Fantasy Basketball: Eric Bledsoe finds a home after trade to Milwaukee
The Suns finally moved on from Eric Bledsoe, sending him to the Bucks for center Greg Monroe.
It was only a matter of time before Eric Bledsoe found a new home, and he ended up landing in an obvious spot with the Suns trading him to the Bucks Tuesday. Bledsoe, who was sent home from the team after playing just three games, will join the Bucks in the coming days, with Greg Monroe sent to the Suns along with a future first-round pick.
What does this mean for Fantasy players? Let's look at the impact for both teams, starting with the Bucks.
Bucks acquire Eric Bledsoe
The Bucks were one of the most obvious potential suitors for Bledsoe's services once it became clear the Suns were looking to trade for him, and they end up landing him for a relatively low price. After building their offense around the all-around skills of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Bledsoe gives them a more dynamic playmaking option out of the point guard spot, which should change the team's outlook dramatically.
Bledsoe has played on a variety of teams, including splitting time with multiple other ballhandlers, and has managed to post remarkably similar numbers in recent seasons. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.3 assists per game in 2016-17, the high-water mark of his career; he put up 17.0 points and 6.1 assists in 2014-15. That's probably the range you should expect from him in Milwaukee, and I'd bet on him being toward the lower end of it. Which is still a fine Fantasy player, and one who was well worth stashing during his time off in Phoenix.
Generally, I think it makes sense to just bump expectations down for everyone else across the board here. Middleton is averaging 19.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, while Giannis is putting up 31-9.9-4.0, with 3.1 combined blocks and steals per contest for the Bucks. Without getting too specific, I think you could lop off about 10% off Middleton's scoring, and perhaps even more from Giannis – who was unlikely to continue averaging 31 PPG moving forward anyway.
That might sound like a lot, but it shouldn't alarm you. Both are productive enough elsewhere to make up for any losses in their scoring totals, and Bledsoe isn't enough of a playmaker to cut into their assists totals too much.
The one big loser here is likely Malcolm Brogdon. The second-year guard has taken a step forward since his Rookie of the Year campaign, and is likely to remain in the starting lineup for the Bucks even with the acquisition of Bledsoe. However, his averages of 15.5 points and 4.8 assists per game are likely to be cut into, as he becomes the team's No. 4 option on most nights.
Brogdon can still be a useful Fantasy option, but he's more replaceable today than he was 24 hours ago. That's a tough break, and he might benefit from a move to the bench of this starting lineup doesn't work out. Don't drop him just yet.
The Suns acquire Greg Monroe
This deal is all about the first-round pick the Suns received in addition to Monroe, who is in the final year of his deal. The Suns were already crowded in the frontcourt before acquiring Monroe, and it would be a shock if they didn't make at least one more trade soon.
Whether that trade involves Monroe or not, he seems unlikely to stay in Phoenix long term. A buyout seems possible as well, though Monroe could see 20-plus minutes in Phoenix like he was in Milwaukee. He's proven he can be a decent Fantasy option when he does – he averaged 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game last season – but he doesn't have much upside. In all likelihood, this frontcourt is going to be a mess for Fantasy, and something you'll want to stay away from until they sort it out.
Expect the Suns to continue to roll with Mike James as the starter at point guard, and he is worth adding where available. The 27-year-old rookie is averaging 11.7 points and 4.1 assists per game, and is a decent low-end starter in his current role.
Tyler Ulis is also worth looking at. He has been averaging 9.0 points and 4.4 assists since Bledsoe's benching, and put up 16.1 points and 8.5 assists per game in 15 starts a year ago. If he breaks into the starting lineup, he could continue to grow into a consistent starting Fantasy option in the near future.
The Suns are a bad team, and bad teams tend to provide a lot of value for Fantasy. However, they also have depth at key positions, which could make it hard to know exactly who to trust. It will take a few weeks for the ramifications of this trade to fully shake out, but you'll want to keep a close eye on their rotations to see who to pounce on when the time comes.
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