Apr 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe (12) brings the ball up court during game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. Memphis won 104-83. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Can Bledsoe Live Up To The Hype?

The Phoenix Suns acquired a dynamic young talent last week when they traded fan favorite Jared Dudley to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for guard Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe was an extremely popular player in Clipper land where he served as Chris Paul’s backup. He provided hustle and energy whenever he stepped out on the hardwood, and displayed circus like athleticism almost on a game to game basis. 

Bledsoe’s athleticism and flashes of stardom has many in media saying “He’s a mini LeBron.” “He’s reminds me of Russell Westbrook.” Those are a couple of phrases that places copious amounts of pressure on a young player like Bledsoe.  

On one hand it’s imminent that Bledsoe has tremendous talent and potential, but whether he’s ready to step up to the plate and lead a team is a different story. Bledsoe excelled as Paul’s backup but when Bledsoe stepped in for Paul as the Clipper’s starting guard, he didn’t exactly blow anyone away with his performance. 

In Bledsoe’s 12 games as a starter last season he averaged just 14.2 points, and 5.3 assists while shooting just about 40% from the field; he averaged 34.2 minutes per game in his 12 starts.

One of the biggest set backs for Bledsoe thus far in his young NBA career has been his jump shot. His shooting has been inconsistent to say the least but the silver lining is that Bledsoe has improved his shot tremendously this past season raising his three point shooting percentage up to nearly 40% from 20% during the 2011-2012 season. However that’s a small sample size considering he averaged just one three-point attempt per game throughout the 2012-2013 season.

If Bledsoe needed refining on his Jesus Shuttleswoth, he’s in the right place. Jeff Hornacek was given the job as the Suns head coach last month, and if there’s any coach out there who can fix a player’s broken jump shot it’s Hornacek.

The Suns are currently wandering the desert as a franchise in search of a great player to build their team around, and Bledsoe has the potential to be that guy. What he brings to the table from the guard position in terms of defense, rebounding, hustle, and athleticism is second to none but as it’s always been in the NBA, there’s more work to be done.

There’s absolutely no doubt that Planet Orange should be excited about a player of Bledsoe’s caliber but don’t count the eggs before they hatch. Want to know who else showed flashes of stardom throughout his career? Michael Beasley….



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Tags: Basketball Eric Bledsoe NBA Phoenix Suns

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