Eric Bledsoe Emerging as Suns Leader


When the Phoenix Suns acquired Eric Bledsoe in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers on July 10, 2013, they hoped to gain their future centerpiece of the franchise, in the young, explosive point guard.

In his first season for the Suns, it was up and down, as he was sidelined for over half of the season with shin issues and eventually a meniscus injury. However, he averaged 17.7 points per game in 43 games played, with 5.5 assists per game as well. Last offseason, the Suns reached a new contract agreement for 5 years and over $70 million with Bledsoe, showing belief in the future centerpiece.

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However, the 25 year old has always had leadership concerns, as for the three seasons of his career, he sat behind one of the premier point guards in the NBA, Chris Paul. On the Clippers, he really didn’t get a chance for leadership as the backup point guard. When he was traded to the Suns, he was given the opportunity to start as a combo guard with Goran Dragic. That combination still seemed to suck away the leadership opportunities from Bledsoe as most of the 13-14 season Dragic was the main man, doing all the leadership.

However, he was given the opportunity to run his own team when the Phoenix Suns traded Goran Dragic to the Heat, and new signing, point guard, Isaiah Thomas, to the Celtics. This opportunity may have cost Phoenix a playoff chance this season, but it allowed more youth to come in, as they obtained draft picks in the deals, and it gave Bledsoe the opportunity he’€™s been looking for: leadership.

Bledsoe, since the departure of key players, has began to take responsibility for losses in post game interviews, and improve his game all around. Bledsoe is a very hard working player, most often playing the most minutes out of any one on the Suns. He’s averaging 34.5 minutes per game this season. However, it’€™s more than just minutes, Bledsoe hustles for loose balls, and runs the fast break as hard as he can.

One thing Bledsoe really does well as a leader is being vocal, something the team has not had since Steve Nash was in Phoenix. Bledsoe is very vocal on the court, loudly yelling about mistakes from teammates, apologizing for his own mistakes.

Bledsoe’s leadership is getting better, but he still makes mistakes. However, all the current changes this season have allowed Bledsoe to show off his true leadership skills, and the future looks good for the Suns around Bledsoe and his leadership.