The season is just around the corner and we have a few things to be happy about, first and foremost that our team has some serious depth. Not only that we are deep in the right places instead of just at our wings. We are stacked from the point guard position to the center and this is the main reason I am optimistic for our chances this season. What we face coming up is a grueling 66 game condensed season with more then one time of back to back to back games and the only way anyone in this league is going to make it through it in tact is by going to their bench.
Remember the 2010 western conference finals? Of course you do, that team was the last time we had a serious bench presence, with an entire second lineup that could have been a starting line up on most other teams, we really could punish teams with our intensity. Luckily that is exactly what we have this year as well, minus the extremely talented power forward in Amare Stoudemire.
Join me after the jump.
Here is my idea of the Phoenix Suns depth chart.
What I like about this lineup is that we have two backups for Steve Nash one in Ronnie Price who can seriously defend and attack the hole dishing to teammates, the other one is Sebastian Telfair, who is rough around the edges, but has an large upside. He can also see the floor very well and his ability to lead a team may be a step ahead of Price. That being said he is only an average defender, maybe a small improvement over Aaron Brooks.
At shooting guard we have two up in coming starting shooting guards, Shannon Brown, who last year really started showcasing that he was more then just a human highlight reel. I see huge potential in his scoring ability and he seems to really want to prove to people that he can be a great scorer in this league, he will thrive under Steve Nash. Then we have Jared Dudley who, lets be honest, has proven more then enough that he is not only a great team player, but willing to add another side to his game. I think we can rest assured that we will see a player that can create his own shot as well as hustle to the loose balls like he has always done. We also have a third choice if necessary at the 2 guard, Grant Hill. Now this is technically playing out of position I think he has proven that he can play the 2 guard all the way to the 4 if necessary.
At the 3 we have good old Grant Hill who with his defensive ability and continuing athletic ability still have the ability to get to the basket and score with the best of them. His defense on the Kobe’s and Wade’s of the world will continue to show why he was one of the best prospects in this free agency. Thank you Robert for forking over the cash! Behind him we have a talented if underused Josh Childress, last year he rarely played bad minutes for us, unless he was jacking up one of his 17 threes last season, and he was constantly battling for boards and hustle plays. We are lucky to have a player of this caliber on our team, and he will prove to all the disbelievers this season that he can ball with the best of them. Now the third small forward is where this gets interesting. Hakim Warrick has played some quality minutes for us at the 4, however there were too many times where he was outmuscled and outmatched there as well. While I am not suggesting that we put him at the 3 regularly I do think that he could flourish playing against some smaller players. Try to image his length and the ability to put three guys over 6’ 9" at the 3, 4, and 5. Also he seems to have added a solid mid range shot, now I wont believe it until I see it in the season, but if he has, the 3 may be the spot we have been searching for.
At the power forward position we have two players that stretch the floor. This is where our game will center around for our offense. Having the ability to leave the paint wide open with Steve Nash running the show was one of the major reasons that Amare was able to dominate so easily. Now that we have Gortat we can continue to take advantage of that. Markieff Morris brings very much the same to the table except with an added ability to rebound the basketball with the best of them. What we have heard is that Channing has also added some post moves along with some new rebounding prowess so hopefully that turns out to be true. If we do in fact get what we have been hoping then we can look forward to having one of the most interesting power forward positions in the league.
At center, though, is where I am really excited. Seeing Gortat in his second season with the Suns is the one thing I am most anticipated, I am trying to keep my expectations realistic so I am only hoping for 15ppg 10rpg. If we can get that kind of production out of the big man, we can move our sights to the bench where we have a reinvigorated 7 footer waiting to prove his isn’t a floppy, un-athletic shadow of his brother. Robin Lopez is the one player on the team that I have a really optimistic feeling about, I do think that he is back to his old self, maybe better. Only time will tell. If we can get a solid 10ppg 7rpg then we have a combined 25 and 17 and that is a great front court.