FanPost

Why the Suns have the best backcourt tandem in the NBA

Dragic and Bledsoe are the best backcourt in the NBA and here's why: The perception is that the Golden State Warriors have the best backcourt in the NBA with the sharpshooting tandem of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. But perception is different from reality. At first glance you would see that the Golden State Warriors backcourt this season is averaging a combined 42.2 PPG, 11.9 APG, and 7.9 RPG. The Phoenix Suns backcourt on the other hand is averaging a combined 37.3 PPG, 11.8 APG, and 7.4 RPG. The Golden State backcourt together scores more points, grabs more rebounds, and dishes out more assists every game than the Suns backcourt. So they have to be better right?

Wrong! If you dive deeper into the stats, you will learn that the Golden State Warriors backcourt plays 75.5 minutes per game, which is 7 minutes more than the 68.5 minutes the Suns backcourt plays. So in reality, Curry and Thompson's stats are inflated. Nearly every advanced metric has the Suns ranking as the better tandem. The tandem's rebound rate, which is the percentage of missed shots that a player rebounds, is a combined 11.7%. Curry and Thompson's is 11.4%. The Sun's assist ratio, which is the percentage of a player's possessions that end in an assist, is 47.8%. Curry and Thompson's is 39.2%. The Warriors tandem does score more points for every 40 minutes played (44.7 P/40 to 43.4 P/40), however, they do it less efficiently. The Suns tandem has a combined 117.9 True Shooting Percentage. The Warrior's tandem has a combined 113.5 TS%. True Shooting Percentage calculates what a player's shooting percentage would be if we accounted for free throws and 3-pointers.

The Suns tandem's combined Offensive Rating, which is an estimate of points produced (players) or scored (teams) per 100 possessions, is 230 which is considerably higher than the Warriors backcourt tandem which has a 217 combined Offensive Rating. The Suns duo also has a combined Player Efficiency Rating of 41. Player Efficiency Rating is a measure of per-minute production standardized such that the league average is 15. The Suns duo's average PER is 20.5, well above league average. The Warriors duo's combined PER is 34, which equates to an average PER of 17, which is only 3 above league average. Bledsoe and Dragic are so much more efficient in the minutes they get, which is especially impressive considering they have an identical usage percentage(48.1). Usage Percentage is an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor.

If that's not convincing enough, consider that Bledsoe's and Dragic's combined Win Shares/48, which is an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player per 48 minutes (league average is approximately .100), is .34. Thompson and Curry's combined Win Share/48 is .25. That means that if each tandem played 36 minutes per game, the Suns tandem would contribute 5.46 more wins over the course of an entire season. The general consensus is that the Warriors backcourt is tops in the NBA. But clearly, once you delve deeper into the stats, the Suns backcourt tandem of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe is better(when healthy). If the Suns backcourt tandem is better than the "best", doesn't that make them the #1 backcourt in the NBA.

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