More writers are throwing their hats in the ring for Eric Bledsoe to have a breakout season in his first year with the Phoenix Suns.
In a season preview magazine issue, one NBC Sports’ Rotoworld Basketball writer says Bledsoe will join an elite group of players that includes Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Ron Harper and Dwyane Wade.
In a piece featuring the Rotoworld staff’s bold predictions for the season, Ryan Knaus writes that Bledsoe will average more than five assists, two steals and one block over the course of the campaign, which has only been accomplished by four players since the NBA began counting blocks in 1973.
Newly acquired Suns guard Eric Bledsoe will be the fifth. He has career per-36-minute averages of 12.3 points, 0.6 triples, 4.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.9 blocks.
Also in the issue, Phoenix’s acquisition of Bledsoe was ranked as the ninth biggest offseason transaction in the league.
Knaus, who also ranked the transactions, had this to say about Phoenix getting Bledsoe for Jared Dudley:
Bledsoe’s move to Phoenix was overshadowed by bigger-name transactions, but he may end up being the biggest winner in fantasy leagues. Suns GM Ryan McDonough and coach Jeff Hornacek have vowed to play Goran Dragic alongside Bledsoe, their coveted combo guard…his averages in 12 starts with L.A. (Clippers) last season give a tantalizing glimpse of his upside: 14.2 points with 0.6 threes (43.8 percent form downtown), 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.3 blocks and 2.6 turnovers per game.
NBA reporter David Aldridge also recently praised Chris Paul’s former backup. Bledsoe found himself on Aldridge’s list on NBA.com of players who will have breakout seasons in 2013-14.
Phoenix acquired Bledsoe in a three-team deal last summer to get a 23-year-old who flashed in L.A. but never really fired.
That should change this season. The Suns are convinced that Bledsoe and Goran Dragic can play with one another and should be fairly interchangeable in the backcourt. If so, Bledsoe on the move, coming off of screens or in the occasional 1-2 screen-and-roll could be quite effective.
The 6-foot-1 guard played just one season at Kentucky — sharing time with eventual No. 1 draft pick John Wall — before being picked 18th in the 2010 Draft. He proved himself worthy of playing time as a rookie, appearing in 81 games and starting in 25 for the Clippers, but found himself back on the bench after Los Angeles acquired Paul in 2011. The departure of Mo Williams and injuries to Chauncey Billups paved the way for the 23-year-old Bledsoe to see the most playing time in 2012-13 since his rookie year.
In five preseason games with the Suns, Bledsoe is averaging 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 3.0 steals, 0.6 blocks and 47.2 percent shooting in 23.2 minutes per contest.