Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek can finally talk about the trade that brought guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Caron Butler to the Valley in exchange for Jared Dudley and a second-round pick.
“There’s always that half-percent chance that something doesn’t work with the deal so we’re happy it’s done with,” he told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Wednesday. “With Eric and Caron coming here that’s two guys who have played on a winning team, they have that winning attitude, and they are both guys that are very good players.”
Bledsoe, 23, averaged 8.5 points, 3.1 assists and 3 rebounds in 20 minutes per game last season, while Butler, 33, chipped in 10.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 24 minutes per night.
But it is the guard, Bledsoe, that is the real prize in the deal.
Stuck behind All-Star Chris Paul the last two years, he is a player many NBA folks believe is destined for stardom. All he needs, really, is a chance.
“He’s kind of been chomping at the bit to be a starter,” Hornacek said. “He’s got some unique abilities that not a lot of guys have with his quickness, his strength, his length as a point guard.
“He can play both the one and the two and combining him with Goran [Dragic] should be a pretty fun two guys to push the ball up the court.”
Few have expressed doubt over the move, but if anyone has any hesitation it is due to wondering how the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Bledsoe will fit next to the team’s incumbent point guard. The first-year head coach does not see there being an issue, as he believes the two will compliment each other nicely.
“When you have Eric out there and you have Goran, you can throw it to either guy,” he said about the ability to start a fast break or push the ball up the floor. “They’re both going to be able to just take the ball and go with it and I think all our guys, when you have two guys like that, it forces everyone else to run because they may never touch the ball if they don’t run.
“I think it gives us a great two-person weapon.”
Hornacek added he sees Dragic as a good shooter who will be able to take advantage of the looks someone like Bledsoe will be able to create for him, going as far to compare the duo to one he was a part of back when he played in Phoenix.
“I kind of compare it to when Kevin (Johnson) and I played together back in the day, where you could throw it to either one,” he said. Though Johnson was the primary ball handler, Hornacek, who could also play point guard, provided the team with another weapon. “We were able to fast break; Kevin could throw it up the court to me and then I could handle it or vice versa. I think they’ll work well together.”
The Johnson/Hornacek backcourt helped lead the Suns to 217 wins over four years. If the Bledsoe-Dragic combo can do something similar, this trade will have worked out just fine.