Generally speaking, the Phoenix Suns’ acquisition of guard Eric Bledsoe elicited one of two responses from Valley sports fans. Most were excited, citing Bledsoe’s potential to be the next face of the franchise. Others, meanwhile, questioned how the 23-year-old point guard would mesh with the team’s other star guard, Goran Dragic.
Bledsoe’s talent and upside went undisputed from all angles. Stuck behind the NBA’s best point guard, Chris Paul, while with the Los Angeles Clippers, the University of Kentucky product showed flashes of brilliance in his limited minutes on the floor.
In three seasons with the Clippers, Bledsoe accumulated nearly 600 assists and thrived on defense, managing more than 100 steals last season to go along with a position-high 55 blocks. And, given his successes off the bench, the Suns are eager to see how Bledsoe fares as a starter, despite having to share the backcourt with another combo guard, in Dragic.
Still, the naysayers have trouble foreseeing Bledsoe and Dragic jelling — they’re too similar, they believe.
But Al McCoy, the voice of the Suns for over 40 years, isn’t among the doubters following the team’s 5-2 preseason showing.
“All of those so-called experts — and I never really know who those people are — say you can’t play these two guards together,” McCoy told The Doug and Wolf show on Thursday. “Yet, in every preseason game that I’ve seen when Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic have been on the floor together, I think they’ve complemented each other very, very well.”
In seven preseason games, Bledsoe has accrued 41 assists, good for sixth-most in the NBA. And his 19 steals lead the league during preseason play, while averaging 13.0 points and 26.0 minutes per game.
Dragic has fared well, too, in six preseason games. The fifth-year guard, who is in his second stint with the Suns, has tallied 11.5 points per game and 25 assists.
Even with stats aside, considering the lack of real clarity gained from postseason numbers, McCoy has seen good signs.
“Is it an experiment? I guess you could consider it that. But I think that both players at this point in time seem to be very comfortable.
The lack of structure in the roles, however, will bring some level of challenge, admitted McCoy. But the onus will be on the ability of the pair to help one another.
“I think basically it’s going to be up to them on how the play reflects their particular talents,” he said. “Right now, with what I’ve seen, it provides a lot of excitement to see two players like Bledsoe and Dragic.”
If nothing else, at least there’s that — excitement — on the horizon.