Eric Bledsoe played his first four NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. More than a decade later, he is back to where he started.
The Clippers acquired 31-year old Bledsoe in a trade that sent Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo, and Daniel Oturu to the Memphis Grizzlies. For some, trade three players for a 30 something guard is a giveaway, especially if you’re a team that is trying to get away from the shadows of your Staples Center neighbor.
The Good Sides
During the 2020-2021 season, Patrick Pevereley missed 32 games due to injuries. In contrast, Eric Bledsoe missed 12 games during the past three seasons. That’s one of the reasons why the Clippers emerged as winners in the Bledsoe deal. While pundits projected that Bledsoe would be a back-up to Reggie Jackson, his return to Hollywood gives the Clippers another experienced guard who can come off the bench and do damage.
While Rajon Rondo had a great run with the Clippers since being acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, he faded away quickly, especially during the 2021 playoffs where the Clippers lost to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals.
He only normed four points and three assists in 13 playoff games last season while shooting 34% from the field. He never became the additional playoff boost the Clippers thought he was. And since Rondo just turned 35 last February, including him in a deal for a slightly younger guard seems like a logical move for the Clippers.
The Bad Side?
One of the reasons the Clippers traded for Eric Bledsoe was that they needed someone to score off the bench. There is no doubt that Eric Bledsoe can put up points. While his numbers are on a steady drop, he could be a valuable asset to the Clippers’ championship hopes.
During the 2020-2021 season with the New Orleans Pelicans, Bledsoe averaged 12 points, three assists, and three rebounds in 71 regular-season games. The problem, according to some, comes in the playoffs.
The last time Bledsoe played in the playoffs, he was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2020 playoffs inside the Orlando bubble. The Bucks finished with the best record in the NBA that season but failed to win it all. While the injury that struck Giannis Antetokounmpo ended the Bucks’ season in 2020, Bledsoe’s inconsistency in the playoffs doomed the Bucks.
He never reached the 20-point mark and only shot 25% from the three-point line. This problem could be massive for the Clippers, especially if the starters aren’t clicking offensively.
In the end, it boils down to whether or not Eric Bledsoe will fit into a team that has Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. After all, many believed that he wasn’t the right scoring option next to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Who knows?
Things might be different this time around as Bledsoe will likely be a role player off the bench than a starter.