Suns get long look at Bledsoe, Dragic in tandem

October 16, 2013

PHOENIX -- After splitting point-guard minutes in the Suns' first two preseason games against NBA competition, Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe played together for large chunks of Tuesday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

And that's probably what we'll see during the regular season.

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek explained that keeping Dragic and Bledsoe apart the previous two games was a function of finding out how they work alongside different shooting guards.

"There's going to be times when one of them has to come out," Hornacek said. "They both can't play 48 minutes every game."

It would be nice …

Anyway, Hornacek -- when asked about the complexities of playing two card-carrying ballhandlers at the same time -- performed a Suns history rewind to the days of Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons and point guard Kevin Johnson.

"I look at it, again, like the Cotton days from when Kevin and I were playing," Hornacek said. "Goran is about the same size I was. He's faster than I was. Eric and Kevin are pretty similar players in the way they can get the ball up the court.

"They're strong. They can jump. Hopefully, we can really turn up the heat. There's going to be a mismatch somewhere. Defensively, our team defense will eliminate some of the deficiencies with the size of Goran or Eric when we put them at the two spot, but again, they have to guard us."

Hornacek said both players will operate in a playmaking capacity, with quickness advantages being used to determine which point guard may function in break-down mode during particular situations.

But with Chris Paul -- one of the league's top defenders at this position -- guarding Bledsoe, the first-year Sun still did the bulk of the ballhandling on Tuesday.

It seemed to work, however, with Dragic going for 20 points playing mostly off the ball and making all four of his 3-pointers while often losing Clips two-guard Willie Green in the transitional flow.


Including Tuesday's marksmanship, Dragic -- who struggled shooting the ball for Slovenia during last month's Eurobasket tournament -- has made 6 of 9 3s over three preseason games vs. NBA teams.

He's knocked in 15 of 24 shots from the field overall, handed off nine assists and committed five turnovers.

Unfortunately, the new member of the Adidas endorsement team is still waiting for the sneaker/apparel company to send him newer versions of the Crazy Lite lo model.


Before his team took its latest test against the Clippers, Hornacek provided a positive report on the player who could be attached to so much of the Suns' future.

"Eric (Bledsoe) has done great," Hornacek said. "The one thing, for me, when he came over was -- knowing that he's strong and he can score -- what kind of point guard is he? Can he read things? Can he be a guy that can direct traffic? Can he make the extra pass?

"He came here a week prior to training camp and it was obvious. You didn't have to watch him long to see. He does see the court very well. He's had some great passes. He's had some turnovers early, but mostly because our guys aren't ready for his passes."

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