30 NBA players that got better after leaving their first team

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Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /

30 NBA players who got better after leaving their first team: 29. Eric Bledsoe

There was always hype around Eric Bledsoe. He was a top recruit coming out of high school and joined a storied recruiting class at the University of Kentucky that included John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Darnell Dodson, Jon Hood and Daniel Orton. Four of them would be first-round picks in the 2010 draft after a single season in college, including Bledsoe who was drafted 18th overall by the LA Clippers.

Bledsoe would see minimal minutes in three seasons with the Clippers, backing up Chris Paul. After three seasons he was traded to the Phoenix Suns, ready to get his shot as a starter. The change was immediately drastic. He went from averaging 8.5 points, 3.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals to 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. He would begin a six-season streak of averaging at least 15 points per game but would eventually be traded to the Milwaukee Bucks where he would make a First and Second team All-Defense.

Bledsoe is one of the few members of this list to not be named to an All-Star game but he showed during his time with the Bucks that he could be an essential part of a team contending for an NBA Championship. While he was often made the scapegoat in their losses, he was every bit as important to their regular-season successes. He has ended his tenures in Phoenix and Milwaukee in regrettable fashions but that does not change the clear leap he made when he was out of the shadow of one of the all-time greats.