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Phoenix Suns' Eric Bledsoe makes big jump in ESPN's yearly player rankings

Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat, right, pats teammate Eric Bledsoe on the head after Bledsoe fed him a pass for a score during the second half of a preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Two Phoenix Suns have landed in ESPN's list of top 100 players in the NBA heading into the 2013-14 season.

The list, which is put out annually by and its partner network of NBA blogs, places guard Eric Bledsoe at No. 63 and center Marcin Gortat at No. 87.

The jump is significant for Bledsoe; he came in at No. 122 a year earlier. Of course, no longer having to play behind Chris Paul in Los Angeles could do that to you. Bledsoe is expected to have a breakout season with his new team. He has a chance to become the team's star player, as evidenced by already being ranked higher than any other Sun.

Gortat fell 30 spots from where he was ranked a year earlier. He saw a dip in points after no longer having Steve Nash to run the pick-and-roll with him; he also missed the last two months of the season. Combine those factors with the fact he could be the subject of trade rumors and have the No. 5 pick of the draft, Alex Len, vying for playing time this season, and the Polish Hammer's standing in the league isn't as esteemed as it once was. Ironically, Gortat came in one spot ahead of Nash in this year's rankings.

Suns guard Goran Dragic fell out of the top 100 this year, coming in at No. 107; he was No. 83 heading into the 2012-13 season. Although he was one of the team's only bright spots in a year that saw them go 25-57, he seems to have fallen in the rankings largely due to the Suns' acquisition of Bledsoe, who may share point guard duties with him this season.

About the Author

School: ASU

Started with Bonneville Phoenix: June 2013

Moved to Arizona: Summer of '93 -- right after Suns' run to the Finals

Favorite sports memory: Staying up late to watch Jake Plummer and ASU shut out top-ranked Nebraska in '96

Favorite all-time athletes: Ben Wallace, Wayman Tisdale, Pat Tillman

Favorite sports movies: Field of Dreams, White Men Can't Jump, Happy Gilmore


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