Less than one-fifth of his shots last season were hoisted between 16 to 24 feet from the basket. He is seeking to take greater advantage of defenders backing off to counter his quickness to the hoop. And that makes Jeff Hornacek happy.
"I see a lot of Kevin Johnson in his strength and ability to get to the basket," Hornacek told the Arizona Republic. "If you can come down full bore and hit the pull-up jumper from anywhere between 15 and 20 feet, teams are going to just be back there going, 'What the heck do I do?' You can't just lay back and play the drive because then he just kills you with the jumper."
A successful addition to his arsenal could make Bledsoe a force. He blossomed last season to average 17.7 points and 5.5 assists per game.
Bledsoe combined with
Part of the reason both players were so productive is the team relied heavily on each for creating and scoring, which lessened the pressure on both. Though the Suns weren't hard up for productive scorers, they lacked off-the-dribble creators beyond those two, a flaw they shored up with the addition of
Thomas was one of the most productive guards in the league himself a year ago, racking up 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game while soaking up 26.3 percent of the Kings' possessions in 34.7 minutes per game. He should see all of those numbers fall off drastically this season, making him an extremely risky pickup for Fantasy. He should still find a decent amount of playing time, but it is hard to imagine the diminutive Thomas being a consistent starting Fantasy option if Bledsoe stays healthy. He is more of a handcuff option, if you invest heavily in Bledsoe early.
Gerald Green, who played 36 percent of his minutes at shooting guard last season, will also lose out, following his breakout campaign. He still has value, but is more of a low-end option for category-based formats.
According to reports, the Suns have signed Bledsoe to a five-year deal worth $70 million, with all five years guaranteed. The two sides had been unable to reach an agreement prior with reports indicating they were as much as $4 million per year apart in negotiations, with Bledsoe reportedly threatening to sign his $3.7 million qualifying offer as a restricted free agent for one year.
Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds in just 32.9 minutes per game a year ago, but was limited to 43 games due to knee surgery.
The Suns could see plenty of turnover in their roster this offseason, and both players could be coveted in free agency. However, the team retains matching rights for both and are likely to return to Phoenix next season after being key pieces of the team's near-miss of a playoff spot.
Bledsoe put up his fourth 20-point game in a row Wednesday against the Wizards, after failing to do so in each of his first five games back. He scored 23 points on 8 of 18 shooting with three 3-pointers made, and filled up the box score nicely in 37 minutes. Bledsoe added six rebounds, seven assists and three steals, though he also turned the ball over seven times, which has been an issue recently.
Bledsoe has been cleared for a bigger role over his last four games, topping 30 minutes in each. He is averaging 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game since returning from injury.
|10/30/2013 vs. POR|
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|Career Shooting Stats|
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