Bucks back to basketball profile: Eric Bledsoe
With the announcement of the NBA’s 22-team plan to close out the rest of the season, the Milwaukee Bucks are waiting for late July when play restarts in Disney World. It will undoubtedly be an odd postseason experience, but if Milwaukee can be at its best in the bubble then it will be tough to beat.
As coach Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks prepare during this hiatus, FOX Sports Wisconsin will analyze each player on the Bucks and what their role might be in the playoffs.
This edition: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe came into the league with the Los Angeles Clippers but didn’t blossom into a starting guard until after he was traded to Phoenix in 2013. Bledsoe became a high-usage offensive weapon for the Suns, averaging a career-high 21.1 points per game in 2016-17. But when the franchise never made strides forward, Bledsoe ended his relationship with the team with one fateful tweet in 2017, writing “I don’t want to be here.” The Kentucky product was sent to Milwaukee, where he’s taken a smaller role but nevertheless the starting guard on one of the best teams in the NBA.
Bledsoe is playing fewer minutes in 2019-20 thanks to Milwaukee’s added depth, knack for blowout wins and Budenholzer’s long-term plan to keep the guard fresh for the postseason. His per-36 stats are right around his career-best, though. Bledsoe is also shooting 34.8% from deep, his best clip for a season since his third year in the league. A consistent offensive presence, Bledsoe scored 20+ points in 16 games and tallied 5+ assists in 38 contests.
— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) November 28, 2019
GAME TO REMEMBER
Bledsoe can still be “The Guy.” When reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a Jan. 28 matchup against Washington due to a shoulder injury, Bledsoe took over. The Bledshow was on. In 31 minutes, Bledsoe poured in 34 points on 11-of-20 shooting, drained all 10 free-throw attempts and tallied 10 assists and six rebounds. Milwaukee racked up a season-high 151 points in its win over the Wizards. Giannis who?
WHAT TO EXPECT THIS SUMMER
Bledsoe’s poor performance in the conference semifinals and finals last season lingered into 2019-20. In those 11 games, the guard averaged a mere 11.6 points and 3.9 assists in 28.4 minutes per contest. He shot 20.8% from 3-point range. Can Bledsoe be trusted under the bright postseason lights? Or was the moment too big? Unfortunately for Bledsoe, these storylines will follow him to Florida until he proves he can perform in a high-pressure series. But his role as the Bucks’ starting point guard, distributor and tenacious perimeter defender won’t change.