The NBA Pre-requisite for Contention and The Suns Way Forward

For the pre-requisite for contention and how it concerns the Suns in the future, hit the jump.

Wow! my first post in a long time... well, lets get to it

With the Suns Season unofficially over (there is still a mathematical chance which will involve the complete breakdown of the Memphis Grizzlies or/and the New Orleans Hornets), the Suns Coaching Staff and F.O. should already be looking into the future. In my humble opinion, the integration of Jared Dudley and Robin Lopez into the starting lineup is a sign of the fact that the team has already thrown in the towel and is trying to give more time to the guys that will be here next season. With that said, I think a “Bye Bye” is sure for Vince Carter and Probably Robin Lopez. I said probably because I think we should still hold on to him a little longer because of his abilities (besides, athletic 7 footers don’t grow on tree), and the F.O. might just be thinking same.

IMO, the Suns should be returning the following players unless some forms of deal(s) take one or more of them out during the summer.

PG Steve Nash

SG Jared Dudley

SF Grant Hill

PF Channing Frye

C Marcin Gortat

Bench Aaron Brooks, Josh Childress, Mikael Pietrus, Hakim Warrick, Zabian Dowdell, Gareth Siler and Gani Lawal.

After the jump, I’ll pinpoint the other likely guys to not return next season (I believe there will be a 2011/12 NBA season no matter the outcome of the CBA).

NOTE: This is not from any book written by any official NBA analyst but just the opinion of some guy who follows the NBA especially the Phoenix Suns.

Before a team can be considered a considered a contending team, it has to have a reasonable combination of the points below and may be more (I’ll trust you Bright Siders with that).

Scoring: The aim of any team in a game is winning the game, and the one who wins is the one that has the higher points on the scoreboard. That means that there is no way on this earth that a team wins a basketball game without scoring. No matter how good the team is on D, if they don’t score, they don’t win.

Rebounding: When you miss or the opponent miss, you need to grab rebounds to get possession or else you might as well just hand them the ball. The more rebounds you grab, the more possession you get, hence more opportunities.

Defense: This is another thing that helps secure possession by taking it from the opponent.

Star(s)/Superstar(s): Yes, SUPERSTARS. These are like cheat players in video games, they make the game easy for their team. Imagine creating a player a player on NBA 2K11 with every attribute at 99… That makes the game really easy (too easy if u ask me).

Role Players: You can’t have a team made of all round stars (except in video games), especially as they cost so much and there is still that thing called Luxury Tax, and even if a team is willing to go into the Lux, there just isn’t a way to get them (or get them to play together without killing Chemistry).

Bench: This is an unappreciated requirement, but they are those guys that give your starters a breather and replace them when they get injured. The better your bench, the more your chances of maintaining or improving leads.

For our team “Phoenix Suns”, we have a long way to go to attain contention status. To be honest, there is barely any of the aforementioned pre-requisites that we do have locked down except of course the bench which seems good but could be better. Imagine a bench of Brooks, JChill, Dudz, Frye and whoever completes the team (we’ll get there).

The 2010/11 Suns team is a team filled with role players and just 1 or 2 star-like player(s) and since he/they is/are really old, that shows up on the team’s W-L chart. Honestly speaking, a team can do without Superstars and still contend, that is dependent on the abilities of its role players. A team will be rendered useless when its star-ish players are out (physically or mentally) if its role players are not good enough to do their part. If you can remember that the Suns where HORRIBLE when Frye was down simply because there was no one to step up for him (Warrick I felt like punching during this period). The same happened when Gortat was taken out. Every player needs to at least carry his own load and those guys couldn’t even do that not to talk about stepping up. The Suns have only 3 really good role player and they are Jared Dudley, Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat. And I expect them to be back next season.

As regards superstars, I don’t think any will be joining the Suns anytime soon, so, will have live with what we have and possibly the fringe-stars that might be available.

When it comes to defense, our expected core would be good enough, as long as we don’t get players that are really bad defensively, we should be good.

The Suns need a rebounding guy who we can count on to give us defense or scoring or both. This has to be at the 4 or 5. You will very well agree that what seems to hurt the most is rebounding, and as Alax Laugan mentioned during the last off-seasons, the suns are really good with “Initial Defense”, but are unable to take advantage of this because they don’t secure the rebound for themselves. A team needs to have 2 good rebounders on the floor at everytime, and right now, the only guys who can get rebounds adequately for us are Gortat, Frye (ICMF) and may be Hill and Dudz.

A team needs 2-3 good scorers to be viable, either two guys you can count on for 20 points or 3 player that will deliver for 15-20 on a nightly basis. You might be thinking that any Nash team will score well, but let me tell you; even Mr. Amazing can’t turn a frog into a prince.

That brings us to the players we need and have a chance at getting (focusing on their offense and rebounding);

Zach Randolph: A very good defender, rebounder and scores well also, this might be a good guy out there for us to get, but how and will he do well in our system considering he seems to be a ball stopper. Well, other than the facts above (a 20/10 guy), he is actually available in the summer, though it will be difficult to get him. Also, he won’t come cheap thereby crippling the team going into the future.

Paul Millsap: He his young and on a good contract and will provide us with rebounding and scoring if we were to get him. He is my favorite available big man (I don’t think we have a shot at Love). A deal sending Lopez and Pietrus or Warrick might be enough to get him. Imagine the front court of him and Gortat… AWESOME!

Carl Landry: He would be a good backup 4 for us and is very much available (Unrestricted Free Agent), makes our already good bench even better.

Aaron Affalo: I would love to see him in the Suns’ uniforms next season, but I don’t see how we can get him. If we were able to get him, that would be great for us. He shoots and plays good D and isn’t expensive.

Richard Hamilton: With the problems between the Pistons and Rip, we should be able to get him without losing much, as a matter of fact, they will take anything we give to take him off their hands, I think Pietrus + Warrick will be enough to get him. He is a good scorer with a great killer instinct and mentally he is good which is a quality needed by the Suns who seems to fade late in games, he could also give us another guy who could be on the floor with Frye in the close of games to give us more options as the game winds down. I am not a fan of giving large contracts to players as if might/will cripple the team later, Rip makes over 12mil a year for 3 more seasons and this is really much going into the future.

Personally, I’ll prefer us getting Millsap, Landry and Affalo;

Lopez+Warrick/Pietrus (if necessary Brooks) for Millsap

Pietrus/+1st for Affalo (not likely)

Landry through the free agency, a sign and trade with the Hornet with the remainder of our Trade Exception from the Amare trade should be enough.

PG: Nash/(Brooks/)Kemba/ZDow

SG: Affalo/JChill

SF: Hill/Dudz

PF: Millsap/Landry/Lawal

C: Gortat/Frye/Siler

With this lineup, we’ll have really good team offensively and defensively both in the starting 5 and the bench. Gortat-Millsap gives a more traditional 4-5 tandem and Frye-Landry on the bench. The perimeter D gets better with Hill-Affalo and Dudz-Chillz, without losing the big O. All these without crippling the team going forward.

IMO, this is a 50+ win team especially if Frye continue to improve and JChill lives up to expectation.

Now, you can start dropping it on me/us

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