Eric Bledsoe is a talented point guard who has been stuck on the Phoenix Suns for years. In an effort to try and find his value, he was traded to the LA Clippers at the trade deadline where he will have a chance to show what he can do with a new team.
Eric Bledsoe’s trade to the LA Clippers is his last chance to show his NBA value. He has been a disappointment for the Phoenix Suns and they traded him away in hopes that he will have a better opportunity with another team.
Eric Bledsoe’s basketball career started with the Clippers in Los Angeles, and it has finally gone full circle. The point guard was moved to LA from Memphis through New Orleans after being dealt from Milwaukee. Bledsoe’s first season with the Clippers showed potential for the former Kentucky basketball player. But he ultimately informed the Suns he was done and joined Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in a big three.
However, his 2020-21 season with the New Orleans Pelicans was a disappointment. During his two playoff campaigns in Milwaukee, Bledsoe’s greatest flaws were exposed. It’s unlikely that the Bucks won a championship the year they traded Bledsoe for Jrue Holiday.
Bledsoe’s second tenure in Los Angeles may be his last opportunity to show he’s still a viable NBA role player.
Eric Bledsoe has been traded for the second time in three weeks.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant defends the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans’ Eric Bledsoe. | Getty Images/Justin Ford
The 6-foot-1 point guard’s most recent professional adventure started on July 26, when the Pelicans traded him to the Grizzlies for Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th overall selection in exchange for Steven Adams and two first-round choices. That move occurred after an unsatisfactory season for the 11-year veteran. In his one season with the Pelicans, Bledsoe averaged only 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. His point total was his lowest since the 2012-13 season in Los Angeles, when he was 23 years old and only started 12 games.
The Clippers added Bledsoe to their backcourt in exchange for Daniel Oturu, as well as the expiring contracts of Pat Beverly and Rajon Rondo. It also saves the Los Angeles Lakers $30 million in luxury tax and provides a $8.3 million trade exception.
When Milwaukee traded Bledsoe and a series of selections and pick swaps for Holiday, he ended up in New Orleans. Since being recruited in 2010, the 31-year-old has spent time in five different cities.
When Bledsoe has something to play for, he seems to be at his best.
Bledsoe was a contributor right immediately in his first season, starting 25 games and playing in 81. However, Chris Paul was purchased by LA before the start of his second season. The next season, Bledsoe only started one game and averaged 3.3 points per game in 11.6 minutes. That was just over half of the 22.7 minutes he logged in his first season.
Bledsoe was traded to Phoenix by the Clippers two years later. He quickly increased his scoring output and set career highs in rebounds, assists, steals, and field goal %. He made it obvious that he intended to show that he deserved a starting position in the league. Throughout the 2016-17 season, Bledsoe remained a mainstay in the Suns’ lineup. During his time in Phoenix, though, the team tried out a starting lineup with three point guards, with Bledsoe flanked by Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas. It didn’t work out.
The Suns were clearly rebuilding by the time the 2017-18 season arrived. The previous two seasons, the club had won 23 and 24 games, respectively. But Bledsoe was rescued by Milwaukee, which was searching for a third star and an improvement at point guard to go with Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. He was promoted to the starting lineup by the Bucks, where he set a career high in steals as the team’s primary perimeter defender.
It was not his job to score with Antetokounmpo and Middleton. He was entrusted to lead the team’s defense, which he accomplished well. The next two seasons, Milwaukee had the best record in the Eastern Conference.
After being traded away from a contender, Bledsoe stagnated.
Once he arrived in New Orleans, Bledsoe’s statistics plummeted across the board. Despite starting 70 games for the Pelicans, he had his lowest statistical season since 2012-13, when he served as Paul’s backup in Los Angeles.
He was moved away from a title contender last season and spent the season in New Orleans, where the club finished 11th in the Western Conference. Bledsoe’s lack of productivity last season may have been due to a variety of factors. Perhaps it was the system of head coach Stan Van Gundy (he was fired after one year). Perhaps it didn’t mesh well with the Pel’s other players. However, Bledsoe’s track record indicates that he performs best when he has something to prove. In 2020-21, he didn’t have it.
The point guard must demonstrate that he is still a viable starter in the league, if not a primary backup option. With the Clippers, he’s in an excellent position to do so. For his career and LA’s prospects of a long postseason run, a motivated Bledsoe must deliver this season.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics.
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Eric Bledsoe is an NBA player who has had a lot of trouble with his team. His last chance to show his value is in the LA Clippers trade. Reference: eric bledsoe net worth.
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