It was interesting, but a good year for Eric Bledsoe. During the regular season, it was debatable that sometime during the season he was the second best player on the roster, but once we got into the playoffs after the first round against the Detroit Pistons, it went downhill. Earlier this year the Bucks signed guard Eric Bledsoe to a 4-year $70 million extension, which can be good and bad. It’s good because last year the Bucks took a chance on Bledsoe as they traded for him from the Phoenix Suns and they will keep him for the future but could be a bad move because it looks like the Bucks have to let either Khris Middleton or Malcolm Brogdon walk away. Nonetheless, the Bucks get to keep their NBA First Team All-Defender.
Highlights: First Round Performance versus the Detroit Pistons
It was an easy series for the Bucks as they swept the Pistons in the first round and everything was clicking on all cylinders for the team, especially Bledsoe as he was everywhere in the stat sheet. Bledsoe went to average 19.3 points, 4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2 steals, and .5 blocks. He field goal percentage was also solid at 53.5, but the only issue you can see during the first round was the three-point percentage at 30.2. Bucks fans (and quite frankly everyone) knew it was going to be an easy series, but it was nice to see Bledsoe do everything on the court and we have seen that throughout the regular season like with this triple-double performance against the Sacramento Kings on February 27 and his handful of double-doubles.
Lowlights: Second Round and Eastern Conference Finals Performance
It was tough to watch Bledsoe against the Boston Celtics in the second round and then the Toronto Raptors in the Conference Finals, especially for being good throughout the whole season. In the Boston series, Bledsoe averaged 13.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks while shooting 41% from the field and 23.3 from the three. In the Toronto series, Bledsoe averaged 10.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1 steal, and 0 blocks while shooting 29.8 percent from the field and 16.4 percent from the three. Both series were a struggle, but it makes sense since the Celtics and Raptors are arguably the best defending teams in the league, but for a guy that just signed a big contract, you are going to need more out of him.
Grade for season: B+
Although Bledsoe had a great regular season that earned all-defensive honors, I’m going to take into effect that the last two series hurt Bledsoe from getting an “A-”. We know what Bledsoe is capable of and he’s consistent with it, but he is going to need to take that extra step against good defending teams on bigger stages in the playoffs.
Role Next Season: Mr. Everything with more minutes
I believe Bledsoe’s role isn’t going to change much as he does a fine job already. The only thing that will change is his minutes. Bledsoe would likely see an increase in his minutes if Brogdon leaves in free agency. Bledsoe, who only played 29.1 minutes is going to need to get conditioned this offseason, so we don’t see a late postseason collapse.