© Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Are Bledsoe's emotions the key to Bucks' playoff success?

April 30, 2019 - 5:44 pm

Eric Bledsoe is a passionate basketball player who wears that passion, and his emotions, on his sleeves...at least, if his jersey had sleeves. On occasion, those emotions work against the Milwaukee Bucks point guard.

It was on display earlier this season against the 76ers when he hurled a basketball into Joel Embiid's gut. Bledsoe was consequently ejected.

In the 2018 NBA Playoffs, emotions got the best of Bledsoe when Celtics guard Terry Rozier got the best of him -- a mismatch of mental fortitude, not talent. The Bucks lost that playoff series in seven games. The play of Rozier was a key factor.

Since that series loss, and the arrival of new head coach Mike Budenholzer, Bledsoe has taken steps toward controlling his emotions and nerves on the basketball court. Though an imperfect process, yoga, deep breathing and film study have helped Bledsoe keep his nerves in check and thrive in 2019. As a result, he and the Bucks have found success.

Though nerves and emotions can still creep into Bledsoe's head, his process has helped him a) minimize the impact, and b) lessen the permanence of those nerves and emotions. It begs the question: Is a calm, cool and collected Eric Bledsoe running the point the key that can unlock the promise land for Milwaukee -- the NBA Finals? Malika Andrews explored Bledsoe's journey in her latest for ESPN.