Bledsoe Holds The Line In Paul’s Absence






HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – With point guard superstars (Chris Paul) and luminaries (Chauncey Billups) on the roster, it must be tough for a youngster like Eric Bledsoe to find time to shine.

He’s also operating on a team that features the one-man, crossover freakshow that is Jamal Crawford, whose exploits on a nightly basis inspire these sorts of tweets:

But with Paul (knee) joining Billups on the Los Angeles Clippers’ bench the past two games, their young apprentice has been at the controls and the Clippers didn’t slow down one bit.

They followed up a 26-point rout of the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night with another solid thumping of the Houston Rockets last night. Bledsoe was fantastic in both, dropping 14 points, four assists and three rebounds on Mike Conley and the Grizzlies and then a season-high 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists on Jeremy Lin and the Rockets.

Bledsoe knows he has to bide his time behind his more heralded teammates, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have plenty of ambition to fuel his fire in the meantime. He couldn’t have two better tutors. And he’s already formulated his plan, according to my main man Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times:

“I’m just preparing for that moment,” Bledsoe said in his typically quiet voice. “I’m still learning behind Chris and Chauncey. Hopefully, we win a championship and if I do get that chance, I can lead a team.”

Bledsoe started for the second consecutive game because Paul was out because of a bruised right kneecap. Bledsoe finished with a season-high 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the Clippers’ 117-109 victory over Houston.

But Bledsoe knows that Paul is an All-Star point guard who is just 27 years old.

If Paul re-signs with the Clippers over the summer as most people expect, it will mean Bledsoe may have to leave the Clippers to become a starter.

“I’m just focused on winning,” Bledsoe said. “I’m just focused on winning and learning how to win right now. For the most part, I’m just continuing working and building, learning how to run a team. The other stuff will take care of itself.”

The Clippers are deep enough at every position that they should be able to resist any urge to dangle Bledsoe in the trade market this season, preserving their right to groom him for a bigger role in the event that Paul’s decides to go elsewhere (which seems implausible, considering the way the Clippers are playing this season).

Bledsoe is a luxury that not every team in the league has, a youngster with superstar potential that they can take their time grooming for bigger and better things.

In a league filled with young, talented point guard prospects, Bledsoe might very well be the most underrated due to his current circumstance. He also has one of the highest ceilings.

46 Comments

  1. Tdawg says:

    Agreed Eric Bledsoe, deserves credit because he will one day become a superstar. As a Clippers fan, I would love this team to stay together for a few years. But the truth is, Bledsoe would start at most teams besides those with star point guards and teams would be willing to pay him the money. Question would it be in his best interests to get playing time elsewhere. Maybe. On one hand he is learning from CP3 and Billups (But for how long). The other side means getting 33+ minutes and a lot more money as a key piece of the team. For Clippers keeping Bledsoe can be the difference in winning a championship/s within the next 3 years and he only can improve. Personally if I were Bledsoe, If Paul stays, I would finish my time with Clippers after the 2014/15 season with the Clippers coach aware so he can get good value for him.

  2. Eli Odell J. says:

    can y’all all talk about bledsoe not garnett and kobe?
    the boy sure shows some talent, i could see him bein an allstar starter for some team in a few years

  3. mr.sonicfeet says:

    It’s bad when Kobe shoots that much. Not because his percentage, or why you may think.
    When other guys on the Lakers don’t get to shoot it makes them not want to try as hard on Defense.
    It’s a psychological thing. In order to get players to do the dirty work, they got to touch the ball every now and then. Even though no one is saying it, they’re thinking it. Know one wants to play with a Ball Hog, not even a good one.

  4. Poorman's dream says:

    Still dreaming that CP3 will sign in NY this summer.

