Eric Bledsoe Would Be Perfect Addition for Orlando Magic's Rebuilding Effort

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2013

Apr 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe (12) brings the ball up court during game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. Memphis won 104-83. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Bledsoe appears to be on the trading block, which means that the Orlando Magic should act fast to acquire the young point guard.

The 23-year-old player has been a backup for Chris Paul for the past couple seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. With the organization confident in re-signing the All-Star free agent, Bledsoe has recently been the subject of trade talks around the league.

According to a report by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Marc Stein and Chad Ford, the Magic are in discussions for a trade that would bring the young player to Orlando for shooting guard Arron Afflalo.

While the report also states that Andrew Nicholson and a future first-round pick could be part of the deal, it would be worth it for the Magic to complete this deal.

Only a few years after being legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference, Orlando finished with the worst record in the NBA. The team had one of the worst offenses in basketball and are clearly a long way from contention.

As a result, the organization must work on rebuilding, starting with the backcourt.

The combination of Afflalo and Jameer Nelson was decent this season, although it is not enough to win. More importantly, both players will be on the decline by the time the team is ready to compete for a title.

This means that the club must find a way to acquire an elite point guard and shooting guard for the future to pair with the solid young core of frontcourt players.

With the No. 2 pick in the draft, Orlando has an option to take either Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo to fill the long-term hole at shooting guard, leaving the point guard position as the biggest spot of need.

That is where Bledsoe comes in after a fantastic year with the Clippers. The young player averaged 8.5 points, 3.1 assists and three rebounds per game this season in limited minutes while backing up Paul.

When he was able to start for Los Angeles, he increased his production to an impressive average of 14.2 points, 5.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds to go with 2.5 steals per game. He also displayed a great deal of quickness and athleticism every time he touched the ball.

Bledsoe might not have a large sample size in his three years in the league, but he has proven that he can be a quality starter and would be able to seriously improve the Magic right away. This is something that should be worked to completion immediately.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel agreed with the sentiment:

Of course, Bledsoe can also help in another key area for the Magic besides just on the court. He can bring a level of excitement to the fanbase that has been missing since Dwight Howard left.

According to ESPN, Orlando saw a huge drop in attendance this past season after being one of the biggest draws in the league for a number of years.

In the 2012-13 season, the team sold only 93.4 percent of tickets. A year earlier, the arena was filled on average to 102.1 percent of capacity. 

While Afflalo is a talented player who can defend and make threes, he is not the type of person who can draw fans. Conversely, Bledsoe was in the dunk contest last year and can bring people to their feet with plays like this:

Pairing him alongside another big-time player like McLemore will bring the crowd back to the Amway Center.

It makes sense for Orlando to be skeptical about giving up a player like Afflalo and maybe more. He is still relatively young at 27 years old, and he has shown the consistency necessary to help a good team.

However, a bad team in the NBA needs to take risks to get better. This is one that has a very good chance of paying off and could bring the Magic back to the playoffs in a hurry.

The squad needs to do whatever it takes to complete this trade so it can expedite the rebuilding process.


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