Michael Veneziano of ESPN Stats and Information has done a study trying to figure out which player is the better shot blocker: Kansas’ Jeff Withey or Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel?
Noel may lead Division I in blocks per game, but Withey is right behind him, and he’s done a better job of turning his blocked shots into positive production for his team.
Of Withey’s 93 blocks, all but 10 have been kept inbounds (89 percent), a higher rate than Noel, who has kept 84 of his 103 blocks inbounds (82 percent).
However, the bigger difference is in how many blocks have ended up in the hands of a teammate. Noel is more of a “swatter,” liking to block the ball as hard as he can, while Withey controls the direction of the basketball much better.
Meanwhile, I put together a chart of Noel’s blocks this season compared to his time in the game. First, took the ratio of shots taken while Noel was in a particular game. Then figured the percentage of those shots that Noel blocked. There have been five games this season in which Noel blocked at least 15 percent of the opponents’ shots.
His best game in that regard? On Dec. 15, Noel blocked 26.5 percent of Lipscomb’s shots. That means that Noel blocked more than one out of every four shots.
Related link: Chris Dortch did some research of his own for the SEC Digital Network.