Serge Ibaka has made a name for himself as one of the best shot blockers in the league.The NBA will announce its full All-Star Game rosters on Thursday, and a number of players have made a case to make their first appearance in the game. ESPN Stats & Information is taking a five-part look at these players.
4. Emerging Talent, Part II (Serge Ibaka, DeAndre Jordan)
5. The Veterans (Mike Conley, Arron Afflalo, Kyle Lowry)
Serge Ibaka is referred to as “Iblocka” by his teammates because of his elite shot-blocking abilities. Ibaka ranks third in the NBA this season, swatting 2.6 shots per game.
Blocks Per Game Leaders
Ibaka leads the NBA with 115 blocks this season and has led the NBA in blocked shots in each of the last three seasons. Since blocks became an official stat in 1973-74, the only other player to do that was Dikembe Mutombo, who led the NBA in total blocks five straight seasons from 1993-94 to 1997-98.
Among players who defend at least five field goal attempts at the rim per game and have played at least 30 games this season, Ibaka ranks fourth in the league in opponents’ field goal percentage (43.2 percent), according to NBA.com player-tracking data.
Injuries to Russell Westbrook have also caused Ibaka to take a larger role in the Thunder offense. Ibaka’s usage percentage of nearly 20 percent is a career-high, as are his 14.6 points per game.
Jordan is averaging a career high in several categories, including minutes per game (35.5), points per game (9.5), rebounds per game (13.9) and blocks per game (2.4).
Currently, he finds himself in the top five in three major statistical categories. He leads the league in rebounds per game (13.9), field goal percentage (64.5 percent), and is fourth in blocks per game (2.4). The only player to average at least 13 rebounds, two blocks and shoot 60 percent from the field in the same season was Dwight Howard in 2009-10.
Jordan has four games of 20 or more rebounds this season, tied with Dwight Howard for the league high. Prior to this season Jordan had three 20-rebound games in 351 career games.
Jordan is tied with Andre Drummond for the league lead with 5.5 contested rebounds per game (contested rebounds, being ones in which an opponent is within 3.5 feet of the rebounder). His 651 total rebounds this season (in 47 games) is already 39 more than he had all of last season (82 games).
Jordan is currently on a 24-game streak of double-digit rebounds, which is seven more than the second longest streak of the season (Joakim Noah).