games, it’s not difficult to imagine Gobert recording another 840 blocks to add to his career total before this contract with the Jazz is finished.

Those blocks alone would push Gobert up over 2,130 for his career, which if the current leaderboard remained the same, would place the Jazzman in the company of 16th ranked Manut Bol (2,086), 15th ranked former BYU legend Shawn Bradley (2,119), and 2021 Hall of Famer Ben Wallace (2,137) who sits in 14th.

Could Gobert climb from the top 15 to the top 10?

Currently, former Boston Celtic great Robert Parish sits in the 10th spot for career blocked shots at 2,361, roughly 230 ahead of where these projections have Gobert sitting heading into the 2026-27 NBA season.

If Gobert were to maintain a 2.0 blocks per game average after turning 34, he could catch Parish and move into the top 10 over the next 115 games, or roughly a season and a half.

However, moving into the top 10 could be difficult if Dwight Howard, currently the NBA’s top active shot blocker passes Parish before his career is finished.

At the moment, Howard has 2,211 career blocks, 150 behind the Celtics legend. Howard is in the twilight of his career and has recorded only 148 blocks in each of the last two seasons combined, not counting his 19 blocks with the Los Angeles Lakers this season.

This season, the center is averaging 0.7 blocks per game, and at that rate would need to play another 214 games, or a full two seasons after this year to surpass Parish.

It’s not impossible, but also not likely.

Other active players ahead of Gobert on the all-time blocks list include Serge Ibaka who is 635 blocks behind Parish and is nearing the end of his career, Brooke Lopez who sits 843 back of the top 10 and is unlikely to make it, DeAndre Jordan is 871 back of Parish and is nearing the end of his career, and current Lakers big man Anthony Davis.

Davis is 983 blocked shots back of Parish, 82 closer than Gobert, and likely represents the Jazz star’s greatest threat of finishing his career as a top 10 shot blocker in NBA history.

The Lakers star is nine months younger than Gobert and has a higher blocks per game average at 2.3 versus 2.2, which could make him the favorite to finish with a higher career total.

However, Davis has been one of the NBA’s most injury-plagued starts throughout his career, having missed at least 15 games during all but one of his eight seasons in the league, and has missed significant time both this season and last.

With his current run of injuries, mixed with Gobert’s streak of good health, it’s likely that the Jazz center passes Davis for career blocks in the next few seasons, and plays more career games into their 30s.

Outside of Davis, there aren’t any active players that truly pose a threat of catching and passing Gobert, or finishing among the league’s top 10 all-time shot blockers.

And, when considering the modern style of the NBA giving big men fewer opportunities to record blocks, it seems unlikely that any player will be hot on Gobert’s heels in the near future.

With that said, if Gobert can keep up his current shot-blocking pace, mixed in with a little luck staying healthy, and the Jazz superstar could find himself among the 10 greatest shot blockers in NBA history, with nobody close to dethroning him.

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