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Eric Bledose’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Here’ Tweet Put Him In The Best Situation In Milwaukee

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Everybody reaches a point where they hate their job. It doesn’t matter if it’s their dream job, or just some 9-5 they took on to make sure they could pay the bills. It’s just the nature of work. There are things we don’t like about all of our jobs. For Eric Bledsoe, it was playing for a team that very clearly didn’t care about where it was.

Merely three games into the 2017-18 season, Bledsoe and the Suns were fed up with everything. The Suns fired head coach Earl Watson and the team as a whole was playing with a disdain that is usually reserved for February and March, not October. It all came to a head when Bledsoe sent out a now infamous tweet. It was short, sweet, and to the point. He still hasn’t deleted it and I hope he never does.

“I Dont wanna be here” is maybe the most modern trade demand ever made. This was ‘Michael Jordan using a fax machine to announce his return from retirement ‘levels of using technology to announce a basketball decision. Please print this tweet and post it in the Hall of Fame someday.

It also set a tone for the season to come for the Suns. But first, they had to handle the problem. Bledsoe was clearly unhappy and his level of play on the court was going to reflect that. There was no convincing Bledsoe to stay around and work through it. Even a more stable organization that hadn’t just fired its coach would have a hard time convincing someone to stay after they just made a trade demand via Twitter. So it’s not a surprise that after this tweet Bledsoe never played another game for Phoenix.

As the Suns sought out a trade partner for their disgruntled guard it really summed up how the last few seasons had gone for them as a franchise. Bledsoe was their big cornerstone free agent acquisition in 2014. They signed him to a five-year $70 million contract with intentions of making him one of the faces of their new direction. A direction that completely and utterly failed. Not only was Phoenix never able to make the playoffs, but every main piece it signed eventually ran out of town screaming. Players like Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, and the Morris twins all left the Suns happier to be anywhere besides Phoenix.

The season didn’t get much better for the Suns after Bledsoe’s trade demand. It’s not surprising to see young rosters like Phoenix struggle, but take away any sense of direction for the franchise and it’s unsurprisingly a disaster. The 2017-18 Suns weren’t just bad — they were historically awful. Phoenix was the first team since the seven-win Bobcats to finish dead last in offensive rating, defensive rating, and net rating. They couldn’t score. They couldn’t stop anybody. All of their losses were by ridiculous margins. Maybe it was just dumb luck, or Bledsoe might have seen all of this coming, but in hindsight, it’s a shock it took him a full three games to force his way out. He should have been asking out before the season even started.

Eventually, the Suns found a trade destination in the Milwaukee Bucks. The almost just as dysfunctional, but not quite, franchise was seeking out a defensive point guard that they could pair next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Initially, this felt like Milwaukee just trying to add on talent to a roster that needed it. What the Bucks have found is the perfect situation for a guard like Bledsoe to thrive in. it took a while to get there and wasn’t always pretty, but the early results this season are promising. It wasn’t always like that.

The Bucks were a mess last season. Even after the Bledsoe trade it was very clear the talent on their roster wasn’t being used properly by then head coach Jason Kidd. The Bucks defense was overly aggressive and easy to attack by just swinging the ball around a bit. They would trap and blitz every screen while closing out unnecessarily hard on shooters. The way to beat the Kidd defense was simple. Set a screen and then swing the ball from left to right until someone over pursued, kick to the open man in the corner and shoot the open shot, or pass down low to the open cutter. Rinse repeat over and over again. To nobody’s surprise, the Bucks fired Kidd in the middle of the season and then just kinda went through the motions until they made the playoffs.

At the end of last season, the Bucks and Suns weren’t in the exact same situation but there were similarities. They both had talented rosters and were in need of a new head coach. There were questions about management up top, with the Bucks recently losing longtime GM John Hammond to the Orlando Magic, but the potential was obviously there. The Bucks were in a slightly better place thanks to budding superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they had to make the right coaching hire to go with him.

In that same sense, the Suns roster was in need of someone to coach up a young team. They were inexperienced, generally clueless on what to do, and one of the league leaders in technical fouls due to a false sense of pride and bravado. The roster needed someone to coach them up and teach them how the NBA worked. is filled to the brim with lottery talent. Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, and they just recently added Deandre Ayton plus Mikal Bridges to the mix. This is a roster that should eventually see progress.

The Suns would go on to hire Igor Kokoškov, a highly regarded assistant for the Jazz. The Bucks hired Mike Budenholzer. These are both perfect hires. Kokoškov is going to demand respect from his players and they’re going to play hard under him. He’ll get the most out of his young talent and the Suns, as long as they’re patient, will eventually see positive results. Meanwhile, the Bucks have modernized themselves. The defense isn’t an overly aggressive mess and the offense has created so much space that it’s allowing players like Bledsoe and Antetokounmpo to thrive.

Bledsoe, in particular, is the big winner in all of this. He’s not just important to the Bucks. He’s outright necessary. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands, which allows players like Antetokounmpo to handle it, but he can still create for others. He’s a defensive force that can switch and handle his own against bigger players. Of course, nobody really wants to switch with him, because if they do that likely means they have Antetokounmpo or Khris Middleton on them instead. It’s still early, but according to NBA.com, the Bucks are 14 points per 100 possessions better on offense with Bledsoe on the floor. The new spacing a Budenholzer offense has created is paying off dividends for Bledsoe.

In a way, the Bledsoe trade has also paid off for the Suns. They were able to abandon a previous core that failed and move towards a youth movement. At least, that’s what it should have been. Anybody that looks at Phoenix believes this is a team that is better off playing the long game and developing its assets. The problem is Suns owner Robert Sarver doesn’t quite feel the same. All offseason, the Suns made moves for a team that wants to win now and maybe even make a push for the playoffs. They signed Trevor Ariza to a one-year $15 million contract. They traded away one of their lottery talents, Marquesse Chriss, for an expensive veteran stretch big man in Ryan Anderson. One week before the season started, General Manager Ryan McDonough was fired, and the rumored reasoning was because he couldn’t trade for a true point guard before the season started. Once again, dysfunction and brash decision making is plaguing the Suns. One year ago it cost them Bledsoe.

While Bledsoe thrives in Milwaukee the Suns are trying to move past their own demons. There is so much potential talent on that roster and it just lacks the organizational structure needed to let it thrive. Good coaching on the part of Kokoškov may be able to overcome it, but eventually, it’s going to bite them again. Bledsoe was right to get out when he did. The Bucks are expected to compete for the Eastern Conference this season. They’re a popular dark horse option and Antetokounmpo is a popular darkhorse MVP candidate. Of all situations Bledsoe could have ended up in, this is the best possible spot for him. He definitely wants to be here this time.

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