The NBA's Best Inch-for-Inch Shot Blockers

Tim Lewis@timdlewiContributor IJanuary 18, 2012

The NBA's Best Inch-for-Inch Shot Blockers

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    Normally when we think about the best shot blockers in the NBA, we're talking about guys like, JaVale McGee (7'0"), DeAndre Jordan (6'11") and Dwight Howard (6'11").

    But what about the guys who aren't quite as massive as the aforementioned players, yet can still get up and swat fools?

    Although McGee and Jordan are the only players in the league who average over three blocks per game, I wanted to keep the focus on players who were under 6'10".

    Let's take a look at the 10 best "inch-for-inch" shot blockers in the NBA today.

10. Amir Johnson (6'9") Power Forward, Toronto Raptors

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    In seven NBA seasons, Amir Johnson has averaged 1.1 blocks per game for the Detroit Pistons and the Toronto Raptors.

    At 6'9", Johnson's length on the defensive end has helped him become one of the better shot blockers in the NBA today.

9. James Johnson (6'9") Forward, Toronto Raptors

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    James Johnson was a first-round pick by the Chicago Bulls in 2009 and is averaging 1.5 blocks in just over 22 minutes per game for the Raptors this season.

    Someone get this man some more playing time! 

8. Kenneth Faried (6'8") Power Forward, Denver Nuggets

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    I realize Kenneth Faried has only played 19 minutes this season, but the rookie has already blocked five shots in just two games!  That's 2.5 blocks per game for those of you keeping track at home.  

    The 22nd overall pick by the Denver Nuggets also averaged 2.3 blocks per game during his senior year at Morehead State.  

7. Tristan Thompson (6'9") Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Tristan Thompson may be a rookie, but that doesn't mean he doesn't like a good block party when he sees one.

    Thompson is averaging 1.3 blocks on the season and is athletic enough to increase that number as he matures into a better defender.

6. Taj Gibson (6'9") Power Forward, Chicago Bulls

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    Taj Gibson averages 1.3 blocks for his career and is averaging 1.4 blocks this season off the bench for the Chicago Bulls.  

    Gibson would start for most teams, but he happens to play for perhaps the deepest team in the NBA.  

5. Kevin Durant (6'9") Small Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    As the reigning back-to-back NBA scoring champion, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Kevin Durant is his ability to put points on the board in a hurry.

    But at 6'9", Durant's super-long wingspan also allows him to block 1.1 shots per game as he continues to improve on the defensive end.

4. Josh Smith (6'9") Forward, Atlanta Hawks

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    Josh Smith is the definition of an elite shot blocker.

    Averaging 2.2 blocks for his career, Smith is averaging 1.7 blocks per game this season from his power forward position.

3. Elton Brand (6'9") Power Forward, Philadelphia 76ers

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    At 6'9", Elton Brand has always played much bigger than his height—averaging 1.9 blocks for his career.

    Now in his 13th season, Brand is still averaging 1.3 blocks per game and registered six straight seasons with at least two blocks per game.

2. John Wall (6'4") Point Guard, Washington Wizards

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    John Wall may only be 6'4", but he can flat-out sky when it comes to blocking shots on the defensive end.  

    Wall is averaging an incredible one block per game so far on the season from the point guard position.

1. Dwyane Wade (6'4") Guard, Miami Heat

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    Who else could it be?

    At just 6'4", Dwyane Wade has averaged one block per game during his nine-year NBA career and is racking up a ridiculous 1.7 blocks per game this season.  

    Wade's superior athleticism as a combo guard allows him to do many things on the basketball court, and his ability to block shots is probably the most overlooked part of his game.