Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe
28-Year-Old GuardG
Milwaukee Bucks
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Bledsoe spent just three games in Phoenix last season after being shipped to Milwaukee, where he started in all 71 of his appearances. He continued his work as a solid defender and scorer, averaging a combined 2.6 steals/blocks and 17.8 points on 47.6 percent shooting. While he’s not a top-tier three-point shooter (34.9 percent) he hit a career-high 1.7 threes per tilt last season. However, the 28-year-old still isn't much of a distributor, averaging 5.1 assists with the Bucks last year -- his lowest mark since 2012-13. Unless coach Mike Budenholzer drastically changes things, Bledsoe probably won't make strides as a passer this season considering the ball handling responsibilities of Giannis Antetokounmpo (and, to some extent, Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker). When on the court, Bledsoe is a top-30 player, though health concerns remain. By his standards, Bledsoe was healthy for the 2017-18 campaign, but is averaging just 59 games played since he became a full-time starter in 2013-14. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $70 million extension with the Bucks in March of 2019.
Vintage performance in easy win
GMilwaukee Bucks
April 18, 2019
Bledsoe totaled 27 points (11-19 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 2-3 FT), six assists, four rebounds, three steals, and one block in 28 minutes during Wednesday's 120-99 victory over Detroit.
Bledsoe was excellent again Wednesday, filling the box score, including a team-high 27 points, in just 28 minutes of playing time. The Pistons were able to keep this one close until half time but it was the Bucks who came out stronger to begin the second half, running away with the game. There is nothing to suggest the Bucks won't win the series in four games and if that is the case, it would certainly put them in a great position moving forward through the playoffs.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Bledsoe, who’s been injury prone throughout his career, played just 66 games last season due to knee soreness. A large chunk of his missed time came after coach Earl Watson opted to shut Bledsoe down for the remainder of the year on March 16 due to the team being well out of playoff contention. Bledsoe put together a quality season in the games he did play, however, posting 21.1 points, 6.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals across 33.0 minutes per game. He also shot 43.4 percent from the field and drilled 1.6 threes per game at a 33.5 percent clip. The 6-foot-1 point guard has always been lauded as a gritty hustle player and top-tier defender at the position, demonstrated by his aforementioned above average rebounding and steal numbers. While he’s somewhat turnover prone, averaging 3.4 per game last season, his general proficiency across the board helps make up for it. That proficiency also means Bledsoe is no stranger to stuffing the stat sheet for big games, as he recorded seven double-doubles and one triple-double during the 2016-17 campaign. He also put together 12 games with at least 30 points, 13 games with at least three steals and 23 games with at least one block. While there are certainly more efficient and/or traditional choices in Fantasy at the point guard slot, few offer the kind of well-rounded game Bledsoe does, especially on the boards and defense. Assuming Bledsoe can stay healthy, there’s no reason to believe he shouldn’t be a top-15 Fantasy point guard with sneaky top-10 potential.
In his sixth NBA campaign, Bledsoe seemed to be blossoming into a full-fledged star through the season’s first two months. The point guard was holding down career-high averages of 20.4 points, 6.1 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 three-pointers per game over 31 appearances until disaster struck in December. The point guard left a Dec. 26 game with a sprained left knee and was later revealed to have suffered a torn meniscus, which required season-ending surgery. With their best playmaker off the court, the Suns predictably went into free-fall mode, limping to a 23-59 finish. It was the second time in three years that Bledsoe had suffered a meniscus injury after having previously torn up the right knee in 2013-14, putting the onus on the 26-year-old to shed the ‘injury-prone’ label as he enters the upcoming season. By all accounts, Bledsoe has progressed well in the rehab process and was taking part in five-on-five work prior to training camp, so it doesn’t look like he’ll enter the season with any restrictions. Concerns about Bledsoe’s knee issues resurfacing are certainly warranted, but when he’s on the court, few fantasy point guards can stack up with him. Along with providing a bounty of counting stats, Bledsoe holds his own in the percentage categories with career marks of 44.7 percent from the field and 78.1 percent from the free-throw line. Those who are risk averse may want to stay away from investing an early-round pick or significant portion of their auction budget in Bledsoe, but his upside will surely be too tantalizing for some owners to pass up.
After signing a new deal last summer, Bledsoe enters 2015-16 as the face of a franchise that has seen considerable turnover in just a year's span. He began last season in a crowded, but talented, backcourt that also included Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, a three-point-guard experiment that ultimately floundered as Phoenix failed to take the next step in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. By season's end, Dragic and Thomas had been moved, as the Suns opted to go in a new direction, bringing in Brandon Knight from Milwaukee to be Bledsoe's running mate of the future. While injuries limited Knight to only 11 games in a Suns uniform, Bledsoe enjoyed a strong season, starting a career-best 81 games and averaging 17.0 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.2 rebounds in 35 minutes per game. Bledsoe shot 45 percent from the floor, a hair above his career average, but he took a slight step back from beyond the arc, converting only 32 percent of his three-point attempts. The Suns are one of the league's biggest mysteries heading into the season, especially given what's transpired with standout forward Markieff Morris, the team's second-leading scorer last season. If Morris' wish to be moved is granted, Bledsoe will be asked to take on an even greater offensive burden. He'll team with Knight to form one of the West's best young backcourts, and the pair figure to split playmaking and ball-handling duties. Knight is the better catch-and-shoot player, however, so Bledsoe figures to spend more time on the ball.
