Let me start by saying that I love the addition of Luis Scola to our big man rotation. Adding Scola gives us a front court of Gortat, Morris, Scola, Beasley, Frye. Hak, and possibly Lopez. Unlike some teams who do not have enough firepower up front, we now have many options at the 4 and the 5 and all bring different skill sets to the table. The thing we need to look at is how the guys can play together and fit the rotation minutes. Hit the jump for the rundown.
With our franchise under a huge reconstruction period, many of us have questioned the thought process and plan going forward of the front office. Many shout it's time to blow it up and rebuild through the draft but this seems far from what Babby and Blanks have in mind. By the looks of things we are trying to stay competitive while adding young talented players while building assets for the future. This is why many question the thinking behind picking up Luis Scola off waivers. So what does the 32 year old Argentinian bring to the table and how will he fit into the rotation?
Besides long, brown locks (much like another player we used to cherish) Scola posses many positive qualities that will fit right in on this team. Houston fans loved him and he was easily the fan favorite over there. He is a guy who plays scrappy ball and leaves it all on the court. It is nothing unusual to see him diving to the floor for loose balls. This hard work ethic and professionalism is something that is priceless for the young guys to see first hand. As far as the team is concerned, a 15 and 7 from the 4 spot should be welcomed with open arms. It's the first true low post power forward we have had in a while. Finally someone we can throw the ball to and get us a bucket. I think he and Gortat will compliment each other very well especially with both being able to hit the midrange. Defense is something Scola is not amazing at but neither have our other options at that spot and he can at least combat it with his ability to put up points. Scola's low post game will also be a blessing for the development of Keef's low post game. We know he can stretch the floor with his shot but he really needs to improve his inside game to expand his overall game. Scola with his nifty scoop shots and very nice footwork will help Keef develop his interior offense. Markieff will also have the luxury of being able to battle Scola in practice to also help work on his post D. Scola is worlds beyond any other power forward we have on the roster in regards to scoring in the post so it will be great for Keef to have to check him in the post.
Now rotations is where things get tricky. With the FO not hesitating to claim Scola, one could make the argument that maybe they have a plan to move one of the bigs via trade. A sign and trade for Robin Lopez maybe? We now have a very deep front court while the wing is still weak at the moment especially with the amnesty of Childress. I could see us moving a 4 or a 5 for a shooting guard or small forward. Scola also fits into this thinking for the future because of his nice contract. He is a very tradable piece that could be included in a package. So assuming the roster goes unchanged, the first thing to be done is Hak gets a permanent seat on the bench. There really is just no room. Go ahead and pencil in Scola and Gortat starting at the 4 and 5 and getting their 33-35 minutes per game. Morris will be first in line for minutes at the power forward and I would expect Gentry to keep his same stance on riding the hot hand (especially now that we will have a capable bench) so Keef can still get high minutes if he plays well in his time given. Assuming we start Beasley at the 3 (though he is obviously better as a stretch 4) and allow Lopez to walk, this leaves Frye going back to backup center where is has thrived in the past. Channing has always played better offensively at center than power forward. I'm not sure how he and Markieff will fit together as they both prefer to camp on the 3 line but this is where it is crucial for him to develop his post up game.
With this current roster (assuming we add a shooting guard in Mayo, Brown, or Lee) we will be looking at a starting unit of:
- Mayo, Brown, Lee
With this starting lineup we have many tasty options for the Dragon. He will have 2 capable 3 ball shooters as well as 2 bigs that can score in the post or step out and hit the 15 footer. Scola and Dragic should have a little chemistry already form their run together last year. I trust that Dragic is gonna be able to create good looks for the team in the half court but I really expect him to thrive in transition now that he has some pieces to run with him. Beasley should be able to get us some shots if we get deep into the shot clock with his playmaking ability. Beasley really is the wildcard because he has always had the chance to really blowup. He has the scoring in his back pocket, he just needs to learn how to do it effectively. Gentry is the perfect coach to put him in a good position to do so.
That leaves the bench. As of now it looks like it could be a lineup of:
- Backup 2-guard (Maybe Redd)
Like the starting lineup, Marshall also has a few weapons in his arsenal. As far as 3 point shooting he has more to work with. Dudley and Frye would take some of the pressure off of Marshall with the veteran presence. I am excited to have a pass first point guard in Marshall running the 2nd unit. He thrived in Carolina running the team and they truly were a better team with him on the floor as evident by his injury during the tourney. He is gonna have to work on his jumper to be able to create plays because nobody on the bench is really anything of a play maker. I still expect Gentry to play around with the pieces and the rotations could be completely different than what I have listed above. As always there will be a lot of mixing and matching. It is up to Gentry and the coaching staff to configure the best rotations and lineups possible. It will be interesting to see what Alvin can do with this group.
So far I give the FO a grade of an A-. They have added young talent while still having cap space to spend this year or save for next year. They have stockpiled on draft picks with 10 in the next 3 years and also have some tradable pieces in Scola, Warrick (expiring deal), and Gortat. Our franchise lost it's centerpiece of the last decade and were able to make some very nice moves in less than a month to help compensate. That's a lot of progress for one off season and we still have room to grow next summer with cap (assuming we don't overpay for a shooting guard) and assets. The FO said they had a plan and so far it looks like they really do. It will be interesting to see what other pieces we add via trade or free agency before training camp. So like it or not Suns fans, this is the team we have assembled moving forward and we have no choice but to support them. Either way we should be a fun team to watch. Can't wait till the start of training camp!