The saying goes, you can never have too many bigs. That holds true in the NBA and in NBA 2K12. In this edition of 12 in ‘12, we’re gonna look at the top shot blockers in this year’s game and try to provide a little extra info along the way. After all, defense wins Championships.
Top 12 in '12 - The Best Shot Blockers in NBA 2K12
Submitted on: 01/09/2012 by Matthew Coe
The way we compute the best shot blockers is to combine the ‘Block’ rating with the ‘Defensive Awareness’ rating and reaching a ‘total’ for our purposes. The ‘Block’ rating is weighted slightly higher than ‘Defensive Awareness’.
12) Serge Ibaka: Oklahoma City Thunder - 93 BLK, 78 DAWR. The 22-year-old Serge Ibaka is known for one thing in his young NBA career: shot blocking. It seems like Ibaka has a nose for the shot block the way that some players have a nose for rebounding. I actually think he is a bit underrated in NBA 2K12. His defensive awareness should be higher to better simulate his instinct. Ibaka averaged 1.3 blocks per game in his rookie season of 09, and last year he saw an increase in minutes (44 starts) that led to 2.4 blocks per game. That was good enough for third in blocks per game and first in total blocks in 2010. This guy has a legit shot at averaging more than three blocks per game. Regardless of my small gripe about his awareness, Ibaka is a special shot blocker in 2K12. The Oklahoma City Thunder get a lot of play from 2K gamers because of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, but it’s Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins (86 BLK, 84 DAWR) that make the Thunder a contender.
11) Marcus Camby: Portland Trailblazers - 88 BLK, 84 DAWR. Marcus Camby is one of the greatest shot blockers of all-time. Camby has led the league in blocks three times in his career. During his career, he has never finished lower than 10th in blocks per game in a season. He is also the all-time active leader in blocks per game at 2.5 and he ranks third all-time in total blocks among active players with 2,232. Camby ranks 12th in the NBA in career blocks. I could keep going, just like Camby seems to keep going. Last season, Camby averaged 1.6 blocks per game. In NBA 2K12, Camby is not Portland’s only shot blocker. Greg Oden (93 BLK, 77 DAWR) is almost as imposing as Camby in virtual reality.
10) Andrew Bynum: Los Angeles Lakers - 85 BLK, 87 DAWR. Andrew Bynum averaged two blocks per game in 2010, slightly less than his 2.1 in an injury-marred 2007. Some NBA experts believe the sky is the limit for the 24-year-old Bynum while others cite his injury woes as the reason why he’ll never reach that potential. Regardless of where you stand on Bynum, the numbers show that he’s a strong shot blocker for the Lakers. Flanked by Pau Gasol (80 BLK, 84 DAWR) the LA big men have been long regarded as the strength of the Lakers along with recently departed Lamar Odom. Without Odom, and with Gasol being the subject of recent trade rumors, Bynum will be asked to take on even more of the defensive load. While the obvious draw of playing with the Lakers in 2K12 is still Kobe, Bynum’s shot blocking ability shouldn’t be overlooked. With some well timed swats from Bynum, you could have the Lakers running the fast break like the old ‘Showtime’ crew.
9) Ben Wallace: Detroit Pistons - 80 BLK, 93 DAWR. The 37-year-old Wallace may not be the shot blocker he once was (he had 278 in 2001), but the old man can still get it done. While his block rating may not look impressive, it’s his defensive awareness that keeps him in position to challenge anything close to the rim. Even in his 15th NBA season, Wallace still averaged one block per game for Detroit. His career average of two blocks per game (2,086 total) ranks him 24th all time in the NBA. When you look at Detroit’s roster in 2K12, Big Ben simply doesn’t have any help protecting them rim. Wallace’s career may be winding down, but he’s still got plenty of rejections left, especially in NBA 2K12.
8) Tyrus Thomas: Charlotte Bobcats - 90 BLK, 83 DAWR. The 25-year-old forward from LSU seems to finally be ready for a breakout season. Thomas has averaged at least one block per game in each of his four NBA seasons. In 2008, Thomas was fourth in the league in total blocks and eighth in blocks per game. He doesn't have a lot of front line help in Charlotte with the next highest rated shot blocker on the team is perennial punch line DeSagana Diop (80 BLK). The 2K ratings gods have blessed the young Thomas with a 90 block shot rating that makes him very effective and very fun to use in NBA 2K12. Bobcats fans can only hope rookie Bismack Biyombo can develop into a force or that team owner Michael Jordan can bring a legit center to the Queen City. Either of those would make Thomas’ progression that much faster.
7) Samuel Dalembert: Houston Rockets - 92 BLK, 82 DAWR. Most recently plying his trade in Sacramento, Dalembert was considered one of the prize big men in the frenzied 2011 free agent mix. A quick look at his numbers and it’s not hard to see why. Dalembert is a strong inside presence capable of rebounding, scoring, and blocking shots. Dalembert ranks 10th among active centers, averaging 1.9 blocks per game in his career. Houston is lucky to add the big man to their front court. He’s a solid presence who makes all but the best players think twice about driving in his direction.
