It’s not easy being a great defender in the NBA when you have to constantly go up against so many of the incredibly skilled players that have played in this league over the years. A few have, however, mastered the art of defending with names like Ben Wallace, Dwight Howard, Gary Payton, and Dennis Rodman coming to mind, and even the likes of Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard more recently.
For all their greatness though, they never managed to have a season where they averaged more than 2 steals and 2 blocks per game. In fact, since the 1973-74 season when these first became officially recorded statistics, only 6 such seasons have been recorded and it’s been accomplished by only 3 individuals.
NBA Players to Average Over 2 Steals And 2 Blocks In The Same Season
1987-88: 2.1 SPG, 2.7 BPG
1988-89: 2.6 SPG, 3.4 BPG
1989-90: 2.1 SPG, 4.6 BPG
1990-91: 2.2 SPG, 3.9 BPG
1991-92: 2.3 SPG, 4.5 BPG
2005-06: 2.5 SPG, 2.1 BPG
It is astonishing that Hakeem Olajuwon accomplished this for 4 successive seasons and it shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that he is the only player in the history of the league to rank in the top 10 for both categories. He is the all-time leader in blocks with 3,830 and ranks 9th in steals with 2,162, which is remarkable. Interestingly, Hakeem didn’t win DPOY in any of these seasons but went on to win it in 1993 and 1994. That 1993-94 season was arguably Olajuwon at the peak of his powers, as to go with DPOY, he also won MVP and Finals MVP to cap off a legendary playoff run.
Someone who did win the award in the same year that they accomplished this, was David Robinson, who won his only DPOY award on that occasion. A somewhat surprising entrant here among these Hall of Famers is Gerald Wallace who also like Robinson, managed to do it once. It is such a difficult thing to accomplish that it isn’t surprising that no one has done it for almost two decades now. It seems unlikely that we’ll get another entrant here but you never know.