Gobert doesn’t rank as the best rim protector on his own team, but opponents have still shot just 53.1 percent at the rim when he’s been there, according to Second Spectrum tracking. Embiid (54.1 percent) and Turner (55.9 percent) also rank among the top 15 rim protectors.
There’s more to rim protection than just defending the shots that are taken near the rim. There’s also preventing those shots from being attempted in the first place.
Shots in the restricted area are the most valuable shots on the floor. As a whole, the league shoots 63 percent in the restricted area, a value of 1.26 points per shot. And as a whole, the league takes 33 percent of its shots in the restricted area.
Preventing those shots is partly about a team’s defensive scheme. Only 26 percent of Milwaukee’s opponents’ shots have come from the restricted area when Brook Lopez has been on the floor. That’s the lowest rate among the 340 players who have been on the floor for at least 1,000 opponent field goal attempts. And it’s lower than the Bucks’ opponent rate when Lopez has been off the floor (30 percent). The Bucks’ rim protection (and, in turn, it’s top-ranked defense) is about both scheme and personnel.
Embiid, Gobert and Green have similar on-off differentials in regard to preventing shots in the restricted area. Turner, however, does not. Indiana opponents have taken a greater percentage of their shots in the restricted area while he’s been on the floor than they have while he’s been off the floor.