Phoenix Suns Film Room: Eric Bledsoe’s Dynamic Offense

Nov 8, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

This year has already been one to remember for Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe. Through 10 games, he’s posting career bests in points per game, steals per game, field goal percentage, player efficiency rating, turnover rate, true shooting percentage and points and assists per 90 minutes. And while his statistical impact has grown, so has his net rating.

This year, the Suns are 15 points better than opponents per 100 possessions when Bledsoe has been on the court, which is a credit to a few things. First, the Suns defense has stepped up with Tyson Chandler, whose net rating is remarkably even better than Bledsoe’s, at +20 (per 100 possessions).

And even when Chandler isn’t on the court, Len has served as the backup, which allows the Suns to have a strong rim protector on the floor at just about all times.

However, when it comes to offense, Bledsoe is making clear strides. Even though his turnovers per game are up, his turnover rate is way down. And this year, Bledsoe’s turnover rate is better than the mark set by players like Russell Westbrook and John Wall, and while it’s still not into the elite category yet, or even a huge plus, it’s apparent that he’s making strides in that area, which has allowed him to do much more on offense.

And when it comes to scoring the ball, he’s taken advantage of those extra opportunities.

Throughout his career, Bledsoe has primarily been a scorer that creates his own shot. This year, over 81 percent of his made field goals have been unassisted; last year that mark was over 70. However, that hasn’t been the only percentage he’s seen increase. He’s become a lot more effective with various shots and in various areas, which has allowed him to be so dynamic as a scorer.

Under Control

One of the biggest knocks on Bledsoe last year — and in years past — was this tendency to kind of run toward the rim and fling himself into an opponent looking for a foul. Because of this, Bledsoe wasn’t only, not getting calls, but he was also missing a lot more shots than were necessary.


In this play from last year, Bledsoe easily could have put a floater up off the glass or at least tried to release the ball at any point before he was right about to hit the ground. He seemed content to hold the ball after the contact and then adjust and try to make the shot, rather than going up to the rim through the defender or releasing the ball early.

That obviously didn’t work.


This year, it’s been a lot different. Bledsoe has used his floater rather than just crashing through defenders. He’s driving in the lane to score rather than driving to draw fouls, and the result is evident on the court.

With Bledsoe’s high free throw percentage, the more fouls he draws, the better his true shooting percentage is going to be. However, this year his free throw rate is down, yet his true shooting percentage has gone up. How is this possible?

Bledsoe has improved his field goal percentage in the paint outside the restricted area to 61.5 percent according to, up from 33.6 percent last year. And while some of that increase can be attributed to statistical anomaly and a small sample size, a significant part of that is how he is driving to the rim and attacking the defense.

The floater

Another part of Bledsoe’s increased field goal percentage in the paint has been the effectiveness of his floater. lists Bledsoe’s field goal percent on floaters at 50 percent, up nearly 15 percent from last year, and he’s already matched his total number of attempted floaters from each of the last two years.


In this made floater from last year, Bledsoe kind of settles the ball in mid air, which he could do given the space the defense provided him. However, when he didn’t have that space, he tended to either rush the look or double-clutch, in some cases trying to draw contact, which led to his overall field goal percentage on floaters while in Phoenix being just 26.9 percent prior to this year.

However, this year he’s been a lot smoother with the floater, as you saw in the section above, and when he needs an extra second to settle the ball, he’s holding it closer to his head. Bledsoe isn’t letting the ball get away from him, and even when he’s using the exaggerated motion, he’s still somewhat under control.


And staying within himself and keeping things under control haven’t only been a factor with his floaters.

Pullup jump shots

With Bledsoe doing most of his work off the bounce, the pullup jumpshot has been absolutely crucial to his success. And there have been a few factors that have allowed Bledsoe to be so effective on pull-up jumpers and show improvement from the 55.3 percent he shot on them last season.

Bledsoe 5
Bledsoe 5 /

One of the great things about Bledsoe’s pullup jumper is that it’s compact to the point that even when his form isn’t perfect, there aren’t a lot of moving parts to mess up. In this case, using the one-two step rather than a pure hop, Bledsoe moves his upper body very little in knocking down the shot.

Even when there’s a slight fade, Bledsoe is doing a good job of keeping his balance and staying within himself. I think there can be a tendency with players such as Derrick Rose, and even to a lesser extent Russell Westbrook, to kind of over jump on a pullup shot or fling their arms or legs out away from their body. For Bledsoe, everything has been within himself this year, and it’s only continuing to make it look like he is deserving of the mini-LeBron nickname.

Bledsoe 6
Bledsoe 6 /
Mini LeBron/LeBron
Mini LeBron/LeBron /

Obviously, it’s still early in the year, and a lot of this can potentially be attributed to sample size, but Bledsoe has continued to work to improve his game, and the effects of that are really starting to show. This year he’s made a jump that would have him as one of the NBA’s elite point guards, if he can keep it up probably an All Star too.

And who knows: If he continues to play like this, he might just have the Phoenix Suns heading to the postseason too, for the first time since 2012.

Next: Film Room: Throwing Lobs To Tyson Chandler