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2020-21 Pelicans Season in Review: Eric Bledsoe

  • Age 31
  • Experience Eleven seasons (one with Pelicans)
  • Games Played/Games Started 71/70

When Bledsoe arrived in New Orleans last winter to join his fourth NBA team, it reminded him of what he experienced seven years earlier, after a trade sent him from the Clippers to Phoenix. The 2013-14 Suns were a young and unproven team expected to go through some trials and tribulations, but instead emerged as the league’s biggest surprise story, going 48-34. Bledsoe saw a similarly promising roster in the Crescent City.

“To come down here and rebrand or redo everything, it kind of felt like when I first got to Phoenix, trying to build toward becoming a great team,” Bledsoe said of the Pelicans. “This team definitely has a lot (more) talent than we had (in Phoenix). It’s definitely moving in the right direction.”

Although Bledsoe and many around the NBA agree that New Orleans’ future appears to be bright, the present didn’t meet the combo guard’s hopes, individually or team-wise. During his exit interview with local media, Bledsoe indicated that he wanted to be a more consistent player. New Orleans (31-41) fell three wins shy of qualifying for the Western Conference play-in tournament.

“It was up and down,” he said of his performance. “I’d probably give it a C minus.”

    Eric Bledsoe Key Stats from 2020-21 NBA Season

  • PTS Per Game 12.2
  • REB Per Game 3.4
  • AST Per Game 3.8

Bledsoe’s best stretch came in May, when he authored nine straight games of double-digit scoring, his longest span of the season. Beyond the adjustment to a new city, new teammates and coaching staff, Bledsoe also faced a downshift in his offensive role, taking the team’s fourth-most shots per game (10.3). He acknowledged that each player surrounding Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram will need to focus on how to best complement the All-Star forward duo, as the Pelicans try to reach the postseason for the first time since 2018.

“They were almost getting double- and triple-teamed all season,” Bledsoe said. “That’s the first time ever going through that. And it’s going to happen next year. They know what to expect and they know what to work on this summer. That’s going to help the team out so much more next year.

“Obviously the players around them have to get a lot better, in helping them out in ways so they can successful. What I see is more maturity and going through those tough times, to really see the light at the end (of the tunnel).”

Eric Bledsoe | By The Numbers

  • 7-3

    New Orleans record when Bledsoe made at least four three-pointers, highlighted by wins over Milwaukee, Memphis, Toronto (twice) and Boston. He shot 37 percent from three-point range in 31 Pelicans wins, but 32 percent in 40 defeats.

  • 2,111

    Total minutes played by Bledsoe in 2020-21, making him the team leader by a slim margin over Ingram (2,093) and Williamson (2,026). Bledsoe only missed one game all season and made 70 starts, coming off the bench Jan. 15 at the Lakers.

  • 48

    Career playoff game appearances, including 17 games for the LA Clippers and 31 for Milwaukee. Bledsoe reached the playoffs in consecutive years (2012-13) with the Clips, then three straight years for the Bucks from 2018-20.

Eric Bledsoe | Most Notable Games from 2020-21 NBA Season

  • #1, Jan. 29, New Orleans 131, Milwaukee 126

    The Pelicans were highly competitive in two matchups against Bledsoe’s ex-team, including beating the Bucks in the Smoothie King Center. Bledsoe drained a season-high seven three-pointers against Milwaukee, accounting for the majority of his 25 points.

  • #2, May 9, New Orleans 112, Charlotte 110

    Speaking of season highs, Bledsoe dished out 11 assists – to go with a team-best 24 points – to help beat the Hornets in a near-must-win situation. His playmaking and scoring allowed the Pelicans to rally in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 96-89 deficit.

  • #3, Jan. 2, New Orleans 120, Toronto 116

    One of his three double-doubles, Bledsoe compiled 19 points and 10 assists to lift the Pelicans to a victory over the Raptors. A familiar foe from his Milwaukee tenure, Bledsoe averaged 18.5 points and 8.0 assists in two early-season meetings vs. Toronto.

Sourced from Pelicans

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