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John Wall Is Now NBA’s Best Shot-Blocking Guard

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Keith Allison/ Flickr

Dwyane Wade is officially the greatest shot blocker 6-foot-4 or shorter the NBA has ever seen. The former Miami Heat legend and current Cleveland Cavalier has 902 career blocks in 921 games. However, while he is historically regarded as the best shot blocking guard, John Wall has established himself as the best shot blocking guard in the NBA today walking into the same footsteps as Wade.

Wall is known for his flashy passes and thunderous dunks. However, he has the ability to block just about any shot within his reach and his chase down blocks are just as exciting as LeBron James.

Wall’s ability to reject any shot was on full display in the Washington Wizards’ 120-115 season-opening win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

1. Wall Welcomes No. 1 Pick Markelle Fultz to NBA

Wall’s first block of the game brought the crowd to its feet when he stuffed the 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. Fultz appeared to have a step on Wall as the Wizards point guard turned him to his strong side. Just as it appeared Fultz had a layup, Wall stuffed him at the rim. It was a Welcome to the NBA moment for the 76ers rookie.

2. Hustle Block

Wall showed his jaw-dropping athleticism late in the fourth quarter. After scoring on a layup that broke a 100-100 tie, Wall sprinted back on defense then closed out from the weak side to block¬†Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot’s layup attempt with the ball bouncing off Luwawu-Cabarrot for a forced turnover.

It was a pivotal moment in the game, as Wall followed up his efforts with one of his game-high eight assists on a dish to a cutting Marcin Gortat that extended Washington’s lead to 104-100. The Wizards led the remainder of the game.

3. The Chase Down that Never Was

As exciting was his two official blocks, Wall’s best block of the night did not count. After turning the ball over to Ben Simmons, Wall timed Simmons’ break to the basket like a predator stalking his prey before closing and smacking Simmons’ layup attempt against the backboard. Unfortunately, Wall’s teammate Bradley Beal was called for a foul just a moment before Wall got to the ball.

While it didn’t count, Wall’s efforts prevented an And-1 opportunity for Simmons. The sequence was another display of Wall’s ability to chase down any fast break opportunity.

Wall provided three highlight worthy blocks. Each showcased the various angles and ways he dictates a shooter’s shot. He can turn you to re-position his angle at the shot as he did against Fultz. He can cover ground to front the shooter for a block as he did with¬†Luwawu-Cabarrot’s layup attempt late. But it’s the chase downs that gets a buzz from the crowd. With any turnover or break he transforms into a miniature LeBron James to swat two points away in a blink.

The New Wade

Wade became the NBA’s all-time leader in shots blocked (676) for a player 6-foot-4 or shorter on Dec. 2, 2013, surpassing Dennis Johnson’s mark in 421 games fewer. Coincidentally, it was that season that Wall established his prowess for blocking shots. Wall finished 0.49 blocks per game for the season, ranking second among qualified point guards and first among players 6-foot-4 or shorter.

2013-14 0.49 2nd 6th 1st
2014-15 0.57 1st 6th 1st
2015-16 0.77 1st 2nd 1st
2016-17 0.63 2nd 5th 3rd

Source: Basketball-Reference

From that season and beyond he has been first or second among point guards in blocks per game and top-3 among players 6-foot-4 or shorter. That stretch includes him collecting the most blocks among players 6-foot-4 or shorter each season from 2013-14 through 2015-16.

Much like Wade, Wall feasts off the impact block. Every block he makes comes with pizzazz that can spark his team.¬†As Wade is in the final stage of his career, Wall has blossomed into his replacement as the league’s best short shot blocker.



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