New Orleans Pelicans: Is Garrett Temple this season’s Eric Bledsoe?

Alize Johnson #22 of the Chicago Bulls and Garrett Temple #41 of the New Orleans Pelicans(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Alize Johnson #22 of the Chicago Bulls and Garrett Temple #41 of the New Orleans Pelicans(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

When teams underperform fans often look for someone to blame and if it isn’t the coach, they will find a player. Last season for the New Orleans Pelicans that player was Eric Bledsoe.

It wasn’t just that Bledsoe was bad (he was) but that he often looked checked out and was blocking the minutes of a more-promising player named Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

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Stan Van Gundy stubbornly refused to take Bledsoe out of the starting lineup and so the New Orleans Pelicans suffered a losing season without the benefit of even getting their young players the developmental minutes they needed together.

This is not to say Bledsoe was the primary problem (he wasn’t) but if you are going to be bad anyway, you may as well lean into the youth.

This season it appears that Garrett Temple is going to be the guy who takes the brunt of the blame, as fans have flipped out every time he has come into the game.

Temple has been bad too, but he is not the new Bledsoe, so relax.

New Orleans Pelicans: Garrett Temple is not Eric Bledsoe

First off, Garrett Temple is from Louisiana and actually wants to be in New Orleans, which is something that immediately separates him from Bledsoe, who clearly wanted to be traded to a contending team, not the Pelicans.

Secondly, Temple is not starting, nor is he blocking a young player’s minutes. Temple played a whopping 15 minutes in last night’s loss, and though he wasn’t particularly good, he wasn’t the reason they lost the game, not even close.

I get why fans do this, it’s much easier to blame a guy who you don’t see as a major part of the team than it is to put the blame on the young players who also played poorly but figure to be a part of the long-term plans.

But if you went into a season thinking that Eric Bledsoe or Garrett Temple being good was the key, then your team is clearly not ready to compete.

Was Bledsoe bad last year? Yep. Was he the reason the Pels didn’t make he playoffs? Nope.

The same could be said of Garrett Temple, who was part of a trade and was meant to be a veteran presence off the bench, not a guy who carries the team.

Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to see Bledsoe go, and would like to see less of Garrett Temple, which we will once the team is at full strength.

But Temple isn’t Bledsoe, and neither of them are the reason the New Orleans Pelicans have been bad the last two seasons. It’s easy to focus your energy on a scapegoat, but Temple shouldn’t be that guy, especially before we’ve even seen his role with the team at full strength.

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