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Updated Dec 27, 2013 - 11:41 am

Arizona Sports' 2013 Year in Review: Newcomer of the Year

Note: This is part of a series of posts you'll see over the next week or so on ArizonaSports.com. We had a panel of 16 voters, including all of our on-air personalities, cast votes in several categories like Athlete of the Year, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Best Moment of the Year and many others.

Talk about a category with a lot of candidates. The pro teams in Arizona re-stocked their rosters with new faces in 2013.

The Cardinals completely overhauled their roster (and coaching staff and front office, for that matter) after a trying 5-11 season.

The Diamondbacks went grit over glamour, bringing players like Martin Prado, Cody Ross and Didi Gregorius into the fold.

But of all the newcomers to hit the Arizona sports scene in 2013, one stood out above the rest, according to our panel of voters.

In a trade that came out of nowhere, the Phoenix Suns acquired point guard Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers in a three-way deal that sent Jared Dudley to Los Angeles.

We've found out since that Clippers owner Donald Sterling tried to block the trade and had to be coaxed into letting it go through.

Thank goodness he was.

Finally out of the shadow of All-Star point guard Chris Paul, Bledsoe has thrived for the surprising Suns.

So far, the fourth-year guard out of Kentucky is averaging 19.2 points per game while shooting a career-high .484 from the floor. He also ranks in the top twenty in the league in steals.

Bledsoe has teamed with Goran Dragic to form one of the most productive backcourts in the NBA.

The Suns weren't able to lock Bledsoe up to a long-term detail before the deadline, so he'll be a restricted free agent following the season and will undoubtedly generate a lot of interest from other teams.

But if his first 20 or so games in the orange and black (that still sounds weird) for the Suns are any indication, he won't be going anywhere for a long time.

Here's how our panel voted:

Tyler Bassett: Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals

Dan Bickley: Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns

Jon Bloom: Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns

Dave Burns: Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals

Paul Calvisi: Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals

Jarrett Carlen: Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals

Dave Dulberg: Ryan McDonough, Phoenix Suns GM

Doug Franz: Miles Plumlee, Phoenix Suns

John Gambadoro: Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns

Bryan Gibberman: Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns

Adam Green: Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals

Craig Grialou: Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals

Vince Marotta: Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns

Carter Nacke: Mike Ribeiro, Phoenix Coyotes

Jules Tompkins: Karlos Dansby, Arizona Cardinals

Ron Wolfley: Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals head coach

About the Author


School: Arizona State University

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: October 2011

Favorite sports memory: Watching Cardinals win NFC Championship over Philly in January 2009 with my Dad...ASU wins 1987 Rose Bowl...Suns defeat Lakers in 1990 NBA Playoffs...2001 World Series

Favorite all-time athletes: Don Mattingly, Jeff Hornacek, Walter Davis, Anquan Boldin

Favorite sports movies: Friday Night Lights, The Natural, Hoosiers

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