So the pre-season was not a pretty brand of basketball to watch, well at least for the Suns. They suffered two bad losses at the hands of the run and gun Nuggets, first by 17 and then by a whopping 25. There are positives to take away from these games, and they aren't the things you might expect. First major positive is our rookie Markieff Morris, lets just say the guy can flat out play and he will surely be a fan favorite. In the first game he put up a very good 12 points and 8 rebounds, and while he evenutally fouled out he played a really good all around game. In the second game he really shined in 17 minutes he scored 12 pulled down 7 boards and got 3 blocks and 1 steal. That is a real productive stint on the floor. I expect him to keep this play up, although he needs to keep an eye on his fouls. Shannon Brown played well in the second game shooting 5 for 11 from the field for 14 points. He does have a tendency to jack up shots, but if he is making them then more power to him. We also saw two game from Hakim Warrick where he showcased his much improved mid ranged game, hopefully this isn't just a fleeting skill and he can continue to stretch the floor for our bigs. Robin Lopez seems to be rebounding the ball better and has his bounce back, expect a good season from him.
This seems like all good news, but it isn't, although every big man, but Channing Frye is really settled in we have almost no contribution from our small forward, I expect we may see a shakeup at that position maybe playing Jared Dudley some minutes there to fill in the lack of production when Josh Childress comes in. I am all for the Junkyard Dog getting more minutes, cause that guy is proving to everyone that you don't have to be athletic to be good. In 27 minutes he shot 5 for 6 from the field for 17 points leading the team in scoring. I was actually wondering during the game why they didn't go to the hot hand all game. 6 shots is just not enough for someone shooting that well. His only missed shot all game was from 3.
Out of all the individual performances the key to the second game (which is the game I will be taking most of the analysis from) was not defense, but offense. We shot a putrid 37% from the field 30% from 3 and 62.5% from the free throw line. You simply can't win games that way. Just from the free throw line alone we left 12 free points. This should absolutely worry me and have me thinking doom an gloom for the team, but offense has never been this teams problem and once Channing Frye finds his shot, Nash and Hill don't go a combined 4-17 and Lopez gets comfortable with his new body we will be fine. On defense we got to see a very good game. Ignoring the final score we held them overall to 42% shooting and 27% from 3, we clogged the paint well, got out to the wing shooters and contested almost everything. I have to say having Grant Hill to hustle down the floor and take a charge was almost euphoric to watch. In the first 3 quarters we actually played some lock down D and we were in the game until the end of the 3rd, you know, the usual spot the Suns melt down in games. We held them to under 38% until middle of the 3rd quarter and then it seemed like our effort and their luck went and flipped the switch. This is where we will have to watch in the coming games to see if we can figure out how to lock down the whole game.
Overall I think we need to just put these two blow outs behind us, since the Suns have historically always played terrible in the pre-season, and feel happy that the Suns wont shoot that poorly during the regular season.