Defending the rim: Updated shot blocking stats

Early this season I began tracking four players who I felt would be among the elite shot blockers in major conferences. It turns out I picked the right four, as they're currently No's. 1-4 in blocks per game. This means I have a larger data set to work with.

Here's how I described what I was trying to get at in December: "The value of a blocked shot depends on what happens after it occurs. Which team gains possession? A block into the stands just means the opposition gets to run a set out of bounds play, which typically have a higher efficiency than standard half court sets. So it's more about gaining possession than it is about pleasing the fans."

Since then I've been tracking what has happened to the 403 shots rejected by these guys. Here is where we are in mid-February: Jeff Withey (Kansas) is, has been, and will be your guy.

Through his first 50 blocks his team gained possession of the ball 72% of the time. The next closest person was Jordan Bachynski (Arizona State) at 62%. On the 48 blocks Withey has had since then, Kansas has gained possession 75% of the time.

The up-to-date totals look like this (with last year's Anthony Davis in for reference):

Player Games Total Controlled Uncontrolled % FC/40
Withey 24 98 72 26 73.5 2.2
Bachynski 25 95 59 36 62.1 3.2
Obekpa 25 105 65 40 61.9 4.0
Davis 40 184 108 76 58.7 2.4
Noel 24 105 57 48 54.3 3.2

Withey is clearly the King of the Block. His team keeps possession more than 10% more often than the next closest player, and almost 20% more than Kentucky did following a Nerlens Noel block. Withey also does it while committing the fewest fouls.

Unfortunately, Noel's awful injury means that he's no longer going to be on the court this year. So I'll need to add a new player. I'm not sure just yet who that is going to be.