As they wind down another lottery-bound season, and as he deals with lingering knee soreness, the Phoenix Suns have shut guard Eric Bledsoe down for the season. Bledsoe was scratched from the lineup Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings, and rookie Tyler Ulis made his first career start.
Ulis delivered nicely against the Kings, with 13 points, 13 assists and two steals over 39 minutes. On Friday night against the Orlando Magic, the Kentucky product followed up with 19 points, eight assists, four rebounds and one steal over 40 minutes of action.
Since the start of March (nine games), in line with increased playing time (26.9 minutes per game), Ulis has averaged 11.6 points, 6.8 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. With Brandon Knight essentially bowing out of the Suns’ lineup on Wednesday night due to apparent back spasms, Ronnie Price looks like the only competition Ulis has for minutes. If you can even call it that.
Ulis’ ownership rate is rising, but still sits at just 24.9 percent in ESPN fantasy leagues. He also carries dual eligibility, at point guard and shooting guard, which obviously adds to his fantasy value.
If Bledsoe is traded by the Suns during the offseason, and barring the use of their high first-round pick on someone like Lonzo Ball, Ulis could be the team’s starting point guard heading into next season. A worst-case scenario in Phoenix would have him coming off the bench behind Bledsoe and a rookie next year, but in that situation Ulis may wind up the one that’s traded this summer.
Ulis is someone to consider adding in keeper fantasy basketball leagues, if only to see how his situation plays out. For the rest of this season, especially for those who are now without Bledsoe’s career-best production, Ulis has become a must-add.