Clippers Guard Baffled by Cold Reception in New Orleans

Eric Bledsoe Clippers

Getty LA Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe throws a pass during a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

The LA Clippers‘ November 19 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans was, without question, one of the team’s weakest efforts in recent memory. Ty Lue’s team literally made a bit of Pelicans history with its 26-point second half. Things were even worse, though, for Eric Bledsoe.

Whenever Bledsoe — who appeared in 71 games as a member of the Pels last season — touched the ball, the fans at the Smoothie King Center let him know exactly how they felt about him. Apparently, there’s no love lost there, as the Clippers guard was booed vociferously every time.

The experience left Bledsoe utterly perplexed.

“Oh no, I wasn’t expecting that,” Bledsoe said when asked about his reception. “That was kind of weird to me, but it’s part of the game.”

Bledsoe Wasn’t His Best Self in NOLA

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During the three years before he joined the Pelicans, Bledsoe was one of the Association’s better floor generals and, seemingly, a worthy partner-in-crime for Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, his postseason struggles and the Milwaukee Bucks’ failure to make good on their title potential resulted in his getting dealt to NOLA.

And while he wasn’t a terrible player during his lone campaign with the Pels, he definitely played well below his usual standard.

Bledsoe averaged just 12.2 points per contest last season, which was down from the 14.9 he had put up in Milwaukee in 2019-20. Moreover, his field goal percentage dipped from 47.5% to 42.1%. His rebound and assist numbers dropped, too, despite the fact that he was getting more minutes.

Nevertheless, New Orleans was roughly the same club it had been the previous year when Jrue Holiday was running the show. Specifically, a 30ish-win team waiting on Zion Williamson to carry it to the promised land.

So, Bledsoe’s confusion is probably warranted.

Really, fans in the Big Easy should be thankful that he didn’t send the Pels the same message that the Phoenix Suns received when he may or may not have wanted to leave them.

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Things Have Been Way Worse With the Clippers

If anybody has earned the right to boo Bledsoe, it’s Clippers fans. Although his game looked to have declined when he was suiting up for the Pels, he has been downright bad for most of his early run in Los Angeles.

17 games into his Clippers career, Bledsoe is averaging just 9.9 points per game, his lowest mark since the 2012-13 season. He is also connecting on just 39% of his field-goal attempts and a paltry 22.8% from three-point range.

Consequently, the Clippers have been an incredible 20.1 points per 100 possessions worse when Bledsoe has been on the court. It’s one of the worst net swings in the entire Association. Nevertheless, he has seemingly retained the support of his teammates.

Or, at the least, the one that matters most.

“I don’t think people are understanding how hard it is for someone to come into a new system,” Paul George said earlier this month. “He’s being expected to have a large role and to bring what he’s great at. It’s hard to kind of find yourself, find your way.”


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