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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers' Eric Bledsoe learning to be a true NBA point guard

The third-year player, who did not play point guard in college, watches film with assistant coach Robert Pack and veteran Chauncey Billups and is mentored by Billups and Chris Paul.

November 15, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe protects the ball from Blazers point guard Ronnie Price during a game last week in Portland.
Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe protects the ball from Blazers point… (Don Ryan / Associated Press )

The Clippers had just finished another practice when Eric Bledsoe pulled up a chair and sat down next to assistant coach Robert Pack.

Then Chauncey Billups walked off the court and pulled up a chair next to Bledsoe and Pack, and thus began another film session for Bledsoe.

It now has become the norm for the 22-year-old Bledsoe, who is tutored by Pack and Billups in the ways of becoming a true NBA point guard.

"Before, it was, 'Hey, let's watch the film?' Now it's him saying, 'Coach, let's watch film,'" Pack said."You love to see and watch his development. I'm just excited with the progress that he's made. It's the mental part of the game as well as his skills. It's great to see."

The 6-foot-1 Bledsoe is in his third season with the Clippers and says he still has a lot to learn.

But the film sessions have helped, Bledsoe said, because two elite point guards are serving as his mentors, Billups and Chris Paul.

"I've learned a lot, especially being patient with a lot of stuff instead of just going all out full speed," Bledsoe said. "It's been great. I just try to come in and get our team going a little bit so we can get the win."

It has helped Bledsoe even more because Billups and Paul are willing teachers.

"They constantly stay in my ear, especially about my turnovers. Chauncey, he keeps telling me, 'We can have those turnovers as long as they are aggressive.' So, I just try not to worry about that so much and just play the game," Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe is having the best season of his short career. He's averaging a career-best 10.6 points per game (sixth-most on the team) and 1.5 steals (second on the team), while averaging 2.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists, and is making 49.3% of his shots.

"It's taking him step by step and getting him acclimated to the game as a point guard and now being an NBA point guard. In college at Kentucky, he didn't play point guard," Pack said.

The Clippers realize that Bledsoe is a gifted athlete with blazing speed. They love the way he plays defense and his hustle, and those skills have made him one of the team's top reserves.

The team understands that he'll get out of control at times and turn the ball over — Bledsoe is averaging 2.13 turnovers per game — but the Clippers are willing to deal with that because he plays so hard all the time.

"Now we've got him to try to play point guard and an NBA point guard, which is a different level because it's one of the toughest positions to play in the league," Pack said. "And you're starting to see the fruits of the labor. He's put in a lot of work and that's a credit to him."

Etc.

The Clippers did not practice Thursday after their win over Miami on Wednesday night.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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