Good news Suns fans, we finally have a front court that isn't undersized. In fact with the addition of Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris, we have something that looks like an actual NBA front court. With a starting lineup that shows no players under 6-11 we now have some size that can compete with the ultra large championship teams like Orlando, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Even better by picking up Markieff Morris, maybe we can keep our power forward position at the right size more often and no longer have to play featherweight, Hakim Warrick.
Having a large interior presence in the NBA is one of the most coveted things in this league, it is where defense is king, and where offense can be opened. Having strong rebounders, allow for multiple possessions and less opportunities for the other team. Having big bodies and long arms can create walls for opposing offenses that can stump coaches and teams, bringing their teams to a screeching halt. So it's all good news that we have found some much needed size right? Well of course not, simply because for this fantasy to play out we have a couple risks. Biggest of which is our newly drafted rookie Markieff. If he can't perform up to a level that at least stops the bleeding defensively for Hakim, he will most likely ride the bench and the front-court we saw last year will be back to its dual personality of oversized starters and undersized bench. A lot rides on the quick transition of this player, but I do think that out of all the draft picks in the first round he has one of the most promising games. He is suited to be in the NBA, with his power and his rebounding ability being his most prominent skills, I think we will find that he will transition to the tougher pro league easier then some.
The other piece I haven't talked about much is Robin Lopez. Yes the same center that showed so much promise when we made our WCF appearance. The one who people were hoping would come into his own and shine in this past season. However we shouldn't be so hard on him, after all he was injury ridden all last season with a bum back while returning from the prior seasons injury as well. I don't think we have seen the last of Robin Lopez. He does a lot of things right at the center position, first of all is he is an efficient back to the basket player, he has a much improved mid range shot, and when healthy was a great shot blocker and defender. I think we have to give him one more year, after all it can't hurt to give him another chance since his trade value is so low from last season, we would be lucky to get Smush Parker for him at this point. Our best bet is to keep the big lug, after all he is the only true 7 footer that we have on the roster and his ability to clog the paint, although limited when injured, is still better than what would have coming in off the bench instead.
The other incredible advantage that this team has right now is the ability to put a team out there that can play offense and defense against anybody, and still be above the height of 6-7 at every position. I mean our average height is now over 6-7.
Grant Hill 6-8 PG
Jared Dudley 6-7 SG
Josh Childress 6-8 SF
Channing Frye 6-11 PF
Marcin Gortat 6-11 C
And while this on court team wouldn't ever be our top choice we still have a number of threats that not only spread the floor, but also clog the lane for opposing teams. With Channing on the perimeter, Gortat can work down low. With Grant Hill penetrating the lane, Jared Dudley can run the wing. I can even see some interesting give and go plays with Gortat and Childress. Needless to say this would be a better team then some starting lineups already in the NBA and would present problems for shorter teams, and solutions to bigger ones. One last thing, every player on this lineup would be able to run the floor well and keep up well with faster smaller players.