1. How scared are you of what Eric Bledsoe might do in this game?
Andrew Han, (@andrewthehan): On a scale of zero to Stephen King’s “It”, I’m a healthy zero. I can never be scared of Eric Bledsoe’s success. Just infinitely sad that it will never be for the Clips. Love you, U-23 lineup (Bledsoe, EJ, Aminu, Blake, DJ).
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): I’m petrified. Did you see his stat line in the Suns’ first preseason game? I expect Bledsoe to take this game extremely personal and look to light up his former ball club. No matter the result — win or loss, good game or bad game — we know what Bledsoe is capable of (and what his potential is), and he’ll always have a special place in our hearts.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Bledsoe has actually struggled in his last two preseason games. This may not mean much, but it’s his first game against the Clippers. He’s going to want to show off and because of that, I’m quite scared.
2. How should the Suns use Bledsoe this season?
Han: As a starter. Try him at off guard. Let him play lead guard. But it’s time to let the Bledsoe flag fly. There’s no two cents about it: the Suns have no intention of winning games. So let this time be productive and let their young players acquire as much playing time as possible. The future is the future for Phoenix, but the development starts now.
Buha: Both on and off the ball. I actually like the two point guard starting attack with Goran Dragic. Bledsoe isn’t ready for full-time point duty yet, and he and Dragic can take turns utilizing their off-ball strengths — cutting for Bledsoe, spot-up shooting for Dragic — in the proper system. Either way, if he gets shot attempts in the right situations, he’ll be productive.
Katz: He’s going to start, but doesn’t the Eric Bledsoe per 36 Box have to make a preseason cameo Tuesday night? Last Call won’t feel the same without it. As for on the court, Bledsoe is such a quick and efficient off-ball cutter, that playing the 2 with Goran Dragic at the 1 might be Phoenix’s best offensive plan. Bled might not be the best shooter in the world (yes, I know that’s an understatement), but he can make up for part of that with his off-ball movement.
3. What have we learned about the Clippers in their first three games?
Han: Surprisingly little. We knew the bench had some shortcomings. I think Clipper aficionados expected Griffin’s shooting form to be improved. And DeAndre has set out to validate all the praise Doc placed on him during the offseason. But with Redick and Barnes sitting all three games, we still have no sense of the starters’ chemistry and the rotation flow. Blame it on Mr. OVOXO.
Buha: We’ve learned through three semi-meaningless preseason games that the Clippers are a talented, top-heavy team with a much different identity than last season. They have a more structured and motion-based offense, as well as clear-cut defensive goals and principles. They’re not as deep as last season, but they’re most likely better. The lack of interior bench depth is a slight concern, though.
Katz: The lack of a third big man might be a bigger problem than initially anticipated. We’re barely even into the preseason, but Byron Mullens put up one of the uglier preseason lines you’re going to see against the Kings (6-for-18 from the field, 4-for-12 from three, six turnovers), Ryan Hollins isn’t a big-minutes player, and Antawn Jamison is purely working as a spot up jump shooter who isn’t moving all too often. If all that stays the same, from where would the big-man bench production come?
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