Pundits didn't believe it would work. Phoenix Suns Coach Jeff Hornacek knew it would. He knew that starting two speedy point guards in the Suns back court was a genius move, mainly because he and Kevin Johnson were paired as such when they played for Phoenix under fabled Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons. And work it did, when Dragic and Bledsoe were healthy at the same time. In the 37 games they played together last season, the Suns went 24-13, lifting the team to a 48-34 record, more than a 25 percent jump over the season before.
Though the Suns didn't make the playoffs, they certainly would have if Bledsoe hadn't been out for two months following knee surgery. Each player has his strengths; Dragic as a lightning-fast perimeter shooter who, at 6-foot-3, also can dunk on breakaways; Bledsoe is a quick and agile penetrator who weaves to the basket and, at 6-1, can leap to score on big men. Each player's a pesky defender who picks the pockets of even the most sure-handed NBA ball handlers. After his acquisition from the L.A. Clippers, Bledsoe averaged two steals, 18 points, and 5.5 assists per game in his abbreviated season. Dragic averaged 1.5 steals, 20 points, and six assists per contest. A restricted free agent, Bledsoe wants a pay increase to $80 million over five seasons, but the Suns are offering less. If they reach an agreement and the dynamic duo remains intact, we expect the Suns to be a playoff contender for seasons to come.