First of all, let me make this clear at the beginning of the article.
Last night's game against the Houston Rockets was not considered in choosing this week's top player. That game will count for next week.
Why? It's just a matter of keeping the schedule consistent and maintaining a 7-day week. I also made the highlight video before the Rockets game, so it wouldn't make sense for me to refer to that game and then show you a video with no highlights from the match, would it?
Oh, and I'm also lazy and put off writing this until Sunday night when I could have done it before. I'm a procrastinator by nature (just ask my former Bleacher Report editor).
But now, on to business. That Goran Dragic guy is pretty good. And as much as I wanted to choose Bledsoe as player of the week for the first time, you cannot deny the honors to the Dragon when he plays as well as he did against Orlando, Indiana and Dallas.
Here are his averages for the week: 28 points, 5 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game, not to mention 62% shooting from the field, 61% shooting from three-point range and 94% shooting from the free-throw line. That is efficiency we have not seen from Dragic since February 2014, when he consistently dominated opponents while Bledsoe sat on the sidelines.
This is clear, undeniable proof that Dragic is the same, efficient player that he was last season. His shooting percentages are now just a tad under what they were at last year, with the exception of his free-throw shooting, which has actually improved significantly (from 76% to 86%).
His overall drop in production can be attributed, therefore, to a drop in minutes played as well as a drop in usage rate. Dragic produced more than seven assists in a game this season for the first time against the Mavericks, as he controlled the offense for much of the time and finished with 13 dimes. In most other games, Isaiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe forced Dragic into an off-ball role, and his production suffered as a result.
So, what will happen when Thomas finally returns? I don't mean to start another heated debate over Thomas' role and future with Phoenix, but there is a reason that he is the most polarizing player on the team. Here we have a young player, who would start on most NBA teams, making just $27 million over the next four years. That is the type of value in a contract that many general managers would dream to have.
And then there's Dragic, who will likely command more than twice that amount of money on the open market despite being several years older.
So does Thomas' value come from the fact that his contract is such a bargain to us, or is he valuable because his contract is attractive to potential trade partners? In other words, should the Suns declare the experiment a failure and attempt to trade Thomas' bargain contract (along with other pieces) for the big man that they so desperately need to make a playoff push?
Has the experiment even failed in the first place?
For the record, I'm going to go with no. In fact, I'll shut up about the whole thing now, because it's much too early to make sweeping generalizations about the players. The games against the Pacers and Mavericks this week do indeed prove that Bledsoe and Dragic are capable of great things at their best; but the game against the Rockets might be evidence that sometimes, you could use an Isaiah Thomas to bail you out off the bench.
Oh yeah, I promised you a highlight video. Here it is.
Also make sure to vote on the poll below for your player of the week.