What to make of Serge Ibaka’s two recent games of 10 blocked shots? I mean, we all know that 10 blocks are a bunch. But how rare is a double-digit blocked shot game? What does that compare to?
I ran some numbers that hopefully will put it in perspective. In the last 10 years, only 12 times, before Ibaka, had a player recorded 10 blocks in a game:
March 2011: JaVale McGee 12 — just because he’s a knucklehead doesn’t mean he can’t create havoc for the other team, too.
January 2008: Marcus Camby 11 — Camby never really has gotten his due. He’s been a really good player for a very long time.
November 2002: Ben Wallace 10 — we forget how good Big Ben was back in the Piston salad days.
January 2003: Jermaine O’Neal 10 — I’ve got to admit, I guess I never knew he was such a defensive force.
January 2004: Dikembe Mutombo 10 — Now him, I knew about.
January 2004: Calvin Booth 10 — Who is Calvin Booth and what is he doing on my list? A 10-year journeyman, 6-foot-11 center out of Penn State, started 83 career games.
February 2004: Amare Stoudemire 10 — Are you kidding me? Amare Stoudemire once blocked 10 shots in a game? Just exactly how did he veer off Superstar Boulevard? Was it all health-related?
December 2004: Josh Smith 10 — Still a ballplayer. A better ballplayer than Carmelo Anthony, if you want the truth.
March 2006: Andrei Kirilenko 10 — Watching the Jazz the other night, I wondered what happened to AK47. Turns out he signed with CSKA Moscow and, despite an opt-out clause, Kirilenko apparently has decided to remain with the Russian team the rest of this season. By the way, old pal Nenad Krstic is on that team, too.
January 2007: Emeka Okafor 10 — Okafor’s a good ballplayer. He’s sort of lost in New Orleans.
December 2007: Marcus Camby 10 — Like I said…
November 2008: Dwight Howard 10 — Does it surprise you that Serge Ibaka has more career games of double-digit blocked shots than does Dwight Howard?
Anyway, that’s rare are. Counting Ibaka, that’s 14 games of double-digit blocked shots. So what does that equate to? Fifty points, 20 assists, 25 rebounds?
I ran some more numbers. In the last 10 seasons, NBA players have produced 75 games of a player reaching at least 50 points. So 10 blocks is much more rare. The league has had eight 60-point games. So let’s find a happy medium. The NBA has had 11 56-point games in 10 years, though none since February 2009, when Kobe Bryant scored 61.
So Serge Ibaka’s 10 blocks are about as common as a 56-point game.
Let’s go to rebounding. In the last 10 years, there have been 21 25-rebound games. There have been 12 26-rebound games. The most recent was a 27-rebound game by Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut in January 2011. Interestingly, those 12 games were produced by 12 players. No one did it twice.
So Serge Ibaka’s 10-blocks game was about as common as a 56-point or 26-rebound game.
Let’s try assists. There have been 29 20-assist games. So we’ve got to go higher. Let’s try 21. There have been 11 21-assist games, most recently by Deron Williams (once) and Rajon Rondo (twice) last season.
So Ibaka’s 10-blocks game was about as common as a 56-point or 26-rebound game or a 21-assist game.
And here’s what’s most impressive. Ibaka did it twice in nine days. In 10 years, only 12 times had a player blocked 10 shots in a game. Then Ibaka did it twice in a six-game span.
We are seeing something special.