  5. WORLDWIDEFAN says:

    Agree with some of the stuff here. YES, the Clips should trade bledsoe before he walks for the $$$.
    But in my opinion, they need to trade for another young, cheap and talented player, not for a big contract like smith.
    For example, the could trade bledsoe for 2 top-20 picks of this past draft, that would give them some new blood, new talent, and they would know they could stay cheap for a few years with them.
    On the other hand, if the Clips are aiming for a championship run, I think bledsoe is more important than many people realizes, so in that case, it would be worth the money to keep him, since they are not even close to the hard cap.

  6. 80's says:

    Watch hill at his prime and compare!

  7. rocks says:

    The topic here is bledsoe but the immature people are talking about Kobe, KG and Carmelo lol!

  8. Stan says:

    CP3 and Bledsoe are a great combination in the Clipper backcourt. They know how to make their teammates better and keep everyone involved getting them their best shot. Bledsoe, Barnes and Crawford give the clippers a deep bench, the kind you need if you want to win a championship. I hope Bledsoe will be a clipper forever if it’s possable to keep him happy in L.A. along with CP3. You need a talented pointguard like Bledsoe to run the clippers and keep CP3′s minutes around 30. Bledsoe should be getting atleast 20 minutes a game since he can play the shooting guard with CP3 too. I know the Clippers are committed to signing CP3 for the rest of his days, but if not Bledsoe would make a fine starter. I just hope this Clipper team stays together for the next 5 years and they become a dynasty. Clipper seats are the hottest ticket in Los Angeles.

  9. KRC says:

    LOL seriously guys stop raising hell comparing players around.

    I have a more constructive suggestion: Add Lob Contest to Day 2.

    I bet this would be more refreshing than having more repeated personal dunks.

  10. yao jr. says:

    god i wish this clipper team never changed for the greedier and loved playing and winning. seeing a team this deep and fun to watch like this team is very hard to come by after x number of years due to prospering talent and disintegration of the roster due to money money money

    • Common Sense says:

      Well said. I think every true clipper fan agrees. It would be great if they were willing to keep chasing the ring and not the money. Hopefully the culture will keep everyone happy and in no need to chase the green

  11. purpngold says:

    Bledsoe to the Lakers..
    He has shown great potential and would be a great addition in the backcourt when Nash retires. If D12 resigns with the Lakers, that would be a good tandem, the Lakers Lob Show..

    • uoykcuf says:

      I got a better idea, why not trade everyone else other than kobe and it’ll be good, the lakers lone show..

  12. TY says:

    The reason the Lakers are losing is becuz of their coach. They should of just hired Dr. Phil Jackson. Y? becuz he gets it done. Coach Mike was the coach over in New York and couldn’t get it done. He play noooo D at all. That’s why D.Howard is out of there next season.

  13. Johnny says:

    everybody starting e-beef on this page is a herb. yall dont know smack about sports. stop being little kiddies and go become coaches if you guys know errthing namsayinnnnn???? trolololol. herbs. get lyfs. :D pce.

  14. charles says:

    conley is very underrated and supremely talented player. Bledsoe played him like an experienced point guard. He is showing so much promise that the clippers will have to trade him or someone will pay him HUGE megabucks. The guy is too talented to be on the bench. He’s going to play somewhere.

    Atlanta Hawks should trade Josh Smith to get him. Josh would be a great forward for clippers and will do wonders with CP3. Bledsoe would be an exceptional point guard on both sides of the floor for the hawks and would let Al Hartford shine more brightly.

    • J N says:

      Smith is a great player, but i don’t think the Clippers would want that trade. They are already very satisfied with Griffin, Butler, and Barnes at forward, and they probably wouldn’t want anybody to step on Blake’s minutes. Also, they rely on Bledsoe for solid play while Paul is on the bench, plus, one of Del Negro’s most effective lineups is using Paul at the point and Bledsoe at shooting guard, which is part of Bledsoe’s value, he can fill-in as a great shooting guard if necessary.

  15. Jay T says:

    JCrossover! Clippers RISE!

  16. HonestGuy says:

    Everytime I see this dude play, I think he would be a starter in any team without a superstar PG already there. He’s super athletic and when he finishes learning from CP and Billups, he should have a great bball IQ.

