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Preview and Game Thread: Suns vs Timberwolves

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Minnesota Timberwolves
@ Phoenix Suns

Sunday, Nov 1, 2009, 6:00 PM MST

US Airways Center

FSN AZ / NBALP

Complete Coverage >



[Note by Phoenix Stan, 11/01/09 5:13 PM MST ]

Coach's Pregame Office Notes:

  • Frye will start on Al Jefferson with Amare starting on Pecherov who is supposedly starting for Minnie
  • Suns will start off playing Jefferson straight up but might go to traps and doubles as needed
  • Gentry said Jefferson is not fully recovered yet
  • On Jonny Flynn: Suns liked him a lot. Gentry said he has a bright future and is a very good player. Physical guard who can take a hit and run the screen and roll which is hard for rookies. His area to improve is outside shooting
  • Gentry called him a natural leader

For the Timberwolves without Kevin Love (broken hand) the story starts and stops with Al Jefferson and Jonny Flynn.

Jefferson as we all know has feasted on the Suns over the past years and was one of the guys often mentioned when the team justified bringing in Shaq for his interior defense and rebounding.

Al Jeff's dominance over the Phoenix front line of Amare and Marion was as much responsible for both the Shaq trade and the Robin Lopez draft pick as any other single player. Who can forget the 32 and 20 his three win team dropped on Phoenix in December 2007?

Jefferson missed 32 games last season with a torn ACL and like Amare he's still working his way back into game shape. He's put up 10.5 points and 6 rebounds over his first two games of the season. Amare meanwhile is averaging 18 and 5.

Here's what Canis Hoopus says about Al Jeff:

Al Jefferson is not anywhere near 100%. Yes, it looks like he has no business being in the new offense and he is the last person on earth you want directing traffic out of the high post, but a serious injury is still a serious injury and the Jefferson Discount should be taken into account when discussing his overall worth to the squad.

In the back court we get our first official look at Jonny Flynn. I saw Flynn in Vegas where he was a clear standout for his ability to get to the rim and mostly for his Chris Paul-like floor leadership. The guy naturally draws all eyes towards him. I am looking forward to seeing him tonight. He's going to get big minutes starting for this team and will likely be a top 5 rookie this season.

On top of that you have an entire new retro 80's coaching staff in Minnesota with Kurt Rambis, Bill Laimbeer and Reggie Theus. Word is they are trying to install some form of the triangle offense ...see what veteran T-wolves beat writer Britt Robson had to say in his first post as a regular at Canis Hoopus:

Then there is the issue of what to do with the triangle offense. It is a complex scheme that takes months to develop for even savvy veterans. The question remains whether the Wolves have the right personnel to implement it this year—outside shooters and deft-passing bigs are two key components to the system. Yeah, Kevin Love in the low block is a good fit in terms of ball movement, but I would imagine that Rambis is more interested in Jefferson as high post facilitator and Love as one of the orbiters cutting and spotting out at the corner baseline. Not only is Jefferson’s skill set much better suited to the two-man game and the clear-out isolations, but the clearcut strength of both Sessions and Flynn is in getting to the basket via penetration. So, it will be interesting to see going forward how much and how thoroughly the principles of the triangle are tried.

The Suns have a solid chance (and really the expectation) that they can go 3-0 to start the season before hitting the road for an early and brutal east coast swing.

Jason Richardson will return to the lineup and we can get our first look at his (reportedly) improved defense and see the regular Suns 4 guard rotation in action.

Game Links:

  • Timberwolves vs Suns coverage
  • Canis Hoopus
  • Timberwolves vs Suns preview
  • Warriors vs Suns boxscore
  • azcentral.com - members
    Starting Tuesday, the Suns will play five road games in seven days, including stops in Boston and Orlando. While the early road schedule has been bemoaned, the Suns ought to feel fortunate that the NBA handed them the 3-0 opportunity of opening with the Clippers, Warriors and Timberwolves.