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Suns 08-09 Roster Needs

Looking forward to the next season the Suns have some serious needs to address. We have the benefit of this great player-by-player break down and now we will look at positional needs.

Here's a preview for those who like picture books...  


Point Guard

The back court starts and for the time being ends with Steve Nash. Baring a highly unlikely trade (which isn't nearly as unpopular of an idea as it would have been a year ago) Nash is still the man.

Obviously, it is finally(!) time to get him a legit backup and to do that you have to trade the $5/yr Leandro Barbosa. LB is a great scorer but if by this point he isn't going to be a point guard then he never will. You miss his speed and three point shooting but his lack of defense and inability to create for others makes him expendable. Perhaps a new coach could get more out of him and use his speed and length to make him a solid defensive PG but its hard to see that happening.

Some names to consider:

Carlos Aroyo - solid defensive PG that can handle the ball. LB would be a great fit in Orlando.

Kyle Lowry - a younger more flashy PG with upside. His salary is attractive.

Mike Conley  - an even better version of Lowry.

Beno Udrih  - this guy would be the best option but the Kings would be foolish to let him go

Sergio Rodriquez  - another young player with upside. Might be the best pupil for Nash.

For most of those guys you get some cap space as well which we need for the other big need which is a back up to The Big Knee (or Hip)

When it comes to point guards, I am much more inclined to get a guy that's got at least a year in the league to scout from. The jump to the NBA is huge for PG's and except for the rare exceptions like Paul, Williams and Rose it takes some time to develop the skills. The Suns don't have that kind of time. They need a PG that can handle 15-20 min per game now.

You could make the case that we can get by with LB as the PG in a different system that isn't so dependent on plays being created by from the backcourt. That all depends on what direction Coach TBD is going with the team.

Shooting Guard

Its possible that DJ will develop into a PG but I doubt it. I see him more sharing time with his buddy Tucker playing behind Bell. 

I would like to see Bell's minutes average closer to 30 ppg and see what the DJ/Tucker combo can do with consistent minutes behind him. You can also use Hill at the 2 guard for certain matchups.

Some people see this position as a big hole for the Suns but I don't think so. Its certainly not an all-star slot but you can't have all-starts at every position. I am ok with the Bell, DJ, Tucker platoon at this position.

Small Forward

The big decision here is whether to play Diaw full time at the small foward. I think its clear that without  D'Antoni around that he will not be playing much center. You can in theory play him behind Amare, but its clear that this guy has the talent to start and I think that with him on the floor with Amare he can help with the ball handling and with some more work on this outside shot can contribute at the 3.

Clearly, he is at his best defensively as a wing player. He does a solid job in the post against bigger guys but he just gives up too much size.

Grant Hill will come back and should be the team's sixth man. Coming off the bench, Hill can lead the second unit and provide an offensive spark as well as his passing and defense. Who knows what his health will be like next year. I don't think we can hope for more than we got last year and we saw what happened when we depended on him to start.

Gordan Giricek might be back. I think he wants to come back and be a #7 or #8 guy off the bench and I am all for that. He's a versitile player with a well rounded offensive and defensive game. I doubt though that will be able to afford him. He's too good not to land a decent contract for a team where he will start or at least get solid minutes. I don't see him coming back.

Tucker is another guy that can provide depth at the small forward. He's a bit small but is highly athletic and his outside shooting has improved to the point that with confidence he should be a solid rotation guy.

Power Forward

Amare with a full season at this natural position could dominate the league. I hope he works on his defense and passing this off season and with some different coaching should come back next year even better. I would look for a lot of the offense to go through Amare next year. He can clearly handle the scoring load and should average at least 25 ppg and 8 or 9 rebounds. He and Diaw are also young enough to handle 35 - 40 mpg.

Behind Amare we have a hole to fill. I would let Skinner go and shoot for a 7ft center and then perhaps consider Marks as Amare's backup. I don't think this guy has ever really gotten the opportunity to showcase what is in fact a solid set of basketball skills.


This is the other major roster hole. We cannot expect Shaq to play more then 60 games in the regular season and his minutes when he does play should be limited to 25ppg. Amare will slide over at times, but it is time to finally go out and get a legit backup center who's role is defense and rebounding. There are a few available if the Suns can make it work.

Diop is my top choice. This guy is a proven Western Conference center who can bang and still move his feet and play D.  

Petro is still the object of my man-crush. I don't know if the Suns can get this guy from the Sonic.

I am sure there are others as well that you armchair GM's can point out. Skinner is solid but just too small to fill this role.

Draft Pick 

We will certainly have more detailed draft pick discussions in the weeks to come. For my money at 15 you take the best available player whoever that it.



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