What do you want to be, Eric Bledsoe?
Eric Bledsoe returns from midseason surgery against the Cleveland Cavaliers at a desperate moment for Phoenix's playoff chances. Currently in ninth place of an eight-team race, the Suns need a jolt.
The offense needs to dramatically cut down the live-ball turnovers, which create easy buckets. Although not the entire reason, at times the offense is the culprit in this run of giving up 50 percent shooting or better. Opposing teams are no longer taking the Suns lightly ,so the fast-break points are drying up as transition defenses are getting back much sooner. Any help to the offense will slow down other teams, which is desperately needed for the Suns' abysmal defense.
As much as Bledsoe's return means to Phoenix, it means more to Bledsoe. He is a restricted free agent. He needs to prove to other teams he's healthy in order to score the big deal he wants. He might play timidly in order to stay healthy. He needs to prove he's a game-changer at guard to the rest of the league. He might play overly aggressive, looking for his own shot to the detriment of the team.
Hopefully, Bledsoe has an entirely revolutionary focus. If he realizes that the Suns can match any offer, maybe he accepts the reality that these aren't his teammates for the next month, but for the next five years. He should know he's not going anywhere. It's not about other GMs judging him; it's his peers. The guys in the locker room are wondering if he can help. The players that have been fighting without him for three months are looking for him to come in fresh. If Bledsoe helps lead the Suns into the playoffs, he'll get the financial stability he wants.
There has to be a flood of thoughts and emotions for Bledsoe to fight through Wednesday night. If he plays for a contract, the Suns aren't losing anything if he signs somewhere else in the offseason. If Bledsoe plays for the playoffs, he'll be a Sun no matter where he signs.
Doug Franz, Co-host of Doug & Wolf