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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The 2018-2019 Cavs Were the Worst Shot-blocking Team in NBA History. And it's Not Close.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 3:26 PM

click to enlarge BASKETBALLREFERENCE.COM
  • BasketballReference.com
The 2018-2019 Cavaliers blocked only 195 shots over 82 games, the lowest mark in NBA history.


Only seven other teams — two in the 70s, one in the 80s, one in the 90s and three in the 00s — blocked fewer than 250 shots across a full season. And more than 150 players in the history of the league have individually blocked more shots in a season than the Cavs managed to block as a team, including the Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner this year.

The Cavs vastly improved after the all-star break with the return of Kevin Love and the steady growth of rookie Collin Sexton, but the shot-blocking woes remained unchanged throughout. The team blocked only eight shots in their final six games (0, 3, 1, 1, 1 and 2), failing to eclipse the 200 mark and securing an ignominious place in the league's statistical annals.



Larry Nance, Jr. led the team in total blocks (40) and blocks per game (0.6). Alec Burks, who was shipped to the Sacramento Kings near the trade deadline, was the only other player who blocked a half-a-shot per game. Center Ante Zizic (22) and athletic wing David Nwaba (17) were far behind Nance in total blocks, and swatted away only 0.4 and 0.3 per game, respectively.

Woof Woof Woof.   

Larry Nance, Jr. also led the team in total rebounds and total steals and assembled, to be fair, a solid all-around statistical season, despite the team's abysmal early performance. LeBron James is the only other Cavalier to put together a season with as many rebounds, assists, steals and blocks as Nance did this year. (LeBron did it seven times, and obviously scored at a much higher clip.)

click to enlarge BASKETBALLREFERENCE.COM
  • BasketballReference.com
With a final record of 19-63, the Cavs finished second-worst in the league and stand the best chance, alongside the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns, of landing the top pick in this summer's NBA draft.

Duke's Zion Williamson is the consensus #1, and his freak athleticism would surely improve the team's defensive presence around the rim. But if the Cavs land in the #2 or #3 spot and nab wily point guard Ja Morant or lefty scoring threat RJ Barrett, they should consider a lengthy, athletic big later in the first round. (The team has Houston's first round pick, acquired in the Alec Burks trade.)

Of course, known shot-blocker John Henson may be on the roster when the season begins next year. Henson is the 28-year-old, 6'11" center who was sent to Cleveland alongside Matthew Dellavedova in the George Hill trade. He spent his time in Cleveland on the bench, recovering from a wrist injury. Twice in his career, though, Henson has averaged more than 4.0 blocks per 36 minutes on the court. If he can still rebound and run the floor next year, get him out there!

(Feel free to revisit our predictions for the 2018-2019 campaign, many of which came to pass! In our "basement" predictions for Tristan Thompson, we said he might only successfully block six shots all season. Thompson outperformed our lowest expectations, blocking 16.)

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