Bledsoe is entering his fifth year in the NBA and his second with the Suns. Despite missing 39 games to injury last season, Bledsoe put together some solid numbers when healthy. He averaged a career-best 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 33 minutes per game. Bledsoe shot an impressive 48 percent from the field on 12.9 attempts, 36 percent from beyond the arc on 3.3 attempts, and 77 percent from the free-throw line on 5.5 attempts per game. While he has not officially signed his free agent tender yet, the Suns are set to match any offer his receives, with the likely scenario being Bledsoe returns to Phoenix on a one-year deal. However, the possibility of a trade still looms, with the Suns' offseason acquisition of Isaiah Thomas lending credence to the belief that they're prepared to move on without offering Bledsoe a max or near-max deal. In any case, assuming he returns to Phoenix, Bledsoe will likely retain his starting guard spot, as well as the potential for some major production. He carries the potential to combine efficient scoring with elite-level steals numbers and sneaky rebound and assist totals. Injuries are a concern, but if healthy, Bledsoe is a candidate to have a big 2014-15 season.
Bledsoe has shown glimpses of big-time potential in his first three NBA seasons, but as a backup to Chris Paul on a very deep Clipper team, his opportunities to play were (rightfully) limited. That changes this season. Bledsoe was dealt to the Suns as part of the three-way deal that sent Caron Butler to Milwaukee and Jared Dudley to LA. On what promises to be a pretty bad Phoenix team, Bledsoe will get all the playing time he can handle. Is he up to the challenge? His per-36 numbers say yes – his averages last season would translate to 14.9 points, 5.1 assists and 5.0 boards on a per-36 basis. That's probably optimistic, but cut those totals by 15 or 20 percent and you'd still have a pretty good player. An important trend to watch: Bledsoe shot just under 30 percent from long range in his first two NBA seasons, but hit at a 40 percent clip last year. Improvement? Or a statistical aberration based on small sample size (just 31 makes on the year). Bledsoe is a point guard by trade, but it appears he'll start in the Suns backcourt alongside Goran Dragic as the nominal shooting guard.
The real question for Bledsoe in the upcoming season will be, “How much playing time is he going to get?” Bledsoe played only 11.6 minutes per game last season and though he didn’t put up superb numbers, coach Vinny Del Negro never really allowed him to get into a rhythm in the regular season. The postseason, however, was Bledsoe’s coming out party. Del Negro played him 17.2 minutes per game and the second-year guard averaged 16.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per 36 minutes. If Bledsoe continues to improve – and he’s only 22 – he could end up seeing plenty of more playing time in the upcoming season, especially considering he is probably the best perimeter defender on the roster.
This off-season wasn’t kind to the young Bledsoe. First, he had surgery on a torn meniscus in his knee, and will miss the beginning of the season. And now he has not just one, but two veteran guards in front of him on the depth chart. Unless injury strikes, or either Chauncey Billups or Mo Williams gets traded, then there is no reason to draft Bledsoe in 2011-12.
Bledsoe was drafted for his talent and potential as a future point guard in the NBA, but he isn’t likely to contribute much for the Clippers this season. He’s a great shooter, but he turns the ball over too often and is an unproven facilitator.
More Fantasy News
Well-rounded stat line in win
GMilwaukee Bucks
April 14, 2019
Bledsoe totaled 15 points (5-9 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 3-4 FT), five assists, three rebounds and a steal across 25 minutes in the Bucks' win over the Pistons on Sunday.
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Big double-double in loss
GMilwaukee Bucks
April 6, 2019
Bledsoe finished with 33 points (12-17 FG, 5-6 3Pt, 4-7 FT), 11 assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block over 33 minutes in the Bucks' loss to the Nets on Saturday.
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Tossed in first quarter
GMilwaukee Bucks
April 4, 2019
Bledsoe was ejected from Thursday's game against Philadelphia after being assessed a double technical foul, Derek Bodner of The Athletic reports.
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Leads charge in win
GMilwaukee Bucks
April 1, 2019
Bledsoe scored a game-high 29 points (10-19 FG, 3-9 3Pt, 6-6 FT) while adding seven assists, five rebounds, five steals and two blocks in 34 minutes during Monday's 131-121 win over the Nets.
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Back in action Monday
GMilwaukee Bucks
April 1, 2019
Bledsoe will be available Monday against Brooklyn, Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel reports.
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