Even though he didn’t start at point guard for Kentucky, Eric Bledsoe is making a huge mark in the NBA as a backup with the Los Angeles Clippers. Blesdoe started at shooting guard because of his scoring ability, but played a little point guard at Kentucky while playing along side future #1 draft pick John Wall. In the NBA, Blesdoe is playing behind perennial all-star Chris Paul. On ESPN’s blogs, the Clippers call Bledsoe “arguably the best back-up point guard in the league” and grade him a “B” for the season.
Arguably the best backup point guard in the NBA had another solid season and showed why he should be starting on another team if Paul re-signs with the Clippers. When Paul went down with an injury during the regular season, Bledsoe stepped in and averaged 8.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.43 steals in starts.
“Bled is one of the best guards in our league,” Paul said last month. “I’ve said it all season long. I’m enjoying playing with him right now because there’s no way he can be here next year because we probably won’t have enough money to pay him. He should be a starting point guard in this league next year.”
The Clippers don’t need to deal Bledsoe in the offseason but once Paul re-signs they’d be wise to start looking for suitors. One of the more popular destinations has been Boston in a package that would include DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett. Considering Bledsoe had 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds against the Celtics earlier this season, it’s not hard to see why Boston would be interested.
8.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.4 SPG, .445 FG, .397 3FG: Bledsoe’s statistics took a massive jump from his sophomore season when he battled back from knee surgery.
Outlook for 2013-14
Bledsoe’s future with the Clippers really hinges on Paul’s decision this offseason. If he decided to stay, the Clippers would be wise in looking to deal the up-and-coming point guard for pieces that will help the Clippers compete for a championship this season with Paul. If Paul decides to leave, Bledsoe immediately becomes the team’s new starting point guard and they would move forward with Bledsoe and Griffin, while trying to add another big piece in free agency.
The smart money is on Paul saying, and the Clippers shipping Bledsoe in a package that would net the Clippers an experienced player who would help them compete for a championship.
B: Bledsoe’s continued improvement is a big reason the Clippers have been careful not to trade him too soon. He is their safety net if Paul bolts, but he is also their most intriguing bargaining chip when they enter the trade market, looking for pieces to add to the team this summer if Paul stays.
Chris Paul is obviously the vital piece to the puzzle for Bledsoe to remain in L.A., or to leave for another NBA team. Bledsoe has proven that he can start at PG in the league, and deserves to play for a team that will allow him to do so. I can’t really imagine Paul bolting for another team unless something bad happens with the Clippers. Right now, the Clippers are by far the best team in L.A. How many times since the Clippers came into the league could you have said that? The trade to Boston would be very interesting, but they have a starting point guard in former Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo. Blesdoe would not start over Rondo, so I’m not sure why that trade would happen unless Rondo is traded to the Clippers. Yeah, you can stop laughing now.