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Who is our Core?

The goal eventually SHOULD be to win a ring eventually, and the best shot at doing just that would be to begin planning a team of the future.  As of right now, we cannot win a championship with what we have by any means.  To do this, we must aim to collect a group of guys that are relatively still in their prime to make a legitimate run.  The first step is not trading all of your assets and picks away, but it is to obtain value from what you have now, and translate that into youth and talent.  Our flaw in this theory though, is the fact that we have no pieces to build a team around so we might as well be starting from scratch.

Robin Lopez (22):  I understand the league is thin on size and length, but with his injury record and lack of upside, it is pretty safe to say he is a bust, and not a piece we should plan for the future.  Though he is only 22 at the moment, how much better can he really get?  I feel as though he will become a smaller version of Big Z now, and way too soon.

Gani Lawal (22):  I truly believe Gani can be groomed into a good role player for the team, but definitely not a center piece.  Anything is still too early to predict with him though, so only time will tell.

Garret Siler (24):  The big fella really needs to start making strides in any direction, but let's face it, he probably won't be seen in a suns uniform next year.

Goran Dragic (24): In the kind of league today, is Goran really the kind of point guard you want to build your team around?  I know we've invested a lot of time already in this guy, but he seems to be only streaky at best, which is reminiscent of a young Beno, and I truly believe that is his ceiling.  The most worrisome note, is the fact that we have no other projects behind him as a fall back or even somebody to challenge his position.

Jared Dudley (25): Last year I would be quick to say Jared Dudley is pretty dispensable as well, but his improvements on the offensive end show that he is not done working and is ready and willing to move forward with himself and the team.  He is definitely a role player to keep around.

Marcin Gortat (26): Role Player.

Josh Childress (27): Expensive role player.

Channing Frye (27): Role Player.

Mikael Pietrus (28): Role Player

Hakim Warrick (28): Typically, guys like Hakim are the guys the league would move forward with in team building, but Hakim is already at the age where he may not be ready to make major changes physically and mentally to make himself a dominant player in the league.

Vince Carter (33): Even if Vince takes a sip of the Phoenix fountain of youth, where will it take us?  Vince cannot single-handedly take us to an NBA finals, not with this supporting cast.

The Captains
These are probably the most untouchable guys on the rotation.  Not just because of their continued high level of play, but also because of what they mean to the team and its facade.  They have honestly become the face of the franchise, and the fans would be able to stomach the moving of any other player better than these two.  Their greatest value also lies behind the scenes because they offer the highest level of IQ to pass onto any young players we can get.

Steve Nash (36): Obvious age considerations, and the league is becoming a point guard elite league so the older he gets, the less likely we will see a deep post season

Grant Hill (38): Still playing at a high level despite the age, but how much longer can he keep this up?

My point is, we have a team of role players, and expiring stars.  This equation does not equal a ring, and our next step should not be trading away picks we have, or selling them on draft day, but the real step is to use them and try to polish some gems out of them.  Sure we will have some depressing seasons, but ideally, within the next two drafts, we can groom 2-3 decent players that hopefully can become franchise players because we are definitely lacking in that category.  I am not asking for a once in a generation talented player a la KD, LBJ, DWade, or Kobe, but just a well groomed cast that we can believe in like the Hawks, Pacers, Clippers, Kings, Wolves, and even Portland.  These teams have some good stars, but the most important thing is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for them, and it's their choice if they want to close the gate.  The light at the end of our tunnel right now shows a silhouette of Goran Dragic and Robin Lopez, which is a frightening image.

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