Many fans were clamoring for a change in the starting lineup during a 5-game Suns losing streak. Turns out Alvin Gentry agreed:
"We went back and looked and right now we're Number 27 in the NBA in second-quarter points. We've got to get that unit to the point where we're at least playing even and not playing from behind."
Wednesday night in New York, Gentry teamed Ronnie Price with Steve Nash to begin the game. Although Price's line was a -5 coupled with zero points, the Suns won, and reserve Shannon Brown hit a decisive shot to ice the game. Price is a defensive specialist, so the lack of offense isn't much of a surprise. Bolstering the second unit with Dudley, Frye, and Brown adds (in theory) the offense to sustain the squad while Nash rests. Sebastian Telfair filled in at the point as Nash rested, playing 10 minutes with a bucket and -1. While Telfair is limited in many aspects, he can be a play maker and has the quickness to take it to the hole. If there was a loser in this reconfiguration, it may have been Jared Dudley, who while playing 17 minutes, missed all four of his shots.
On the front line, Markieff Morris started in place of Channing Frye. Morris had a stomach ailment which limited his court time, but there is no clear drop off starting the rookie in place of Frye, who may just be best coming off the bench as evident by his 3-4 performance to go with 4 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
If Morris can provide an offensive punch to make up for Price's lack of offensive prowess, just maybe everything equals out. Jared Dudley has always sparked the bench, and while moving him out of the starting 5 may seem personally like a negative thing, Gentry says the lineup changes were not demotions.
Josh Childress said it best when describing his own situation: "Coach is just trying to figure out lineups and what works..."
Michael Redd was signed by the Suns and debuted with a 12 point performance after not playing since the 2010 season. He followed that performance by draining one out of his next 12 shot attempts. There was no doubt Redd would be rusty. He didn't play versus the Knicks last night. He admits he isn't ready: "I'm not in a rhythm at all. It's my movement on the court that's better. I'm starting to pick up the offense more. Other than that, I feel good." The good news is he isn't hurt. The bad news is the proverbial "I need to learn the system." We've heard that before now haven't we? Some guys pick it up while others never will. It would be wonderful if Shannon Brown could make us forget that Michael Redd is even on the roster, but I won't hold my breath.
For more, check out: Coro/AZ Central: Suns Shake up Starting Lineup