Eric Bledsoe: 2014-15 Phoenix Suns Player Grades

April 2, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) looks on during the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Suns 107-106. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
April 2, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) looks on during the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Suns 107-106. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Eric Bledsoe
Mar 13, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) makes a pass by Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) during the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /


With Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic in the backcourt together, the “Slash Brothers” were tough to defend. Though Phoenix’s offense relied far too much on individual playmaking, at least the ball was moving when the Suns had both guards on the court.

After Dragic and Isaiah Thomas were traded away, we saw what happened to the Suns’ offense with Bledsoe fully in charge…and it wasn’t pretty. Here’s a look at how drastically this team changed, particularly on the offensive end, after the trade deadline put Bledsoe in sole possession of the rock:

  • Record:  29-25 —> 10-18
  • FG%:  46.1% (7th) —> 43.4% (26th)
  • 3P%:  35.9% (8th) —> 29.8% (30th)
  • FT%:  78.5% (2nd) —> 71.4% (25th)
  • PPG:  105.9 (4th) —> 95.6 (25th)
  • Point differential:  +1.2 —> -4.9
  • Offensive rating:  105.9 (7th) —> 97.1 (28th)
  • Fast break points:  19.6 (2nd) —> 15.5 (8th)

There are a number of factors that contributed to this steep drop-off in production, so it wasn’t totally Bledsoe’s fault. Chemistry issues, Brandon Knight‘s trouble adjusting to a new team and ankle injury, Alex Len‘s broken nose, the loss of Dragic and I.T. and shooting slumps from the Morris twins all contributed as well.

But Bledsoe was, for the most part, unable to step up as the leader this team needed once the face of the franchise was traded away.

One of his biggest problems areas, both before and after the deadline, was his inability to hang on to the ball. Bledsoe finished fourth in the league in turnovers (274) and had the sixth most turnovers per game (3.4) among starting guards that played at least 50 games.

That number looks even worse when you consider the five players who had more turnovers — Russell Westbrook, James Harden, John Wall, Michael Carter-Williams and Dwyane Wade — had far higher usage rates.

With a young point guard, turnovers are to be expected, but Bledsoe failed the eye test as well. How many times can you remember Bledsoe driving to the basket at full speed, flying through the air to try and draw the defense in and flinging the ball back out to the perimeter?

And how many times did that pass miss its mark, either because it was intercepted by a defender or because it flew into the third row of the stands?

Bledsoe’s aggressive playing style on offense is something this team needs, but he committed more silly, careless turnovers than anyone this season. At the age of 25, it’s time he starts putting an emphasis of taking care of the ball, staying a little more in control, and for the love of God, stopping all the jump-passing.

“You know I did have a couple of unforced turnovers, that next year I’m definitely going to need to get better at,” Bledsoe said.

Three-point shooting is another area where Bled needs to work on his game. Despite the fact that he attempted 3.4 threes per game, he only converted 32.4 percent of them. He doesn’t need to become Kyle Korver, but he shot 35.7 percent from downtown last season on a nearly identical number of attempts per game.

Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe’s 2014-15 three-point shot chart, per /

Finally, despite being one of the Suns’ most consistent players on both ends of the floor, Bledsoe could really concentrate on being fully engaged more often. This was his first full season as a starter and he was logging big minutes, so we should cut him a little slack on this, but there’s no denying that some nights, he just didn’t look like he was into it.

When Bledsoe is fully locked in, he’s borderline elite. But there were some nights where his production came in fits and spasms, where his defense looked downright lazy and where he showed he’s not quite the leader or star player this team needs yet.

Part of that is how much this team demands of him on both ends of the floor, especially when it comes to chasing around elite point guards in the West on a nightly basis, but the Suns are hoping with another year under his belt, he’ll be able to adjust to the grind of a full season a little better and become more of a leader.

“I probably wouldn’t say more vocal, but I definitely need to be, I guess, a little bit more demanding,” Bledsoe said. “Because if you look at the Spurs I don’t think nobody on the team yell at each other, but at the end of the day they can expect the same level of play out of everybody they put out on the floor.”

Next: Strengths