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Hedo Turkoglu: Suns Insurance Policy For Steve Nash And Grant Hill

I'm not sure why this didn't dawn on me sooner, but the real value in having Hedo Turkoglu on the Suns roster this season is to back up both of the Suns aging stars. 

Both Nash and Hill are looking very good right now as the season gets ready to start, but let's remember last year when both came out of the gates firing, only to fade in the middle months.

Hill had four double-doubles in the first seven games, but only grabbed 10+ rebounds two more times the rest of the season. 

After starting the season shooting the ball in the mid-40's (FG%), Nash dropped to 39% in March. There was a long stretch there in January where he was hobbled with the back and shoulder pains and would regularly admit after the game that he had no "pop" in his legs. The active defense we saw Saturday night was there early last season as well, but faded with time.

Not to knock those guys, as Gentry says they are the two best conditioned athletes on the team and if the season was 30 games long, they would be fantastic. Both also combined to miss only 8 games over the past two seasons.

But ... 

Between luck eventually wearing out on the injury front and the wearing down process that we've witnessed over the past two or three seasons, there's simply no reason to expect that Nash and Hill can play at their highest-level for the entire season.

This is where Hedo will (potentially) shine for the Suns.

Right now, Turkoglu can't play his normal small forward spot. Gentry simply has to play Grant when he looks this good. Hedo can't be a primary, or even shared facilitator of the offense when you have Steve Nash on the floor.

But should age and luck eventually catch up to either Grant or Steve, Hedo will be there to step in. 

If Grant goes down, Hedo can slide over the small forward spot and the Suns can start either Frye or Warrick at the power forward. If Phoenix lands Erick Dampier, this is even easier since Frye would have less responsibility at the five.

If Nash goes down, Hedo can share more of the ball-handling and offense-running responsibilities with Dragic. 

For now, it's going to look awkward for awhile and there are already calls for benching Hedo in favor of Warrick, but that's a mistake. Hakim is a nice offensive spark and will give some energy and perimeter defense, but we've seen through his career that his game has too many holes to be a full-time starting power forward.

More importantly, Hedo needs to learn to play with the Suns starters so he can step up into a bigger role later in the season. 

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