Josh Smith Continues Rewriting Blocked Shots Mark At Record Pace

John BollerCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 29:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks battles for a rebound against Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics at Philips Arena on January 29, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It is the equivalent of delivering a thunderous slam dunk, or draining a clutch three-pointer late in the game.

A blocked shot can have a huge impact on the team by igniting your teammates and making the fans get up off their seats to scream as loud as they can.

Since his debut in 2004, Josh Smith has made his presence on the defensive end known while carving his way through the record books.

He is the youngest player to reach 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 career blocked shots. On Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder he moved onto the next milestone for career blocked shots. He is the first player to reach 1,000 career blocks before the age of 25.

With 8:29 left in the first quarter of Tuesday’s game, Smith rejected Oklahoma City’s Nenad Kristic’s lay-up to reach the millennium mark. At 24 years and 59 days old, he reached the 1,000 block plateau with ease.

Smith has been on a tear lately in the block department, he has blocked 17 shots in the Hawks’ last nine games, and both his 105 blocks and 2.19 blocked shots per game are third best in the league this season.

Smith seems to do it all for the Hawks on the defensive end, while supplying spectacular finishes on the offensive end.

He got his 500th career steal on Jan. 22 against the Charlotte Bobcats. Smith passed Spud Webb on Atlanta’s all-time steals list and is now in the franchise’s top-10.

It is not the first time that the Hawks have had a lethal shot-blocker. Before Smith, it was Tree Rollins, Dikembe Mutombo, and Theo Ratliff.

If Smith finishes the season as the Hawks’ leading shot blocker, he will break Mutombo’s streak of five-straight seasons of doing so. Smith has led the team in blocked shots at the end of the season every year since his debut in the NBA back in 2004.

Smith’s 1,002 career blocks puts him third on the Hawks’ all-time shot-blocking list. He is also closing in on Mutombo’s 1,094 career blocks as a Hawk. The most blocks Smith has had in a season was 227 in 2007.

He would have to record 122 more blocked shots to reach that mark and only needs 93 more to move past Mutmbo. If he is able to stay healthy for the rest of the season, it is likely Smith will only have Rollins in front of him. Rollins still has a comfortable lead over Smith with 2,283 career blocked shots with Atlanta.

The Hawks and Smith will be in action on Friday night at home against the Chicago Bulls. Atlanta is currently fourth place overall in the Eastern Conference and in second place in the Southeast Division.

It is a tight race for the top four spots in the East. The Hawks are only half-a-game behind the third place Boston Celtics, and trail second place and division rival Orlando Magic by one-and-a-half games.