    • Heatmeupone says:

      True! Legends mold future legends and he is in prime position to blossom. I have been thinking that for a while now. “Baby Lebron” as he is commonly referred to, is amazingly athletic and has managed to coast under the radar but it looks as if the radar has just caught a blip and it’s E Bled soaring in for the one handed jam over (insert center here)! I am afraid that he wont be here for long so enjoy it while you can, he is definitely headed for stardom somewhere where a super star pg is needed.

  17. Matt C says:

    Crawford and Bryant are the two players in the league who can actually make a living on shots that if taken by any other player, would have to be considered “stupid ball.”

  18. DANITo says:

    so hill is better than kobe and kg. prix ur such a prick

  19. clipper fan says:

    i love this group, I just hope they can stay together !

    • Game Time says:

      Same here. My biggest hope is not for some great playoff run, but I want to see these guys play for a few years together. It’s just fun to watch how well they get along. Still, I would love to see a championship for them.

  20. Common Sense says:

    I love E-Bled. Loved him since he played with Eric Gordon. He’s better than he knows he is and can’t wait for him to realize. He has played with Gordon, Paul and Chauncey and has Barnes, Odom, Billups, Turiaf and others that have one rings with Hill and others with the veteran experience. Kid has more potential than anyone in the league with the athleticism to back it up. And prix, please don’t bring this conversation into Kobe and Garnett, If you piss off Celtic and Laker fans at the beginning of this blog, E-Bled will not get the credit he deserves and this conversation will quickly be about Championships, rings, and banners. E-Bled is amazing and deserves his time to shine. Paul and Bilups are lucky they can take their time and rest.

  21. Melo Wade says:

    I totally agree with the last sentence. He is definitively the most underrated point guard of league because mainly, of Chris Paul best point guard of league status. But i believe he can become a great player, it’s been since last season that I saw him becoming a great point guard! I just hope he will choose a good team to be traded too at the end of the season so he can blossom to a All star!

  22. Game Time says:

    I would have never guessed that Bledsoe would have turned out to be this solid. Now I see why the Hornets wanted him so bad along with Gordon, and frankly the Clippers made off like the Lakers normally with that trade.

  23. Knicks says:

    Bledsoe to dunk contest!

  24. prix says:

    Bledsoe making a name…but it was Hill’s return which will make the Clips more exciting and keep on winning…Hill playing time could be short but always have a positive impact…compare to Kobe shooting a dozen dozen but keep on losing and KG that could’nt play anymore and fill the game with his bad mouth…what a shame…

    • Celtics says:

      you are so ignorant … Kobe shoots because he knows how to shoot, KG talks because he knows that it will decrease his opponent focus and it will lead to a win. Anthony is just a baby to react to this kid insults.

      -Celtics for Life

    • AnnoYouLater says:

      wtf are u saying about Kobe and KG?… do u even watch games? Kobe is averaging 30 points a game making almost 50% of his shots and KG has one of the best +/- in the league and here you are complaining on how they play…

      • Ganja daze says:

        you’re an idiot kobe fanboy, kobe is shooting 48%, and one of the reason they are losing it’s because he’s taking all those shots to score 30 points or more you fool, hence they have lost 90% of the games where he has scored 30 points or more. He takes more shots than gasol and dwight combined, when they are the biggest strength of the Lakers. Idiot.

      • RJ says:

        Kobe’s 48% percent shooting is really good for any guard, but it’s phenomenal for a guard who is scoring 30 points. He’s doing a great job this year.

      • NBA Fan says:

        @GanjaDaze

        I love how people do not even care to look into the stats but just blame Kobe, because “HE SHOTS TO MUCH OMFG LOL BBQ WTF”. The fact is Kobe is having a great season and if you watched a single game of the Lakers this season, you’d have seen that Kobe takes a lot of shots when you can clearly see that the whole team struggles. Know why? Because he wants to win and if his teammates can’t do it, he’ll try to do it himself. If the whole team is playing bad, he can’t count on them to make shots every trip down the floor while Kobe has proven during his 16-year career that he can make basically any shot a player can think of, even if he struggles the whole game up to that point, so there’s no wonder he is willing to trust himself more than his teammates. The second thing, he is the superstar on the team, so why shouldn’t he score big? Finally, Lakers lose because of they awful defense and once again, Kobe has proven he is a very good defender throughout his career.

