Bucks’ Bledsoe showing off scoring ability in November

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 2nd edition of the 2019-20 Bucks Weekly Spotlight


Guard Eric Bledsoe

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We’re seeing the real Bledsoe now.

Milwaukee’s starting point guard suffered a rib injury in the preseason and was expected to miss a few weeks, which was expected to include regular-season games.

But there was Bledsoe on opening night Oct. 24 at Houston – although he only played 16 minutes. Bledsoe got off to a slow start in October, perhaps due to the injury, averaging 10.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting just 36.4% from the field, 21.4% from 3 and 53.8% from the foul line. He had a 42.2% true shooting percentage, 39.8% effective field-goal percentage and his offensive rating was just 91.

November has been a different story to say the least.

In six games thus far in the month, he’s averaging 20.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists while shooting 51.1% from the field, 33.3% from 3 and 94.4% from the line. His advanced stats, of course, were also better: 61.8 TS%, 57.8 eFG% and 125 ORtg. (He also had a 32.2% assist rate, which is better than his career best over a season.)

This past week, Bledsoe had 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists and no turnovers in the close loss at Utah and 25 points, nine assists and just three turnovers in the win at Oklahoma City.

Not that Bledsoe hasn’t ever been a scorer. He averaged 20.4 points with Phoenix in 2015-16 and then 21.1 points the next season with the Suns.

In fact, Bledsoe has topped 20 points in four consecutive games – his longest such streak since he did it Nov. 5-22, 2015 in eight straight. He’s had three other four-game streaks of 20+ points in his career but never with the Bucks until now.

And the thing is, Bledsoe is doing all this while averaging just 26.6 minutes per game. He’s topped 30 minutes just twice.

With Khris Middleton sidelined, the Bucks might need more production from Bledsoe. As he’s shown, he’s quite capable.


— This week in Giannis: The Bucks only played two games since our initial Weekly Spotlight, but in those two games Antetokounmpo averaged 32.5 points and 14.5 rebounds while shooting 56.1% from the field and 44.4% from 3. Entering Thursday’s game, Giannis has had a double-double in all 10 Bucks games, scored 30+ points in five straight and is 8 of 16 from 3 over his last three contests.

— This should come as no surprise, but Ersan Ilyasova is tied for second in the league in charges drawn (7) and tied for fifth in charges drawn per game (0.7). He led the NBA last season with 0.73 charges drawn per game – no one else had more than 0.5 per game.

Sterling Brown had three DNPs in Milwaukee’s first eight games and played fewer than six minutes in three of the five games he did appear in. But last week he played 22:33 against Utah and 18:10 at Oklahoma City. He combined to record 19 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.

Dragan Bender, who was recalled by the Bucks on Thursday, played in three games for the Wisconsin Herd, averaging 20.0 points and 8.3 rebounds.

— Jemerrio Jones, a 6-foot-5 small forward who played at New Mexico State, could be angling for an NBA contract. He’s averaging 13.7 rebounds per game for the Herd despite playing only 26.3 minutes per game. He had 12, 17 and 12 rebounds in Wisconsin’s three games last week.