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Suns’ Eric Bledsoe ranks among top 40 NBA players

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The NBA season is closing in and the Phoenix Suns continue to get attention, especially when it comes to the backcourt.

ESPN has been breaking down the top players in the NBA in preparation for the upcoming season and Suns’ point guard Eric Bledsoe landed at No. 37, ahead of Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

After making last year’s list at No. 43, Bledsoe was able to jump inside the top 40.

Here’s what ESPN had to say about the veteran.

In four seasons in Phoenix, Bledsoe has averaged more than 18 points, six assists and four rebounds, making him one of nine players to reach those marks over that span. Bledsoe is the only one of that group who has not made an All-Star team. He’s coming off a season in which he set career highs in PPG, RPG, APG, player efficiency rating and usage rate while also posting the lowest turnover rate of his career.

In 66 games last season, Bledsoe averaged 21.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game for the Suns. He had 12 games where he went over 30 points, including three 40-point performances and had at least 10 assists in six games.

Since joining the team in 2013, Bledsoe has been solid for the Suns. He’s averaged more points, rebounds and assists per game than he did when he was a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.

But ESPN wasn’t the only place to recognize Bledsoe’s abilities either.

Sports Illustrated came out with its own NBA rankings and had the point guard two spots higher than ESPN’s at No. 38.

His drives are even tougher to stop against a tilted defense. His pull-up game works that much more effectively when there are other threats on the floor. And the less that Bledsoe has to do offensively, the more he can hurl himself headlong into challenging defensive matchups, the kind which a nimble guard with a power forward build is uniquely equipped to handle.

Suns shooting guard Devin Booker was also included in the rankings. He ended up at No. 60 after coming into last season at No. 46.

The Suns begin training camp on Sept. 26 at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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