From the moment he entered the league, it was clear Eric Bledsoe was special. While at the time it may only have been his astounding athletic ability we were marvelling at, over the years its became evident that we were dealing with something more.
After finally moving away from the Clippers and back up duty to Chris Paul, Bledsoe has shown everyone the true extent of his talent.
Bledsoe put up some gaudy number this year. In just 32.9 minutes per game he averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, making Bledsoe one of just 8 players to average more than 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 1.5 steals.
Shooting 47.7% from the field and 35.7% form three, Bledsoe proved that he could continue to produce efficient numbers while operating as a primary offensive weapon. Beyond his shooting there's his ability to get to the basket.
Only 16 NBA listed guards took more than 5.0 shots within 5 feet of the rim this season, Bledsoe being one of them.
Of these players, only 3 players converted in this zone at a higher percentage than Bledsoe’s 63.0%. When one considers that those players were Dwayne Wade, Lance Stephenson and Bledsoe’s backcourt partner Goran Dragic, it makes you realise that Bledose is in some pretty special company.
Speaking of Dragic, one could argue that Bledsoe and Dragic currently comprise the best backcourt in the NBA. Alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and John Wall and Bradley Beal, Bledsoe and Dragic are clearly one of the best partnerships out there. What Bledsoe lacks in pure point guard skills, Dragic makes up for, while Bledsoe brings the explosive athleticism that Dragic lacks. They’re a perfect one two punch that Phoenix should think very carefully about splitting up.
With Bledsoe becoming a restricted free agent this summer, any team in the league is allowed to offer him a contract, though the Suns have the option of matching whatever offer Bledsoe receives, should they wish to.
Essentially, if Phoenix is willing to part with the maximum amount of money Bledsoe could be offered, he’ll remain a Sun. And Phoenix should be ready to pay for Bledsoe’s services as there’s little doubt teams from around the league will come sniffing to see if Phoenix are willing to let Bledsoe walk.
While paying maximum money to such a young player may seem like a risk, it’s a risk Phoenix need to take. While one could raise concerns over the knee injury that kept Bledose out of much of the year it did not look like he’d lost even a bit of his dynamism when he returned at the end of the season.
Together Dragic and Bledsoe have the potential to be the foundation of a championship team a few years down the line.
As they improve together Phoenix will start to look more and more attractive for big free agents in search of a championship and with any luck they’ll be able to add third major piece to the frontcourt that will allow them to become a true contender.