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Rondo Back, But Celtics Lose: Thoughts on the NBA for 1/18/14

Rajon Rondo returned last night, and it was awesome. He only played about 20 minutes, and had just 8 points and 4 assists, but it was fantastic to see him back out on the court. There was definitely

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Suns Star Bledsoe Out With Sprained Knee

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Bledsoe has been the Phoenix Suns’ catalyst this season, leading them to a surprising record of 19-12. Now, however, Phoenix will have to survive the next week, at least, without their young budding star.

 

 

The 24-year-old guard will be forced to sit out the next week with a sprained right knee. Bledsoe was scratched from his team’s matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday due to the same injury, an issue that bothered him in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. He scored seven points, shooting 3-of-10 from the field in 31 minutes, helping the Suns pick up the victory.

If he sits out just one week, he will miss four games – against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday and the first three contests of a five-game road trip – Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Friday at Memphis.

Without Bledsoe on the court this season, the Suns are 3-4. Gerald Green will most likely be his replacement in the starting lineup, alongside Goran Dragic.

In 24 games, Bledsoe is averaging career-highs of 18 points, 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds in over 33 minutes per contest.

 

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Suns Are Open to Trading Draft Picks, Seeking Star Player

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns want to win, and want to win now. The team is looking to acquire an impact player this season to propel them to the next level, and is willing to give up one or more draft picks to do so.

As Scott Howard-Cooper points out, the Suns are exceeding expectations thus far into the season and are 13-9, currently riding a four-game win streak.

Players such as Eric Bledsoe and Miles Plumlee have improved tremendously from just one season ago. Both are averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and field goal percentage. Bledsoe, the 24-year-old guard is putting up near All-Star-like numbers (19.2/6.3/3.4 on 49.3 percent shooting) and is showing signs of becoming one of the next great players in the league.

Despite the talent that will be heading into June’s draft, the Suns might have four first-round picks and are willing to exchange a couple of them for a player who would, once again, make Phoenix a playoff regular.

“I think one of the things that’s important for people to realize is that we may not draft four players even if we have four picks,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told NBA.com. “Our preference would probably be to maybe package a few of them. We’re obviously all looking for stars and we feel like we can put together a package as good, if not better, than any other team in the league if and when a star becomes available. That’s kind of generally what we’ve wanted to do, not only with our draft-pick situation but also with the cap space that we’ve acquired.”

Not only do the Suns have their own 2014 first-round pick, but have the possibilities to gain up to three more. The Minnesota Timberwolves owe them a first-round pick that is protected up to the first 13 selections, the Washington Wizards will be forced to give up a top-12-protected first-rounder and the Indiana Pacers must hand over their lottery-protected first-round pick as well.

The news gets even better for Phoenix. In 2015, the Los Angeles Lakers will surrender their first-round pick to the Suns, as long as it is not a top-five pick.

It is certainly nice to have multiple picks in drafts and have the ability to select players that will hopefully help the franchise, but the possibility to pair Bledsoe up with an already proven star just might be too good of an opportunity for the Suns to pass up.