The Phoenix Suns were dealt a crushing blow today when it was announced Eric Bledsoe will miss the rest of the season while recovering from a torn left meniscus. Initially viewed as a short-term injury, Phoenix is being extra cautious this time around since it’s his second meniscus tear (tore right meniscus in 2011, had it removed in 2014).
The news could not have come at a worse time – not only are the Suns battling for a playoff spot (3 GB of 8th), Bledsoe is having a career year (leads PHX w/ 20.4 ppg; avg. 6 assists and 4 boards as well) and is the engine that drives their uptempo style.
Without Bledsoe in the fold, they lose an explosive scorer and distributor but it’s not entirely impossible for Phoenix to remain competitive. Brandon Knight (avg. 19.8 ppg) gets the keys to the kingdom now, while rookie Devin Booker (shooting 57% from deep), third-year guard Archie Goodwin (11 mpg) and second-year forward TJ Warren (avg. 11 ppg, 0 starts) will get the bulk of minutes at the wing spots.
Knight is a near All-Star who excelled playing a similar role in Milwaukee before last season’s trade. Booker was ready to play “yesterday” and Goodwin is itching to get action.
Now, if Phoenix decides to completely re-tool, which is a strong possibility (ceiling is limited without Bledsoe), coach Jeff Hornacek could get the axe and vets like PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris could get traded (bodes well for Warren).
It’s a static situation worth watching but in the meantime, pay close attention to the development of Knight, Booker and Warren, three key cogs moving forward.
As we close the book on Bledsoe’s 2015-16 campaign, here are highlights from this past Halloween, where he poured in 33 points and 6 dimes in a 101-90 dub over Portland.
Here’s to a speedy recovery for one of the most dynamic players in the NBA. Til next season, E-Bled!