Eric Bledsoe is a Phoenix Sun. If I had said this just a couple weeks ago, people would have called me crazy. And they would have been correct, considering that Bledsoe was a Clipper back then. However, as of today, Eric Bledsoe is officially a member of the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns introduced the two newest additions to the team in a press conference this afternoon. We were able to hear from Lon Babby, President of Basketball Operations, Ryan McDonough, General Manager, and Jeff Hornacek, Head Coach, just how they plan to utilize their newest toys. The players themselves also shared their thoughts on being in Phoenix and how they plan to fit into the team's roster.
The shinier of the two new toys is undoubtedly Eric Bledsoe, a dynamic 23 year-old basketball player ready to embrace the opportunity Phoenix will give him. Notice how I called him a "basketball player" instead of a "point guard" or "shooting guard" - that is exactly how Eric referred to himself when our very own Dave King asked him which of the two backcourt positions he is the best fit with:
"I'm a basketball player. You put me at the 5, I'm going to try to play the position the best way I can. So whatever position Coach Hornacek decides to put me in, I'm going to play it the best way I can."
Eric Bledsoe just wants to play basketball. That's great news for Suns fans. To Marcin Gortat and Alex Len - look out, you may have some competition for minutes.
On his feelings about landing in Phoenix, Bledsoe shared, "I was excited. First of all, I honestly didn't know where I might end up. I thought I was kind of going to Orlando but this opportunity came and I'm excited to get this thing started. I'm just ready to get started." Bledsoe also noted that he is excited about the opportunity he will have to showcase his skills on a broader palette than he had in Los Angeles:
"It's definitely a plus for me. Unfortunately, I couldn't play as much as I wanted because I was playing with an All-Star. Now, Ryan has confidence in me and I have full confidence in myself. We're going to make some big things happen here so it's a blessing."
Bledsoe enters a Suns team that already has an established point guard in Goran Dragic. However, he is excited to be a part of new Head Coach Jeff Hornacek's plans to implement a fast-paced offensive system that emphasizes transition scoring, noting that he and Dragic could be a formidable duo. Asked about his fit with such an offensive system, Bledsoe had this to say:
"It fits in great, especially with me. I'm a transition type of guy and it'll make it a lot easier having Dragic, who can also control the game. Like I said, I'm just ready to get started."
Jeff Hornacek echoed those thoughts by describing his plans for a backcourt of Dragic and Bledsoe:
"As a coach, I'm just envisioning Eric and Goran pushing the ball up the court, creating those 4 on 3, 3 on 2 opportunities, Caron's knocking down threes and jumpshots, our bigs rolling to the basket, I think it's a great addition to these two guys."
Much like the way he identified himself as "a basketball player," Eric Bledsoe revealed that he is focusing on improving all aspects of his game during this offseason, stating that he is working on "everything." Suns fans will be pleased to know that Caron Butler also shared that Bledsoe was in the gym within hours of arriving in Phoenix yesterday. Butler had VERY high praise for his counterpart:
"He (Eric) is an explosive, dynamic guard who has "superstar" written all over him. I think he's just going to come here and put everyone on notice. I think he's going to put the sports world on notice. He's a relentless worker. The second he arrived yesterday, he was in the gym. That's the attitude and approach he's had all offseason and I think he's going to be great this year and years to come."
Caron Butler's compliments of Bledsoe, along with the praise Babby, McDonough, and Hornacek all showered on him, is exciting news for Suns fans. Regardless of whether or not he truly could become a "superstar," it's nonetheless exciting to have a young, high-demand commodity that holds great promise.
Only time will tell what's in store for Eric Bledsoe, but he is ready to embrace the opportunities and challenges he faces in Phoenix and has already hit the ground running. I, for one, am tremendously excited to see the Suns' new two-headed offensive machine led by "basketball players" Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the Phoenix Suns' introductory press conference of Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. Bright Side of the Sun will continue to produce plenty of content and news with the speed of the Suns' new starting backcourt!