47 points on 24 shots ... that's really something. The point total is impressive, but not so rare. The mix of volume and efficiency, though, is astounding.
How rare is it?
Several scoring champions from the last 20 years didn't do it: David Robinson, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady and Kevin Durant among them. And, over the last two decades, nobody has done it in the playoffs.
A quick search of Basketball-Reference reveals Blake Griffin becomes just the 13th player in the last 20 years to manage to score at least that many points with that few shots in a regular season game.
Griffin's amazing night has been tied or bested by, in alphabetical order: Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Willie Burton, Manu Ginobili, Josh Howard, Alonzo Mourning, Dirk Nowitzki, Shaquille O'Neal, and Amare Stoudemire.
LeBron James, Kevin Martin and Dwyane Wade are the special three who have achieved this particular feat twice.
Interestingly, this astounding efficiency is no guarantee of a win. Teams are 10-6 in the 16 games.
Meanwhile, before calling Griffin's performance a fluke, read John Hollinger (Insider) on how Blake Griffin's rookie season stacks up against history's best.
In the past four decades or so players have routinely left school early and taken more lumps as NBA rookies. In that light, Griffin's rookie season seems even better. Only two rookies in the past 40 years have exceeded Griffin's current 23.26 PER, and one of them was a 24-year-old David Robinson. The other was a fairly decent player by the name of Michael Jordan.
Everybody else takes a back seat to Griffin. EVERYBODY. Shaq, Duncan, Magic, Bird -- no dice, fellas. The comparison of Griffin to other dominant big men of recent vintage is particularly noteworthy. Once we adjust for pace and minutes, as I've done in the chart, his rookie season seems completely in place next to those of Robinson, Duncan, Shaq, and Olajuwon. And in one respect (his passing ability) he's already far beyond them and nearly into Larry Bird/Chris Webber territory.
The other thing you'll notice from the chart, again, is the quality of the comparables. Of the other 12 best rookies in the past three decades, all but two are either in the Hall of Fame or well on their way. We'll try really hard to ignore the fact that the two exceptions both played for the Clippers.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, my work as an amateur stat geek was flawed, although technically true. TrueHoop reader Walter to the rescue:
Henry, I love the recent post about Blake Griffin’s great game but you have a slight error (in my opinion) in your query on basketball-reference.
Let's pose this question, “if Griffin were to have scored 10 more points on only one more attempt would that have been more impressive?” Absolutely!! But your query has the strict filter of no more than 24 field goals attempted. I think a better query would be to see if anyone else has matched or exceeded 47 points in a game while maintaining at LEAST a 1.96 points per FGA ratio (that is 47 points divided by 24 field goal attempts).
That way if someone scored 60 points on only 25 attempts they would be included in the list, not excluded as your current query does. A quick pull of data for points >= 50 with a pts/FGA ratio >1.96 yields the following list (for the last 10 years):
Kobe Bryant 12/20/2005 62 points on 31 shots
Kobe Bryant 02/02/2009 61 points on 31 shots
Jermaine O'Neal 01/04/2005 55 points on 28 shots
Tony Delk 01/02/2001 53 points on 27 shots
Kobe Bryant 11/30/2006 52 points on 26 shots
Vince Carter 12/23/2005 51 points on 25 shots
Kobe Bryant 04/15/2007 50 points on 25 shots
Rashard Lewis 10/31/2003 50 points on 25 shots
Allan Houston 03/16/2003 50 points on 25 shots
Carmelo Anthony 02/08/2008 49 points on 25 shots