Walker Kessler Averages 4 Blocks per 36 Minutes, Set to Join Mitchell Robinson in Jazz Center

‣ Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center, is on track to become the first NBA player since Mitchell Robinson in 2018-19 to average at least four blocks per 36 minutes in 500 or more minutes played.
‣ Kessler is currently leading the NBA in block percentage (9.9%) this season and ranks fifth in blocks. He is also third in blocks per game (2.6), 18th in defensive box plus/minus (1.9), and eighth in offensive rebound percentage (12.4%).
‣ Kessler was selected 22nd overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2022 NBA Draft and was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves and then to the Jazz as part of the Rudy Gobert trade. He is earning $2.83 million this season and is slated to make $2.96 million in 2024-25 as part of a four-year, $13.37 million rookie-scale contract.

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Walker Kessler, the Utah Jazz center, might just make history. He could become the first NBA player since Mitchell Robinson in the 2018-19 season to average at least four blocks per 36 minutes in 500 or more minutes played.

Kessler is only 22 and has already made 13 starts in 35 games this season. The 7-footer is averaging 8.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, a career-high 2.6 blocks, and 23.7 minutes per game. His total playtime this season? Just 831 minutes.

According to various NBA betting sites, the Jazz are not the favorites to win the championship this season. They’re ranked 23rd in odds. Surprisingly, teams like the Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, and Houston Rockets have better odds.

A tweet from Basketball Reference points out that Kessler is averaging 4.0 blocks per 36 minutes. If he keeps this up, he’ll be the first player since Mitchell Robinson in 2018-19 to average at least 4 blocks/36 (min. 500 MP).

Kessler, a Georgia native, was initially selected 22nd overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2022 NBA Draft out of Auburn University. But he didn’t stay there long. He was immediately traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves and then to the Jazz as part of the Rudy Gobert trade.

In his rookie 2022-23 season, Kessler made 40 starts in 74 games. He averaged 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and 23 minutes per game. His shooting stats? Impressive. He shot 72% from the field and 51.6% at the foul line.

But this season, his shooting is a bit down. He’s shooting only 65.1% from the floor and 49% at the line.

In a game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 14, 2023, Kessler recorded 10 points, 10 boards, four assists, one steal, and a career-high-tying seven blocks in 27 minutes as a starter. He leads the NBA in block percentage (9.9%) this season. Kessler is also fifth in blocks (92), third in blocks per game (2.6), 18th in defensive box plus/minus (1.9), and eighth in offensive rebound percentage (12.4%).

A tweet from WembyMuse shows that Kessler has the second-best block to foul ratio in the NBA. He’s playing elite defense without fouling.

Seven other NBA players have averaged four-plus blocks in at least 500 minutes played. These include big names like Serge Ibaka, John Henson, Hassan Whiteside, Larry Sanders, Greg Stiemsma, Chris Anderson, and Alonzo Mourning.

Kessler’s earnings this season are $2.83 million. He’s slated to make $2.96 million in 2024-25. This is part of the four-year, $13.37 million rookie-scale contract he signed with Utah in July 2022. His deal also includes a $4.87 million club option for 2025-26.

The Jazz are set to begin a six-game road trip at Houston on Saturday night.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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