Its summer again and we are all here expecting something great despite the fact that we are expected to be a middle of the pack team because of the loss of “you know who”. Judging from the outcome of last season, the Suns should never be underestimated as long as the team has Steve Nash, Alvin Gentry and the pack of dedicated players, but can the 2010-11 Suns be as good as the 2009-10 Suns? Can the team be better? As a fan, I hope yes (key word HOPE).
This post is aimed at highlighting the possible high and low points of the new Suns team. I’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the team by looking at its players. Of course, I’ll be giving possible solution(s). What will be the point talking about the problems if I won’t give possible solutions?
Might I say that “if you are still sitting down, you are on a long thing”…
Let’s kick off with the players; this is highlighting the players in terms of Defence, Rebounding, Scoring (including the players’ offensive options i.e. post, mid and long range shooting, setting up others etc), value/importance as well as hopes for the future. This is my list in descending order;
Goran Dragic PG:
I believe we all know that this guy (I can’t call him a kid as we are around the same age) is our future, he can damn well score (ask the Spurs), he can assist (not a Nash though), defends well and as the summer is showing he can be a good rebounder as well. As for his potentials, I think he has a pretty good ceiling, while as regards his value, I know the Suns won’t trade him. Give him minutes and he’ll do wonders (as long has he has the confidence)
Steve Nash PG:
Yeah, I made him second. He is my favourite player in the league, (in my opinion) the best set up artist, leader and shooter in history (with an array of shooting options and skill-sets), but his general defence and considering the fact that he is 36 has got to drop his points a bit.
Grant Hill SF:
This is an all round player with no specific flaw except his age (37). He might not be the best at anything but he is about the best defender on the team after Jared Dudley and newly acquired Josh Childress.
Robin Lopez C:
He is our starting C for a reason. The best (only) defender in our front court, not bad in his rebounding (show me Cs that grab a lot of Rs not named Dwight Howard) and can score when he needs to (ask the Clippers). He is pretty young and has a high ceiling (though his injury situation is a thing to worry about).
Josh Childress SG:
Why is he even this high on this list? Isn’t he a new player? Blah blah blah… Well as we expect, he has taking over as our new D guy (more on him later).
Jason Richardson SG:
Presently our best scorer, a good rebounder and fair defender, JRich showed last playoffs that he can deliver when called upon to do so. As for potentials, I think he has hit his ceiling and is at his peak. Also, he is on an expiring 14.4mil contract which makes him valuable.
Jared Dudley SF/SG:
In my opinion our second best defender (formerly number one). A good shooter (especially from deep) and rebounds pretty well.
Hedo Turkoglu SF/SG/PG (not a PF):
I think his analysis has been made over and over again this summer, but if I may say, a good offensive guy who is a clutch shooter (very important), good ball handler and that’s about it the only player whose defence is worse than Nash’s (I didn’t think such a player existed), I think Nash is even a better rebounder.
Channing Frye C/PF:
Another one-dimensional player (at least that’s what everybody says), IMO, he is a fairly good rebounder and shot blocker and can be better defensively (as long as it is not in the paint).
Hakim Warrick PF:
Well, I don’t know jack about him other than his stats, a good guy for attacking the basket and fairly good rebounder (4-5 RPG).
Gani Lawal PF:
I think this is our replacement for Lou. A good hustle guy, a good rebounder as well and his offence is better than Lou’s not to mention better hands.
Matt Janning (not sure if we want him as an SG or a 6’5” PG):
Nothing to say
Earl Clark SF/PF:
Yes sue me; he is last, a player with tons of potentials but no desire whatsoever. May be if he develops some heart, he will jump higher.
As you can see from above, our starting line up (Nash-JRich-Hill-Turk-RoLo) has only 2 good defenders and I really don’t think they will be enough to cover up for the other guys. As regards Rebounding, we had to use gang rebounding last season to cover for that, but replacing Amare (9 RPG) with Hedo (4 RPG) doesn’t help our course. So, as everyone has been saying, we need a better PF (a defensive minded PF who rebounds pretty well). This Suns team don’t need any more Offence; personally I think our offence is good enough, but our D… I am a fan of good offence, but the truth is “Good offence wins games, good defence wins Championships”.
Good defensive schemes will help in that area, but having such schemes alongside good defenders will create a good defensive team. Right now, the team has the pieces to be good defensively in every area of the game except at the “4”. Hedo doesn’t even understand what D means and Warrick is really about average. My take, get a good PF.
The whole plan here is to get someone whose job is basically to rebound well, defend the post and block shots, in other words, a BIG BODY. This helps the Suns move Hedo and his large unmovable (for 2 more seasons) contract to the 3 where he really belongs, if he mutates and end up being a good defender/ rebounder, then good for the Suns (as Gentry said, you can’t have too much size in the league).
Guys have mentioned Varejao, Horford and Josh Smith (I think Alex), but as regards Smith, reports put him as an average rebounder, above average (not great) defender but a good shot blocker (we’ll need JRich to get him if at all we can). Horford is really good defensively (but there is no way we get him). That leaves Varejao, his offense scares me a lot, but if he is out there, it wouldn’t hurt the Suns to have him.
A defensive minded PF/C would be a good addition to the Suns but I really don’t see the Suns getting him before at trade deadline as he is a young big man who is still on his rookie contract (for the next season), besides, he is to the Hawk as Dragic or Lopez (don’t even think about Clark, if the Suns need him to get Horford, I don’t think they will think twice about it) is to the team. Apart from that, the Suns don’t seem to even have anything to offer for him if he was available (unless the Hawks go under hypnosis and want the TPE+ 2012 first round pick for him). Well, if you have any reasonable idea of how the Suns can get him, then put it in a comment, of course if it include trading either or both of Lopez and Dragic, then don’t even post it as that counts as UNREASONABLE. Clark + Dudley + first round pick might be possible though not likely (I don’t think I want Dudley gone).
IMO he is not really that menacing defender I believe the Suns need, but it wouldn’t hurt the Suns to have him. To get him, the Suns will have to give up JRich.
This is the most likely guy amongst the aforementioned for the Suns to get (though it is gonna be difficult to get him). The TPE is not enough to get him, so they can take Warrick + Lou (say 2.5mil) + first round pick for him.
Josh Smith + Varejao
This is really a crazy trade idea (probably the craziest this summer), but just wait and let me explain. Alex (I believe) posted on the Horford-hawks-Smith situation in the offseason of 2011. Also, it appears the Cavs will be rebuilding (Losing LeBron, Shaq and Big Z and not getting anyone to replace them), hence they should be looking to get rid of his contract (I think they don’t want to put it out there yet so as not to seem desperate like the Suns did with Shaq last year). So, a three team- two trade between the Suns- Cavs and Suns-Hawks;
Suns get Josh Smith and Varejao
Hawks get Jason Richardson
Cavs get Lou and Warrick
The trades will give the Suns such a line up;
C: Lopez/Frye/Dwayne Jones (the Suns will need to steal him back for insurance)
With any of the three trades in the poll, the Suns get to address the issue of a big man in the starting 5. My favourite is option two where the Suns get to nab a good defender who could also cover up at the 5 in case of injury or foul troubles without losing the guy projected to be the leading scorer. For this option though, i will prefer JChill playing more with the first team so that he can cover for Nash and Turk.
Now, you can start with the bashing commenting.