The best way to break out of a slump? Put up numbers that only five teenagers in NBA history have ever reached.
Wendell Carter Jr. posted the best performance of his young NBA career on Friday against the Pistons, scoring 28 points with seven rebounds and three blocks. The seventh overall pick was a monster on both ends of the floor, especially in the third quarter when he posted 17 of the Bulls' 25 points and blocked two shots, For the moment it kept the Bulls in a game they'd eventually lose by 19 points, their fifth straight.
The damage Carter inflicted on the Pistons put him in some seriously elite company. At just 19 years old (he won't turn 20 until after the regular season), Carter joined LeBron James, Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins as the only teenagers in NBA history with 28+ points and 3+ blocks in a single game.
Towns and Wiggins both accomplished the feat in 2015, Durant did it twice in 2007 as a rookie, James reached those numbers early in his second season in 2004 and Garnett was finishing up his rookie season in 1995 when he posted his mammoth line.
Now Carter's on that list. And for what it's worth, Carter accomplished the feat in 32 minutes, fewer than any of the other teens.
He displayed his full offensive repertoire, with the Pistons having no answer for him and Zach LaVine's pick and roll action. Carter also scored a pair of buckets in post-up spots, an area he's struggled in during his rookie season.
Carter was far more aggressive than he had been during his recent mini-slump. Perhaps it was Zach LaVine's off-night (8 points on 3 of 12 shooting) or the Bulls being unable to get anything going from beyond the arc (3 of 21), but Carter attacked the basket, took open shots when he had them and didn't back down from the All-Star Drummond.
The performance came after he had averaged just 9.0 points on 40 percent shooting over the previous six games and went to the free throw line 17 total times. It wasn't necessarily a cause for concern, but it was nice to see him bounce back in a road setting against one of the tougher frontcourts in the NBA.
He stayed out of foul trouble and actually drew two fouls on Drummond in the first quarter, getting to the free throw line four times to begin his historic night.
Defensively, the three blocks were the most he had recorded since Nov. 10 against the Cavaliers. Though the Bulls were unable to slow down the Pistons from beyond the arc - they made 13 of 34 attempts, including a career-high six from Reggie Jackson - they didn't have as much success inside with Carter in the game.
He was poised, picked and chose his spots to avoid foul trouble and helped the Bulls get out and run when they did make stops.
Chalk it up as another performance for one of the most promising players in a star-studded 2018 NBA Draft class.
Carter's just beginning his run as the foundation piece of the Bulls' defense, and his efficiency on offense will only improve once Lauri Markkanen returns to space the floor.
Until that happens, we'll just have to marvel at the company he joined on Monday.