If you haven’t seen it by now, the Phoenix Suns have managed to swing a deal for Eric Bledsoe while the Bucks move J.J Redick to the Los Angeles Clippers and get two second round draft picks in return.
This looks like a good deal for all sides involved. The Bucks got something in return for Redick who was likely going to leave anyway, the Clippers replace Bledsoe in their rotation with Redick and get another shooter in Jared Dudley, and the Phoneix Suns manage to get their point guard of the future and an expiring deal in Caron Butler.
There’s hard to imagine any complaints from any side in this case. Everyone managed to get something that they need. Lets go through and see how this changes things going forward for the Clippers and the Suns in both positive and negative ways.
For the Los Angeles Clippers, this changes things a bit on both sides of the ball throughout the game. I’d say that this is a good trade for them. For Doc Rivers, having shooters has always been key to his offenses. Though the Celtics’ offenses haven’t been good in the past few seasons, Doc has always had multiple shooters with versatility.
Before this trade, the Clippers had three shooters who we should consider as reliable catch and shoot guys. Those players were Willie Green, Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler. Green and Crawford both shot 42% in spot up situations beyond the three point line. Butler shot 39% from three in those same situations–a pretty decent figure for a shooter.
Had the Clippers been able to keep Butler, they may have done so. However, they gave up one shooter to get two more in Redick and Dudley. Good, consistent shooting is hard to find in today’s NBA, but when you can get two shooters like those guys you have to jump on it.
Butler had his limitations in terms of being an offensive threat. Though he’s adept at moving off of the ball, he is nowhere near Redick nor Dudley’s level when it comes to moving off of screens. He’s a player who you don’t have to run a play for that will find a spot to sit in and wait for his chance, but you can run things to set these other guys up.
This is especially true for Redick in this case. He is a very good spot up shooter, but can also shoot the ball moving off of screens and is great at delivering pocket passes to teammates as he comes off of the screens. This is something that became a staple for him in Orlando. Its something that he’s worked on throughout his career to stay in the NBA. He’ll routinely make plays like this one:
He’s become not only one of the most deadly jump shooters coming off of a pindown screen, but he’s also become a great passer in this situation too. Once he gets it going it can be pretty difficult to stop him because of his versatility.
Its because of plays like this that Redick has been able to make a name for himself in the NBA. He’s improved defensively and rounded out his offensive game to become a much better facilitator instead of only being a shooter. Redick averaged 4.5 assists per game this season because of how much he attracted the defense. The Clippers have gained a player that Doc Rivers will be able to use in the same way that he did Ray Allen throughout his time with the Celtics.
The only problem for the Clippers in this deal is that they’ve lost a very valuable defender in Eric Bledsoe and they now need to find a spell for Chris Paul. Doc Rivers has gone with one point guard in the past with Rajon Rondo, but given Chris Paul’s injury history that wouldn’t be the wisest decision here.
The Clippers will likely need to find a way to spell Chris Paul for a few minutes per game. You don’t want to go with Jamal Crawford as your point guard–he had a 12.4 PER at the point guard position and only played three percent of the available minutes there last season according to 82games. That isn’t really the direction you want to go with him.
Chauncey Billups may take more minutes there depending on what happens with Redick. If Rivers chooses to start Redick–which I suspect he will–then Billups should be the backup point guard for the Clippers. Still, there should be a concern about the health of Billups going forward even if that is the case. There are plenty of decent options at the point guard position for the Clippers to choose from in this year’s free agent class.
As far as Bledsoe’s defensive role with the Clippers, he can be replaced. He only played about 18 minutes per game on average, so there isn’t going to be some huge, drastic drop-off for the Clippers on that end of the ball. Rivers’ defensive system should translate pretty well with the athletic bigs that he has.
As far as the Suns go, I’m sure they were ready to pull the trigger on this deal as soon as they received the call. Even though Bledsoe is a relatively unknown player because of his lack of minutes, there is a lot of potential there.
Even if Bledsoe doesn’t pan out, you still have another starting caliber point guard in Goran Gragic for now. He’ll likely be dealt sooner or later for a cheaper option as a backup, but the Suns can choose to keep him as a security blanket. Still, even if they do move him, that means that they likely have some sort of belief in Kendall Marshall in that position.
Ryan McDonough has put the Suns in a great position to build going forward. If Alex Len pans out and becomes what the Suns envision that he can become, he and Eric Bledsoe should become a very good screening combination. Len has the ability to roll to the basket–though he’s a bit shaky around the rim at times–and he also has the ability to pop away from the hoop and hit the midrange jump shot.
Bledsoe will probably tone things down a bit on the defensive end with a huge minutes increase, but he should still be a formidable defender nonetheless. The Suns won’t have to worry about that end of the floor with Bledsoe.
They’ve got two solid pieces going forward and now only need to build more around the two. With Marcin Gortat in the fold, Bledsoe has two decent bigs to play with. I’m positive that this won’t be the end of the deals that we see the Suns make going forward, but it looks like they’re putting together the pieces to develop a pretty decent squad going forward.
Overall, I think we can call this trade one that all sides won initially. We have to wait to see how things mesh on the floor between every player who was moved and we also have to see what the Bucks do with the second round picks that they acquired, but as far as judging the trade right now goes all sides made out alright.