We can look at this a few ways. First, rather than just presenting a table of information, let’s look at rim protection in the form of a heat map.
We see some interesting if not completely surprising names here. Brandan Wright has long been a per minute star, averaging a 21.2 Player Efficiency Rating over the last 2 years. He also finished with a 2.2 xRAPM last year and was on the plus side in the previous year. After missing the first 23 games with an injury, Wright is back and playing well. However, the assumption with Wright has long been that he’s too thin to muscle with the big boys down low. Yet, despite his skinny frame, he has a long wingspan that is able to help him block an above average amount of shots and contest whatever he doesn’t block. If Wright is able to stay healthy, he’s a player to keep an eye on.
We see that Asik is one of the better rim protectors as well. In fact, we see that he protects the rim at a better rate AND allows a lower FG% at the rim on those contested shots than Dwight Howard. As has been mentioned in many rumors surrounding Asik, the Rockets are actually better defensively when he is on the court then when Dwight is. Does this mean Houston is trading away the wrong center? That would be taking it a bit far — Dwight is still much better offensively and while he hasn’t been as good as Asik at protecting the rim, he isn’t chopped liver either.
Brook Lopez finished with the highest Contest+ so it is not surprising to see him leading the way in rim protection. While he only blocks shots 0.6% more than the average big man (PFs and Cs), he is able to get his hand up and at least contest or alter most shots.
When I first ran the numbers in the previous article for contest frequency, I was surprised to see Serge Ibaka with a relatively low contest/altered frequency. Alas, it was only because he was too busy blocking nearly 25% of the shots attempted against him near the basket!
However, perhaps the biggest surprise on this list is Tyson Chandler, the one time DPOY. With a 45.8% rim protection rate, he comes in as one of the worst players in our sample and worse, he is 8% worse than the average big man which you can see visually with the “cold” blue box.