Putting Eric Bledsoe's Stat Line From Last Night in Historical Context
A lot of people were confused by the moves the Phoenix Suns made at the trade deadline last week, as they sold off some of their best players in the midst of a competitive playoff race. One thing that became abundantly clear, though: with the trades the Phoenix Suns made, this is now Eric Bledsoe's team.
Last night, those Suns defeated the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder in a thrilling 117-113 overtime game and put an end to OKC's seven-game wining streak in the process. Bledsoe proved that he deserved the keys to the Suns by putting up one of the best lines of his career. In almost 42.5 minutes of action, Bledsoe lit up the Thunder for 28 points on 11-for-16 shooting (including two-for-three from downtown), while adding 9 assists, 1 steal, and career bests in both rebounds with 13 and blocks with 4.
For an idea of just how amazing that line is, check out how many times a player has achieved those numbers as a baseline in NBA history (listed in chronological order):
|Charles Barkley||PHI||86-04-11||29||10 / 14||71.4%||19||9||5||4|
|Robert Parish||BOS||86-11-15||34||13 / 21||61.9%||19||9||2||5|
|Charles Barkley||PHI||86-11-28||31||11 / 18||61.1%||21||9||1||7|
|Hakeem Olajuwon||HOU||90-03-03||29||13 / 25||52.0%||18||9||5||11|
|David Robinson||SAS||94-02-08||31||11 / 16||68.8%||14||10||1||7|
|Shaquille O'Neal||LAL||00-01-10||31||14 / 24||58.3%||19||9||1||5|
|Tim Duncan||SAS||03-01-14||38||16 / 25||64.0%||16||9||1||4|
|LeBron James||CLE||10-02-18||43||15 / 33||45.5%||13||15||2||4|
|Eric Bledsoe||PHO||15-02-26||28||11 / 16||68.8%||13||9||1||4|
That was only the ninth time in the history of the league that a player has put up such a line. As if that wasn't impressive enough, Bledsoe is the only guard to have done it. While the rest of the above list is littered with legendary power forwards, centers, and LeBron James -- all ranging in height from 6'6" (Barkley) to 7'1" (Robinson/O'Neal) -- Bledsoe, at 6'1", gives up from five inches to a foot to each of his predecessors. That's especially striking when you consider the four blocks.
Also impressive? The fact that Bledsoe's 11-for-16 shooting performance was tied with Robinson's for the second most efficient scoring mark on the list (trailing only Barkley's first line). Considering that the rest of the entrees are big men that took most of their shots around the basket while towering over the competition, Bledsoe's 2-for-3 mark from long range mixed with a 7-for-10performance at the rim deserves a whole lot of respect.
Sure, Russell Westbrook was no slouch himself last night -- with 39 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, and three steals -- but it was his 12-for-38 shooting that has his detractors coming out from hiding in droves this morning. Westbrook is still an MVP candidate, of course, but last night belonged to Bledsoe, as he showed us that we might be counting him and his Suns out a bit prematurely.