The jury is out on whether Eric Bledsoe is a future NBA star. Indeed, the jury is out on whether Bledsoe is even a future NBA starter.
But the jury has affirmed the charge that Eric Bledsoe is better than most people thought when he was drafted #18 overall in 2010. Bledsoe, a high school point guard, spent a single season at Kentucky where he was so good that he started at SG in the back court next to eventual #1 overall pick PG John Wall.
NBA.com's Sekou Smith did a re-draft of 2010, and found that Eric Bledsoe has turned out to be the 9th best overall player from that draft ahead of Greivis Vasquez, Evan Turner and Ed Davis. (Suns fave Avery Bradley was re-drafted #6 overall, by the way)
John Calipari was operating with an absolute embarrassment of point guard riches with Wall and Bledsoe on the roster at Kentucky together. Bledsoe had limited opportunities in 38 starts in three seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. Traded to Phoenix this summer, he should thrive now that he won't be overshadowed by Chris Paul.
There is no shame in failing to win the starting PG spot over the bigger and clearly more talented John Wall at Kentucky. Wall may not have delivered a transcendent NBA career yet, but he has played well enough to earn a max $80 million contract extension last month. Only 22, Wall can clearly become much better than his max contract pays.
While Wall started for a putrid
Bullets Wizards team in 2010, Bledsoe (21) joined a young Clippers team that trotted Blake Griffin (21), Eric Gordon (22), DeAndre Jordan (22) and Al-Farouq Aminu (20). But he was blocked at PG by aging, overpaid Baron Davis and later a late-career overpaid Mo Williams. Still, Bledsoe scratched out 25 starts in his 76 games and put up 6.7 points and 3.6 assists in 22 minutes as a rookie.
*The Clippers were so excited with their young talent that season that they deigned to send their 2011 unprotected #1 pick to Cleveland in order to dump half a season of Davis' salary. That pick became Kyrie Irving, the best draft pick Cleveland has had since LeBron James.
But Bledsoe's future hit a thick wall in the summer of 2011, when the Clippers acquired All-Star and All-NBA PG Chris Paul, in exchange for Eric Gordon and others. With Paul in the fold, Bledsoe would never get another chance to play more than spot minutes. Indeed, behind Paul he got only 11 minutes per game in 2011-12 (playing 40 of 66 games) and 20 minutes per game in 2012-13 (playing 81 of 82 games).
Yet somehow, Bledsoe still proved to be a darn good player and has the respect of media, scouts, coaches and fellow NBA players alike.
Statistically, Bledsoe has not proven to be better than his draft position in the 2010 NBA Draft. He is 18th in Win Shares, 17th in Win Shares per 48 minutes (for players with 800+ NBA minutes over 3 seasons), 18th in minutes per game, 16th in points, 18th in rebounds. But he has been great in steals, blocks and is 4th in assists among those guys.
How does he rank 9th in Sekou Smith's re-draft? Potential. The ranking is clearly not based on actual results, since each young player's opportunities vary. Bledsoe has been stuck behind highly paid PGs since he entered the league: Baron Davis, Mo Williams, Chris Paul.
Now he only has Goran Dragic in his way in Phoenix, and all the minutes he can handle.
Let's see how that potential plays out.
It's only been two seasons, but just for grins I thought I'd do my own re-draft of 2011 to see where the Mo Bros would rate at this point.
I am ranking these guys subjectively. Only partially based on actual production, this ranking is my wholly impartial/partial opinion of NBA value of the guys taken in the 2011 NBA Draft.
- Kyrie Irving (was #1)
- Jonas Valenciunas (5) - totally based on potential here
- Kawhi Leonard (15)
- Kenneth Faried (22)
- Chandler Parsons (38)
- Klay Thompson (11)
- Nikola Vucevic (16)
- Tristan Thompson (4)
- Kemba Walker (9)
- Enes Kanter (3)
- Tobias Harris (19)
- Markieff Morris (13)
- Jimmy Butler (30)
- Reggie Jackson (24)
- Iman Shumpert (17)
- Brandon Knight (8)
- Marcus Morris (14)
- Derrick Williams (2)
- Isaiah Thomas (60)
- Alec Burks (12)
- Lavoy Allen (50)
- Jan Vesely (6)
- Kyle Singler (33)
- Chris Singleton (18)
- Marshon Brooks (25)
- Bismack Biyombo (7)
- John Leuer (40)
- Josh Harrelson (45)
- Jimmer Fredette (10)
- Jordan Hamilton (36)
That's how I'd re-do the 2011 Draft anyway. Shows that a re-draft doesn't really move the needle a lot on the Mo Bros.
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