Bucks’ Bledsoe makes late All-Star push

Welcome to the 2019-20 edition of the Bucks Weekly Spotlight. Each Thursday we’ll track the progress of the players who are trying to help Milwaukee make a championship run, give updates on other players from the previous week and sometimes take a look at who is lighting it up for the Wisconsin Herd.

This is the 12th edition of the 2019-20 Bucks Weekly Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT ON …

Guard Eric Bledsoe

Like pretty much everyone else on the Bucks, Eric Bledsoe’s statistics have been somewhat suppressed due to just how good Milwaukee has been this season.

Only one player on the Bucks averages more than 29 minutes per game – Giannis Antetokounmpo, and even he’s at only 30.7 (there are 75 players in the NBA who are averaging more minutes per game) – and Bledsoe is fourth on the team at 26.3 (tied for 147th in the league), which would be his fewest since the 2012-13 season.

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Thus, Bledsoe’s season stats might seem modest: 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 48.2% from the field (35.3% from 3) and 84.4% from the line.

His per-36-minute stats tell another story. Bledsoe’s per 36 of 21.2 points per game is the third-highest of his career and best since 2016-17 while his 6.2 rebounds and 7.1 assists both would be career highs.

This past week, though, Bledsoe got to show what he can do when given the chance. Playing over 31 minutes in Milwaukee’s win over Charlotte in Paris, he had 20 points, five assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Later in the week in beating Washington at home, Bledsoe played roughly 30 1/2 minutes and had a season-high 34 points – making all 10 of his free-throw attempts – 10 assists (with only two turnovers), six boards and a steal.

We haven’t even mentioned his defense. According to NBA.com, Bledsoe has a 99.4 defensive rating, which ranks fourth in the league among players averaging at least 20 minutes per game. Basketball-reference.com has his defensive rating at 103.1, 13th in the league.

The NBA announces the All-Star reserves Thursday night. The base averages might have some questioning whether Bledsoe is deserving, but digging deeper tells a different story.

BUCKSHOTS

— This week in Giannis: He only played in one game, much to the delight of Parisians it was the overseas game against the Hornets, where he had 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting, 16 rebounds and six assists. It was Antetokounmpo’s 38th double-double of the season and 199th of his career.

— Khris Middleton had kind of a big game on Tuesday. We wrote more about it here.

— Robin Lopez had missed a few games – including, sadly (for him), the game in Paris – but returned in the win over the Wizards and had 10 points (4-of-5 shooting) and two blocks.

— Donte DiVincenzo made 9 of 13 shots in Milwaukee’s two games and has hit at least 50% of his field-goal attempts in seven of his last eight contests (shooting 53.6% from the field and 47.1% from 3 over that span).