Fantasy Basketball Breakdown of the Eric Bledsoe Trade

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It was only a matter of time before Eric Bledsoe was dealt after making his displeasure with the Phoenix Suns organization public earlier this season in a hair salon tweet. After becoming disgruntled with the organization during last seasons second half tank mode, it should be a breathe of fresh air for everyone involved in this deal, including Bledsoe fantasy owners.

Let’s face it, Bledsoe wasn’t doing any good on your bench, so a move anywhere is a welcome sight for sore eyes. But the Bucks? Yes. The Bucks were one of the more obvious suitors for Bledsoe, as they have been relying on the play-making skills of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Besides the rookie year of Brandon Jennings, the Bucks haven’t had a dynamic, all-around point guard since the Sam Cassell years.

Let’s do a quick breakdown of the fantasy implications of this deal as the dust settles.

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Fantasy Basketball Breakdown of the Eric Bledsoe Trade

Let's be honest here, the Suns received very little in return for Eric Bledsoe, who they've been playing without for the past two weeks—so the real question here is, what does this trade mean for a group of young and versatile Bucks players?

Bledsoe has split time with other ballhandlers in the past, so there is no reason to suspect Antetokounmpo to take a back seat from his point forward role, or that Bledsoe will regress much. He is a capable offensive player who can play off the ball. While he likely won’t be approaching the numbers he achieved last year—21.1 points, 6.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game—there’s no reason to believe he will fall off too much from those marks. Perhaps he will put up closer to 17 points and 4.5 assists per game, which still makes for a solid fantasy option. The real potential for Bledsoe owners in this trade is in his defensive stats. Coach Jason Kidd preaches defensive hustle and expects his players to grind it out on the defensive side of the ball, game in and game out. If Bledsoe is able to see a slight uptick in his defensive stats, he will recover his slight diminishing offensive value wonderfully.

The fallout for the Bucks stars won’t be alarming, as Bledsoe won’t be taking full control over the offense, and both Antetokounmpo and Middleton are productive fantasy assets across the board. Antekokounmpo was never likely to sustain 31 PPG and Middleton might fall closer to the 16 PPG range than the 19 he is currently putting up. Regardless, they are still highly valuable fantasy commodities, with Antekokounmpo still a top-5 guy.

The real loser in this trade may end up being Malcolm Brogdon. The reigning Rookie of the Year probably won’t see his 33 minutes per game drop as he will start alongside Bledsoe, but his usage rate will likely drop considerably. He will still hit his threes, and with so many options of the floor for the Bucks, may have his fair share of open looks. He is not a drop candidate, but the number four option in an offense isn’t too appealing. Still, if he can hit his shots and grab his boards, he will be able to maintain himself as a top-100 player, it not higher.

A winner for the Bucks, possibly the biggest of all, is John Henson. With Greg Monroe gone and Thon Maker still not playing very well, the job at center is his for the taking. After Monroe went down five games ago, Henson has stepped in and played well in the starting role with 5.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game. That is an across the board fantasy contributor, and though he is an awful free throw shooter, his field goal percentage is currently sitting at .543%. Everyone needs blocks, and at a 30% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues, he is likely available for you to pick up.

 

Now To the Suns

Greg Monroe, once considered the savior signing of the Bucks organization, will finally be able to put a tumultuous few years in the past after ups, downs, and trade rumors. The Suns already have a rising Alex Len and Tyson Chandler at center, so this trade was more about the protected first-round pick than acquiring Monroe. A buyout is possible if they cannot flip Monroe for something of value soon. He is still a solid big man, but not worth picking up in standard leagues until there is more clarity on his situation. Maybe they’ll buyout Chandler instead.

Not much will change for the Suns. Len will continue to grow into his role at center, and Mike James will have to keys to the Suns for the foreseeable future. Both are fringe roster guys who are worth a spot if they can continue to play well. If Tyler Ulis is able to pick up his play this season, he would be worth an add later in the season, so keep an eye on him in case Mike James doesn’t continue to get the job done.

Devin Booker rains buckets and T.J. Warren is living up to his Tony Buckets nickname, so expect them to continue to be the only reliable fantasy options in Phoenix, until Marquese Chriss wakes up from his early season nap.

 

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