Apr 20, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe (12) drives downcourt against the Memphis Grizzlies during game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cats in the NBA: Can Eric Bledsoe be a breakout star for the Phoenisx Suns?

Tuesday’s three-team trade involving the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and the Milwaukee Bucks had former Kentucky Wildcat Eric Bledsoe in the mix. The trade concluded with the Los Angeles Clippers acquiring J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, while the Phoenix Suns end up getting Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. The trade overall favored Phoenix, but the Clippers are satisfied with recently signing Chris Paul to another contract.

Back in Los Angeles, Clippers fans were astounded with the potential that Eric Bledsoe could bring to the basketball court. He proved to be a strong back up for Chris Paul, but Bledsoe is set to make his own destiny with the Phoenix Suns. Jared Dudley who was traded to Phoenix was liked by many Suns fans for his regular-guy persona.

Watching Eric Bledsoe play over the past three years with the Clippers was special even though his playing time was limited. The burst of talent, speed, and athleticism in Eric Bledsoe can bring something huge to Phoenix. Bledsoe can make some head-scratching plays sometimes because of his erratic style of play. Coaching and more developing can help Bledsoe in Phoenix to become an even better player.

Over the course of three seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, Bledsoe started 38 games. Last season’s mark for Bledsoe on a 36-minute basis (14.9 points, 5.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 1.3 blocks) gave Vinny Del Negro something to smile about as he changed Eric Bledsoe’s negatives to some positives through Chris Paul’s injury. Del Negro played him 20.4 minutes per game.

What could Eric Bledsoe do if he was given free reign? Opponents such as the Boston Celtics gave interest in Bledsoe early. When the discussions between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers involving Kevin Garnett popped up last winter, it was Bledsoe who was the main target for the Celtics, more so than DeAndre Jordan. The new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough had been in the Celtics’ front office at the time.

So can Eric Bledsoe be a breakout star for the Phoenix Suns? Absolutely. We saw it in Kentucky and we saw it at L.A the past three seasons. Eric Bledsoe has explosive talent and is a playmaker that the Suns desperately need on their team. One problem that the Suns inherited with Bledsoe is that he is due a contract extension this offseason, and it’s doubtful that he and the team will be able to agree on a number. Both sides would be wise to see how Bledsoe plays before committing to a major deal. I see a franchise player in Bledsoe and his future is looking bright for the Phoenix Suns and their organization. If Bledsoe learns to control himself and improves even more on his game, then I definitely  see a star for the Suns. This trade could potentially be the spark that gets the organization in the right direction.

Tags: Kentucky Basketball

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