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Pelicans’ Josh Hart tells Eric Bledsoe critics to ‘shut the f**k up’

Pelicans, Josh Hart, Eric Bledsoe

New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart is looking out for one of the team’s elder statesmen.

Hart did not hold back when speaking on criticisms of teammate Eric Bledsoe, saying Bledsoe has the belief and trust of the locker room:

It has been a tough season for Bledsoe in his first campaign with the Pels.

The 31-year-old was traded to New Orleans as part of the Jrue Holiday. Bledsoe has seen a severely diminished role in terms of usage rate while supplying mostly negative value (-0.3 VORP) when on the floor. The trade rumors surely have not made things any easier.

Bledsoe was essentially on the market for months with the Pelicans seeking avenues to possibly give more minutes to rookie Kira Lewis Jr. and fellow youngster Nickeil Alexander-Walker. He was again mentioned in rumors ahead of last week’s deadline, though nothing materialized mostly because it appears teams were unwilling to take on his contract.

But Hart is showing support for his fellow backcourt mate as the Pelicans trudge onward.

For all its struggles this season, New Orleans (21-25) is just 1.5 games out of the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference, which would make the Pels eligible for the play-in bracket. The Pelicans are also 2.0 games back of the ninth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies and 3.0 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 8 spot.

The Pelicans desperately need Bledsoe to be a more efficient contributor. At his best, Bledsoe can get to the tin and make plays off the bounce while supplying decent shooting. New Orleans also needs him to lock in and show the kind of defensive versatility Hart has displayed when he has been on the floor.

This season has perhaps not gone quite as expected for the Pels, but Hart is protecting one of their own as New Orleans makes one last playoff push.