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ESPN NBA analyst more reserved than most on Suns' acquisition of Eric Bledsoe
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ESPN NBA analyst more reserved than most on Suns’ acquisition of Eric Bledsoe

LISTEN: Tom Penn, ESPN NBA Analyst

So far, Phoenix Suns fans have been awfully optimistic about the acquisition of guard Eric Bledsoe.

“(Suns GM) McDonough killed this one,” one fan commented on the Arizona Sports article announcing the trade.

“This is a great deal for the Suns,” another chimed in.

Said cardsfan89: “McDonough Doing work… Excellent trade, now what are we gonna do with Dragic.”

“Hate to see Jared (Dudley) go,” one commenter wrote, “but this is a great start to what I believe is a GM phenom, well done McDonough.”

Local analysts, too, were largely in favor of the deal:

On Tuesday, exactly one week after the deal that sent Dudley to the Los Angeles Clippers for the talented Bledsoe and small forward Caron Butler, ESPN NBA analyst Tom Penn was a bit more reserved in his evaluation of the trade while a guest with Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo.

“(Bledsoe) is potentially the best player in the trade, which is good,” Penn said.

Indeed, the Suns’ new acquisition averaged just 8.5 points per game in 76 games with the Clippers last season. And though his playing time was limited to just 20.4 minutes per game, as he was blocked by All-Star Chris Paul on his former team’s depth chart, the guard has a history of struggling with field goal percentage and turnovers.

Dudley, meanwhile, has shown to be a much more efficient scorer over his five-year career, averaging at least 10.6 points per game since Bledsoe’s rookie season, which came in 2010-11. The 27-year-old, however, has had much more playing time to work with than Bledsoe over the last three seasons.

And Penn, who once served as the Vice President of Basketball Operations of the Portland Trail Blazers and Assistant General Manager of both the Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies was, thusly, not too quick to anoint Bledsoe as the cornerstone many have deemed him.

“I like Bledsoe as a prospect,” he said in the interview, “if they see him as the starting point guard of the future and he proves he can do that night in and night out.

“The real question, I guess, is how he’s going to play alongside Goran (Dragic) and what the plan would be there… And the money they have invested there, with him.”

There’s little denying that Bledsoe, a former first-round pick out of the University of Kentucky, has raw talent aplenty. But how he fits into the Suns team and how that talent develops is another consideration altogether.