NBA

Pacers’ Myles Turner wins 2020-21 blocked-shot title over Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, thanks to NBA rule book

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This has been a frustrating season for Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner, who’s playing some of the best basketball of his career on the defensive end when he’s been able to stay on the court. Unfortunately, multiple injuries limited him to 47 regular-season games, and he’s still out indefinitely due to a toe injury. 

Yet while most things didn’t go his way this season, he did get to end on something of a high note. Thanks to an obscure NBA rule, Turner beat out Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert to win the blocked-shot title this season. It’s the second time in the last three seasons that Turner has taken home that honor. Here’s how it happened.

Turner averaged 3.4 blocks per game, while Gobert finished second with 2.7 blocks. But while Turner clearly has Gobert beat numbers-wise, the league rule states that in order to win the regular-season title for any particular statistical category, a player must appear in at least 70 percent of the games. Having only played 47 of the 72 games (65.2 percent), Turner fell four games short of that mark. Gobert, meanwhile, played in 71 of 72 games (98.6 percent), and easily cleared the appearances threshold. 

At that point, it seemed like Gobert would take the title. However, there’s another more obscure rule that came to Turner’s rescue. For players who fall short of the games threshold, the league will figure out the number of additional games they would have needed to play to reach it. Then, it will assume the players recorded zero such statistics in all said additional games, and calculate the season average based on the new hypothetical games played number. If the player still leads the league with that new average, they are awarded the title. 

Perhaps that may be a bit confusing, so here’s how it worked with Turner. This season, players needed to appear in 51 games to reach the appearances threshold. Since Turner fell four games short of that mark, the league penciled in four games of zero blocks. Then it divided his total number of blocks (159) by 51 instead of 47. Based on that calculation, Turner would have averaged 3.1 blocks per game, which is still more than Gobert’s 2.7 blocks. Therefore, Turner is still the regular-season blocks champion. 



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