COMMENTARY | Phoenix Suns fans have reason to be excited about acquiring a player as talented as Eric Bledsoe. What they may not realize is that bringing in Bledsoe means Goran Dragic won't be the focal point of the offense anymore. Where does Dragic fit in with the Suns moving forward?
Would the Suns be happy with their point guard averaging 17.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 9.9 assists and 1.7 steals in 37.2 minutes of play? Would they appreciate a shooting line of .473/.385/.800? Would it surprise you to know that was the last 13 games of the 2012-13 season for Dragic?
Small sample size, right? Let's double that and look at Dragic over the last 26 games of the year. He averaged 16.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 2.0 steals in 36.0 minutes. His shooting line was .447/.330/.758.
The only player to average that over the entire 2012-13 season was Chris Paul. Even looking at the 2012-13 season as a whole shows Dragic deserves more attention. The only players who averaged more points, rebounds, assists and steals were Paul and Russell Westbrook.
Should The Suns Move Dragic To Shooting Guard?
The easiest solution in the short term is to move either Dragic or Bledsoe to the shooting guard spot. Bledsoe would fit better at shooting guard, but he's just 6'1" and would likely have to switch defensively. Dragic stands 6'4" but is 10 lbs. lighter than Bledsoe.
Offensively, having Dragic and Bledsoe out there next to each other would be great, especially in transition. Defensively, they could attack the passing lanes and create a lot of havoc. Unfortunately, that kind of gambling often results in a whiff, which puts their big men (who aren't defensive phenoms as it is) in bad position.
The Suns don't have to subscribe to the theory that the primary ball handler should be the shortest guy on the court. That thinking is outdated and should be scrapped. With that said, Dragic needs the ball in his hands as a creator to be productive. The best option would be to play Bledsoe off the ball and move him to the point when Dragic rests.
You've got to ask yourself whether you'd move your best player out of his natural position. The answer is no.
So, Should The Suns Trade Dragic?
Before people get too antsy to move Dragic in a trade, realize that while he isn't considered a superstar, he is a talented player on a reasonable contract. His average salary of $7.5 million makes him the 16th-highest paid point guard in the league. Can you name 15 better point guards in the league? Didn't think so.
Still, that fact could make him a very attractive target when the trade deadline comes around. A player in his prime on a reasonable contract would be a major score for a contending team that needs depth or an injury replacement.
The key in that idea is waiting for the trade deadline. The prospect of placing Dragic and Bledsoe in the backcourt together is intriguing and it never hurts to have flexibility for when the injury bug strikes. Regardless, it would behoove the Suns to listen to any offers, even if they aren't taking them too seriously.
People are understandably excited about Bledsoe coming to the desert, but don't do Dragic a disservice. Dragic is still the Suns best overall player. Bledsoe may be the face of the future, but for now, he's the one that will need to adjust and fit in.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers Phoenix Suns practices and games for the site he founded , HoopsHabit.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- Goran Dragic
- Phoenix Suns
- Eric Bledsoe