For Eric Bledsoe, I’m sure he would love to forget about his dreadful postseason performance last season versus the Boston Celtics and have a strong bounce-back year in a contract season. With new head coach Mike Budenholzer is town, he very well could revitalize his game and take it to a whole other level with a modern offensive system implemented.
Last Season: Good, but not great
For Milwaukee Bucks starting point guard Eric Bledsoe, this season is a put up or shut up campaign for him. After being acquired in a trade from the Phoneix Suns, Bledsoe averaged 17.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, but did average nearly 3 turnovers per game (71 games). E-Bled definitely gave a boost to the Bucks on both ends of the floor, but he also did cause Bucks fans headaches on multiple occasions with sloppy play.
Often times last season, Bledsoe was very ball dominant, which forced the Bucks into uncomfortable possessions late in the shot clock. Although he shot 47.6% from the floor last season, he had no problem settling for long jump shots. However, his bread and butter are when he’s aggressively slashing towards the basket using his freakish athleticism to get to the rim. Last season, Bledsoe was 20th in the NBA in drives per game, averaging 12.2 drives per contest. When he’s driving to the basket, it allows for more space on the perimeter for open looks from three, something Milwaukee will definitely take advantage of under head coach Mike Budenholzer.
Although Bledsoe is a career 33.7% three-point shooter, the Bucks will need him to hoist them up if he has a good look from deep. If Milwaukee’s first game was any indication, we are going to see a barrage of three-pointers this season. With MVP candidate Giannis Antetkounmpo demanding so much attention on defense, this will give Bledsoe a ton of open looks and opportunities to back-cut to the basket. Bledsoe has proven that he can knock down trifectas when left open, I mean look at what he did in the Bucks first preseason game versus Chicago.
— NBA (@NBA) October 4, 2018
Areas For Improvement: Better shot selection
A simple change in shot selection for Eric Bledsoe would do wonders for the Milwaukee Bucks. With head coach Mike Budenholzer emphasizing making the extra pass on offense, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a significant dip in FGA for Bledsoe. He should see his fair share of open looks at the basket, which I fully expect him to take advantage of. He definitely struggled last season, but with an elite offensive system in place, this upcoming season could be Bledsoe’s most efficient season to date.
Another aspect of his game that could improve is taking care of the basketball. Although he averaged 5.1 assists per game last season, he still coughed up the rock 2.9 times per game. For his career, he averages 4.7 assists and 2.7 turnovers per game, which isn’t the most ideal statistic for your starting point guard. However, with a real head coach, Bledsoe won’t have to rely on making crazy jump passes to his teammates when he’s in mid-air.
Projected Role: Catalyst
Eric Bledsoe is undoubtedly Milwaukee’s starting point guard for this upcoming season. We should expect to see Bledsoe play around 30-minutes per night, given his career average of 27.7 minutes per game. Donte DiVincenzo and Matthew Dellavedova will back-up Bledsoe, so the PG position is a little thin, especially with Malcolm Brogdon most likely starting at the shooting guard spot. Whenever Bledsoe heads to the bench, expect to see a heavy dose of Malcolm Brogdon running the show as his backup. However the final rotation is set, E-Bled’s role as the starting point guard of the Milwaukee Bucks is set in stone.
Projected Key Stat: Droppin’ dimes
For Bledsoe, it’ll boil down to his assists per game. His career average of 4.7 assists per game is fine, but expect that to rise especially with how head coach Mike Budenholzer emphasizes making the extra pass. Even though he is effective as a scorer, the Bucks are better off when he’s in a pass-first mode rather than looking to attack first. It would not be surprising to see Eric Bledsoe average a career-high in assists this season, considering his previous career-high was 6.3 back in 2016 for Phoenix.
X-Factor: Making it rain from 3
My x-factor for Bledsoe this season is for him to shoot better than 35% from three-point range. The Milwaukee Bucks need all the floor spacing they can get, and if E-Bled is knocking down trifectas at a consistent rate it could very well bolster the Bucks chances at winning 50+ games this upcoming season. Get excited, folks!