Long before this season began, John Wall had already put together a strong case as the best shot-blocking point guard in NBA history. Coming into this season, he was the only point guard in NBA history to average over 0.7 blocks per game, and he’s done it twice, both in 2012 and 2016.
His proficiency with chasedown blocks, as well as the occasional block of a big man at the rim have led to plenty of jokes about how he’s actually the Wizards’ best rim protector. However, this season that’s actually proving to be the case. He’s averaging more blocks per game than any other player on the team this season.
Now you might be thinking that’s just because Wall happens to be on a team without a good rim protecting big man, but the reality is, Wall would be the leading shot-blocker on 16 other teams in the league. Only 18 other players in the entire league are averaging more blocks per game than Wall so far this season.
If Wall can maintain this pace, he wouldn’t just have the greatest shot-blocking season by a point guard, he’d be in the running for the best per game average of any guard in NBA history. Currently, Wall is averaging 1.31 blocks per game. The only guard who has ever averaged more is Dwyane Wade who averaged 1.34 per game in the 2008-09 season.
What Wall is doing is both exciting and historic, but there are some caveats. It’s still early, so there’s plenty of time for Wall’s numbers to fall back to earth a bit, especially as the schedule gets more difficult. Plus, there’s always the danger of overvaluing these highlight plays. Keep in mind not every block leads to a defensive stop, like here:
On the other hand, you can already point to more than one instance where his blocks have made a clear difference in the final outcome of games. He’s helped swing two games with blocks in the closing moments against the Pistons and Heat:
While there’s a time and place to debate just how much Wall’s blocks contribute to wins and losses, but when it’s being done at this rate, it certainly can’t be a bad thing. On a team that has struggled defensively at times this season and lacks a leaping big man to patrol the paint, his ability to make opponents think twice about putting up a shot near the rim is one of the best things this defense has going for it this season.