        I just hate all those people that criticize Kobe for scoring big in every game

        And finally, Howard and Gasol the biggest strength of the Lakers? Come on, Howard is nowhere near the best offensive big man in the league, Lakers would have been better off offensively with Bynum at any time and Howard isn’t even at his level defensively yet because of the back injury. And Gasol… he is a great player, but he isn’t and never has been better than Kobe, because barely anyone was.

        I am a Clippers fan, but I know when to show respect to a great player, who knows how to extend his career successfully. Let’s see if LeBron can still score 25-28 ppg when he is 34 and his athleticism is no longer there at such a level :] That’s when he will deserve to be truly called a great player.

    • Banner 18 says:

      Have you even watched KG play? He does a lot more than just run his mouth..at his age he can still anchor a defense.

    • LOL says:

      LMFAO WHAT? are you comparing grant hill to kobe and kg LOL “kobe shooting a doen of shots and making them is why he is one of the greatest… kg and his loud mouth is why he is so intimidating, dont forget their rings and stats lmfao.. what has grant hill done that amazes you during his career. Heck LUKE WALTON HAD A POSITIVE IMPACT OF THE BENCH LMFAO

      • LMFAO WHAT? says:

        are you comparing luke walton to grant hill LOL i’m guessing you weren’t paying attention when grant hill was putting up LBJ like numbers with the pistons. and winning while doing so. “luke walton had a positive impact off the bench” when the hell did this happen?

    • Lakers says:

      Are you kidding me, comparing Grant Hill to Kobe or Garnett. Yes, Hill is solid, but what has he done that Kobe or Garnett can do three or four times more. Garnett’s mouth is what makes him so intimidating, and Kobe shoots because he is a shooter. i don’t see Hill making fallaway jumpers from the baseline with an opposing team’s best defender in his face. I haven’t seen Hill be so intimidating that opponents don’t want to guard him like Kobe or Garnett. Kobe is only losing because his team has no D, and he went most of the season without a good point guard and both of his big men ailing, not to throw in learning two new offenses and trying to figure things out under a new coach who doesn’t teach defense. Garnett is getting old, but he can anchor a defense. Oh, and how many championships have Kobe and Garnett won, and how many has Hill won, I mean how many Finals games has Hill been to? Hill is a solid player but you can’t comparing him to two of the biggest stars this generation has seen.

    • lol says:

      prix you need to shut the hell up and listen to what your saying
      moron

    • J N says:

      He didn’t mean Hill is better than KG or KB, i think he is just saying sometimes KG and KB do a little too much and it can make winning difficult. Hill will definitely not be trying to do too much, he will come in briefly, do some good things, and go out. So his effect will be mostly positive.

      KB doesn’t have much choice besides shooting a lot, he is the only reliable scorer on the Lakers, so its a bit unfair to say he shoots too much. He does miss too many difficult shots lately to be attempting them regularly.

      KB does have a large plus minus, but part of that is because the Lakers are so bad that they allow huge amounts of points with Kobe on the bench, so it is slightly misleading.

      Kobe is a great player of course, a legend really. But i have watched recently that the most effective defense is to let him shoot, avoid fouling, and just keep a hand up because he will usually miss the jumper lately.

      Realistically, if Kobe was so effective, they wouldn’t be several games out of the 8 seed in the West.

      • celtic533 says:

        how does trash talking hold KG back from winning.If anything it gives an edge over the opposing team or player.

      • NBA Fan says:

        plus/minus has nothing to do with on-/off-court efficiency difference :] +/- is about how your team is doing when you play.