SI: Eric Bledsoe ranked 49 in top 100 NBA players

Sep 14, 2016, 9:35 AM | Updated: 10:28 am
Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, right, drives past Detroit Pistons forward Aron Baynes during the ...
Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, right, drives past Detroit Pistons forward Aron Baynes during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in Phoenix. The Pistons won 100-92. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Sports Illustrated released their list of the Top 100 NBA players of 2017, and Eric Bledsoe became the third Phoenix Sun to appear on the list.

After being ranked at No. 33 the previous season, he still managed to crack the NBA’s top 50 after a disastrous season not only for the Suns, but for him personally. He tore his meniscus the day after Christmas in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. That was the last game he would suit up for that season.

SI’s Rob Mahoney saw Bledsoe as a high-performance player, but with all of his injuries, there is no telling how he will hold up.

In theory, Bledsoe is an impressively productive shot creator, a propulsive driver, and one of the league’s most oppressive perimeter defenders. In reality, he’s a short guard with two bad knees. That divide creates all kinds of confusion for this kind of exercise, given that the very concept of Bledsoe as a player is subject to the uncertainty swirling around compounding surgeries. Bledsoe has performed well even after returning from multiple previous procedures. Yet this latest operation—to repair the meniscus in his previously healthy left knee—casts further doubt as to how his body will hold up. Bledsoe fought through knee injuries while in a lesser role with the Clippers and now only has more strain on his body in greater minutes and greater usage. It’s reasonable to wonder if the 26-year-old is physically suited for the kind of stardom his game suggests; a team would naturally want to make the most of all that Bledsoe does well and could, in the process, contribute to his gradual wear down.

The Kentucky product has been plagued by injuries since being acquired in July of 2013. Bledsoe has missed a total of 91 games over three seasons, including 51 last year. In the 31 games he did play in 2015-16, he averaged 20.4 points and 6.1 assists.

Despite only being 26-years-old, he’s considered to be one of the veterans on the team, and is looked upon as the leader. Only time will tell if he can stay healthy and help lead the Suns to a better 2016-17 campaign.

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SI: Eric Bledsoe ranked 49 in top 100 NBA players