Out of all the talent at the guard position in the NBA, especially in the West, there stands one guard who is showing his true potential and doing so under the radar. This being Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe, plagued with nagging knee injuries throughout his young career, left him off the court and failure to produce on the court. The knee surgery in which Bledsoe has had resulted in him missing 51 of the Suns’ games last season. Now that he is healthy and on the court every day, he is showing us what he is capable of.
When you have a teammate like Devin Booker some of the production might go unnoticed. Heck, even playing in Phoenix might be the cause of going unnoticed. Whatever the case may be, Bledsoe has taken the next step in his development. Granted it took him some time to find a groove, but he has the tools to be the Suns’ starter for quite some time.
With his career-high 40-point outburst against the Raptors a few days ago, that game proves his evolution as a player. Throughout the game, Bledsoe was able to get high percentage shots against the Raptors defense. Putting on display his offensive arsenal from tear drops, transition and spot up threes, driving to the hole and drawing contact, and even step backs. It was all falling for him.
Although his scoring is becoming a major focal point of his game, his assist totals have been consistent as well. Bledsoe is averaging a career-best 6.2 assist per game, which is not a jaw-dropping assist total by any means in the NBA. However, it is an improvement for Bledsoe and his development and improvement now is good news for the Suns going forward.
For those critics who believe that his seven 30-point games and his recent 40-point game this season are flukes, there is reason to believe otherwise. Bledsoe is currently sitting at 26th in scoring just behind Klay Thompson at 20.9 PPG. Bledsoe is averaging the least amount of minutes per game (33.2) between all 25 players ahead of him in scoring.
Assuming Phoenix is only limiting his minutes to keep him healthy and away from injury makes sense. After coming off of the Meniscus surgery that sidelined him last season, expect next season to see more consistent numbers. With increased minutes and health, anticipate a bump in his stats along with recognition gained from the NBA world.
I look forward to seeing what an entire off-season and summer workout of basketball activities, rather than rehab, does for a healthy Eric Bledsoe who has yet to reach his true potential.