Feedback on soon-to-be Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe from ClipsNation: Bledsoe not certain for stardom

USA TODAY Sports

Bloggers for the Clippers had the good fortune these past two years of watching one of the best floor generals in the game, Chris Paul, lead their team to victories at a pace not seen in Clipperland in, well, forever. And they had the pleasure of watching a change-of-pace backup thrill them as well. Can the backup become the leader?

When evaluating a new player for your organization, it's always good to hear what the fans thought of the player. Suns fans entered the 2012-13 season with eyes wide open after hearing what Wolves fans thought of Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson.

Now let's hear what ClipsNation.com bloggers thought of Eric Bledsoe.

First, the basics many of you already know:

Pros

  • Extremely strong/athletic (more than any other point guard except maybe Westbrook)
  • Extremely fast (again, more than anyone except maybe Collison)
  • Incredible shot blocker
  • Fantastic rebounder for a guard
  • Great finisher through contact (mini LeBron)
  • Career high 3p% around 40%
  • Good at moving his feet on defense
  • Great at getting steals in the lane with his long arms
  • At times appears unstoppable multiple plays in a row, showing off acrobatic finishes, long and mid range jumpers, floaters, and great decision making
  • Hugely improved from the line
  • Most chiseled arms this side of Corey Maggette

Cons

  • Sometimes out of control (more than sometimes, certain days)
  • Gambles on defense
  • Sometimes ball-watches on D
  • Though he shoots a high percentage, he rarely takes 3s. Sometimes felt like his percentage leap was misleading.
  • Kind of streaky, in terms of point-guard-decision-making
  • Spells his name wrong

Now the editorial input

On his low free throw rate: "Partly, he doesn't attack the rim all that often, but partly he also protects the ball well (sometimes too well getting offensive fouls called)."

On his overall contribution: "Basically aside from scoring, Bledsoe fills up the stat sheet."

On his 3-point shot: "The statistics lie, Bledsoe's not a good three point shooter. He has an awkward but somewhat effective long range shot (more of a set shot), it's okay if he's wide, wide open."

On his change-of-pace: "Bledsoe played backup point guard for the Clips and came in as a high energy fifteen-minute player who was a complete counterpoint to the slow, steady, heady style of Chris Paul. It was like a reliever coming in with a 100 mile an hour fastball after a starter that had lulled them to sleep with junk. He was often unstoppable.

"When it worked (the first half of last season, the 2012 playoffs against the Grizzlies) it was amazing. But when Paul was injured and Bledsoe played 6 or ten games as the starter everything changed. Perhaps we're spoiled (already) but Bledsoe isn't a game-controlling think-it-through point guard. He didn't seem to quite have a grip on what was required of him with the starters. Stuff like initiating the pick-and-roll or making simple entry passes to Blake Griffin just weren't there.

"That said, despite the presence of Robert Pack, Chauncey Billups, and Paul on the bench I don't think Bledsoe's been particularly well-coached. Blame it on Vinny Del Negro. Everything that went wrong is Vinny's fault."

On Bledsoe's NBA comp, and starting in the NBA: "I personally think he's going to be very Lawson like, but with a potentially higher ceiling thanks to his defensive impact, assuming his offense gets more consistent."

Another blogger, on Bledsoe starting with the Suns: "I'm not sure if Bledsoe will ever be a great starting point guard in the NBA but I like the idea of him starting next to Goran Dragic. Their skills might make a good fit. But, I think Bledsoe's best role might be as a sixth man. He might well have a career very similar to the Clippers own Jamal Crawford, who struggled for years as a starter, sometimes at the point, then found his true calling as liquid fire off the bench."

Wrap-up

Well, the commentary sure reminds me of Goran Dragic's role backing up Steve Nash. Lots of people, myself included, weren't sure that Dragic could ever be a full-time NBA starter. Folks in Denver weren't sure Ty Lawson could either. But both proved to be effective lead guards for their teams.

It still remains to be seen what Bledsoe can do. Let's hope the Suns make the right decision on an extension for Bledsoe before he even suits up for the Suns. If he becomes a quality starter, then he will get $10+ per year. But if he's a backup type, then $6-8 million is better.

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