6) Tim Duncan: San Antonio Spurs - 86 BLK, 89 DAWR. Here’s something that you may not know. Amidst all of Duncan’s success, his 1997 Rookie of the Year Award, his two NBA MVPs, his three NBA Finals MVPs and his four NBA Championships, Duncan has finished in the Top 10 in blocks in every season of his career. He’s 16th in blocked shots all time going into the 2011 season with 2,381. Duncan has averaged 2.3 blocks per game in his career -- he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. You might think that his defensive prowess may be slipping a little as he ages, he is 35, however the stats show otherwise. In 2010, Duncan averaged 1.9 blocks per game, his best mark since the 2007 season. Duncan doesn’t have much help on the front line these days in San Antonio. No other player on the roster has an above average block shot rating in 2K12. Young Tiago Splitter is still learning the game and DeJuan Blair is determined, but undersized. For Spurs fans in NBA 2K12, Duncan is still your best defender and shot blocker.
5) Javale McGee: Washington Wizards - 97 BLK, 77 DAWR. McGee burst onto the NBA scene in 2010 when he got an expanded role in Washington. For the first time in his career, he was a starter and got to play big minutes. The result was 2.4 blocks per game, good for second in the NBA. McGee is only 23 years old and he has three years of NBA experience. This season may just be the year when McGee adds his name to everyone’s list of great shot blockers in the game. Washington users who love to control the paint have more than McGee to be thankful for this season. Also on the Wizards’ roster are Ronny Turiaf (89 BLK, 82 DAWR) and Hamady N’diaye (84 BLK, 73 DAWR). With John Wall stealing the ball on the perimeter, and McGee, Turiaf and N’diaye patrolling the paint, it’s going to be a lot of fun to play as the Wiz in NBA 2K12.
4) Joakim Noah: Chicago Bulls - 86 BLK, 94 DAWR. Noah has averaged atleast 1.4 blocks per game since the 2008 season and has become the heart and soul of the Bulls defense. Noah’s awareness means that he doesn’t frequently bite on pump fakes and is almost always in position to contest the opponent’s shot. When he’s on the floor with Taj Gibson (84 BLK, 82 DAWR) these Bulls become even tougher to score on. Noah also provides Chicago with some important intangibles that are hard for any video game to re-create. Nevertheless, with Noah protecting the paint for your virtual squad in 2K12, you can feel that much better about trying to manually defend on the perimeter.
3) Josh Smith: Atlanta Hawks - 90 BLK, 88 DAWR. Josh Smith has finished in the top four in blocks per game every year he’s been in the league. Smith possesses amazing leaping ability and anticipation that allow him to swat shots all over the floor. Smith averaged a career low 1.6 blocks per game last season. Smith teams with Al Horford (72 BLK, 82 DAWR) to form one of the most unique front courts in the NBA. Many pundits feel that Smith and Horford are playing out of position for the Hawks, but you can’t argue with the numbers. At the same time it’s scary to thing how good the Hawks defense might be if they had a true center that allowed Horford to drop to PF and Smith to move to SF. If Josh Smith is on your team in NBA 2K12, you’ve got one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA, and a great shot blocker to boot.
2) Andrew Bogut: Milwaukee Bucks - 95 BLK, 83 DAWR. Bogut led the NBA in blocks per game last season, averaging 2.6, and finished second in 2009 with 2.5. When healthy, Bogut is one of the best in the NBA at changing the opponent’s offensive game plan. Bogut allows Brandon Jennings and the Bucks perimeter defenders to be more aggressive knowing that he’s lurking behind, ready to attack any shots that enter the paint. Combine Bogut with Larry Sanders (81 BLK) and you’ve got yourself a pretty formidable front line if you play as the Bucks in NBA 2K12.
1) Dwight Howard: Orlando Magic - 91 BLK, 95 DAWR. No surprise here at No. 1. Most NBA observers agree that DH12 is the most destructive force on defense in today’s game. The man is a freak of nature. It’s no wonder every team in the league is lining up trying to trade for Howard’s services. He’s the reigning three time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and led the NBA in blocks in 2008 and 2009, while tallying third best last year. He’s only 26 and he already has over 1,000 blocks in his seven-year career (1,228). It’s hard to imagine he won’t finish in the Top 10 all-time with more than 2,500 career blocks. If Howard plays another ten years, it’s not inconceivable that he could reach 3,000 blocks and finish Top 5 all-time. You know you want him on your 2K12 squad.
Honorable mention goes to Joel Anthony of the Heat (93 BLK, 75 DAWR), Tyson Chandler of the Knicks (80 BLK, 88 DAWR) and Roy Hibbert of the Pacers (86 BLK, 82 DAWR). They just missed the cutoff.
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