Preview: Bucks vs. Lakers

November 11, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- Eric Bledsoe's Milwaukee Bucks debut was a rousing success.

Now, he'll get a chance to make a good impression on his new home fans when the Bucks host the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night at the Bradley Center.

Milwaukee shipped a protected first-round pick to Phoenix Tuesday to acquire Bledsoe, a five-year veteran who had become disenchanted with the Suns' losing ways. The hope was Bledsoe could add a boost to the Bucks' offense and help stabilize a defensive unit that was allowing 108.7 points per game.

"It's going to take some time for him to understand his teammates and understand the defensive and offensive schemes," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. "But he's a pro. He's a very smart young man. He can help us."

Despite have just one day of practice with his new teammates, Kidd inserted Bledsoe into the starting lineup Friday at San Antonio, with defending rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon moving to the bench.

The move paid off.

Bledsoe scored 13 points on 6-for-15 shooting with seven assists and four rebounds as the Bucks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 94-87 victory over the Spurs.

"I thought Eric gave us a little life," Kidd said. "His speed makes things a lot easier for everybody and on the defensive end, I thought he was great on the ball not getting picked."

Bledsoe is already feeling comfortable in his new surroundings.

"It's easy playing with these guys," Bledsoe said. "All I have to do is give them the ball. I have the easy job."

Against the Lakers, he'll likely spend much of the game guarding Los Angeles point guard Lonzo Ball, who's trying to break out of the first slump of his short career.

The rookie is averaging just 6.8 points on 22.8 percent shooting over his last five games with only three 3-pointers on 24 attempts.

Lakers coach Luke Walton doesn't think Ball's shooting -- especially his mechanics -- are as much of a problem as outside observers suggest.

"He's an incredible player," Walton said after Ball scored 10 points on 3 of 12 shooting in a 111-95 loss to the Wizards on Thursday. "He's 20 years old. He almost had a triple-double tonight. But any time you turn on any sports show, all they talk about is his shot," Walton said. "Is it extra pressure? One hundred percent. He's a rook who ... gets dissected by everybody."

The matchup with the Bucks will give Kidd his first extended look at Ball, who some have compared to the Bucks' head coach. But Kidd, a 12-time All-Star and nine-time all-defensive team member, isn't quite ready to pass the torch.

"Let him get some games under his belt," Kidd said. "I truly think he is talented. Today we want everything microwaved, we want it overnight or we want it (instantly) Googled. We want to see the answer now."

The Bucks and Lakers split their two annual meetings in each of the last three seasons with the Lakers winning two of the last three contests in Milwaukee.