SAN ANTONIO — Recently acquired point guard Eric Bledsoe participated Friday morning in his first shootaround with the Milwaukee Bucks, and coach Jason Kidd plans to plug the new addition into the starting lineup against the San Antonio Spurs.
Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, who has started all nine of Milwaukee’s games this season, will instead come off the bench, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“For his first day of shootaround, you could see the dynamic of his speed, something that we don’t have at that position,” Kidd said. “So we’ll find out here quickly. It’s going to take some time for him to understand his teammates and understand the defensive and offensive schemes.
“But he’s a pro. He’s a very smart young man. He can help us. He’s going to start [Friday]. We’re going to start him and start that relationship with the starting group.”
Kidd did not reveal how he would rotate playing time between Bledsoe and Brogdon, who is averaging 16.2 points and 4.9 assists this season after making 28 starts as a rookie.
Acquired by the Bucks through a trade with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, Bledsoe joined Milwaukee in San Antonio on Thursday but was unable to practice because his new team hadn’t yet received confirmation the trade was finalized by center Greg Monroe passing his physical.
So Bledsoe couldn’t join his new teammates on the floor until Friday’s morning shootaround. The new Bucks point guard said he worked with “different lineups and in different situations,” adding that “I’ve got an easy job” as a facilitator for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
“It feels good, man. It’s been almost three weeks that I haven’t been on the court playing,” Bledsoe said. “I was working out, but it’s not the same as playing with the physicality and the level of competition, playing against people. It feels good to get back from that aspect. It’s a comfort zone for me. I love the game. I grew up playing it. So nothing has changed.”
Kidd said the staff’s plan initially is to limit Bledsoe’s minutes against the Spurs.
“They’ve talked about 20 minutes, and so we’ll see as it approaches how he feels,” Kidd said. “It’s not like he’s coming off an injury. It’s he hasn’t played. So we don’t want to throw him out there and have him play 35 minutes.”
Bledsoe hasn’t played since the Suns’ 130-88 loss to the Clippers on Oct. 21, in which he logged 24 minutes and finished with four points on 1-of-4 shooting. Two days later, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough sent Bledsoe home after the point guard tweeted “I don’t wanna be here” just hours before the firing of coach Earl Watson.
Of his time in Phoenix, Bledsoe said only that “it was definitely challenging playing with a team full of great young players,” before turning his attention to the Spurs.
“I feel great, man. You know it’s going to always be a hard-fought game in San Antonio, where it comes down always to that last couple of minutes,” Bledsoe said. “They’re going to take care of the ball, so you just have to stay positive and stay together, especially in this type of environment. This is a big learning situation. But for the most part, we’ve got a lot of talent on this team. So that will take care of itself.”