Thursday, April 02, 2009

A few thoughts on the future

I have sporadic internet access at the moment but here's some food for thought that I'll write more on later.

Grant Hill possibly returning

Alvin Gentry possibly returning

I officially gave up hope after the crushing OT loss to Utah last Saturday. That followed by the stinker in Sacramento was it. Today's nationally televised blowout in Dallas simply gave the jerks at ESPN ample opportunity to pick at the Suns as they fade into the lottery.

I find it funny how Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Jon Barry can espouse at length on what it takes to win an NBA title when none played or coached on a title team. Listening to Jackson and Van Gundy complain about how bad the Suns and Mavericks are was inexcusable given that they get paid to be there. Fans of both teams are watching and these guys sound like grumpy New Yorkers who didn't want to make a trip to the South. I've hated ESPN/ABC's coverage for a while and it seems to be getting worse. One thing I liked about watching the NBA Finals in Europe last year was having no idea what the Portuguese announcers were saying. I could watch the game without Jackson's fortune cookie observations and Van Gundy surliness. If it's Kobe vs Lebron this year, I might have to mute and hope Dr. Jack Ramsey is on the radio.

Since the season is going to end a lot earlier than we've grown accustomed to now is as good a time as any to think about the draft. With Suns all but mathematically locked into the 14 spot, I think they can get a rotation worthy player with shrewd scouting. One player I really like is Sam Young of Pittsburgh. He knows how to play. We were watching tourney games a couple weeks ago and he was involved in every play down the stretch as Pitt pulled out a tough win. He makes spectacular plays and the little plays that don't show up in the box score. Blocking a layup after a foul to prevent a three-point play and then the player misses a free throw. Runs a late in the shot clock inbounds play to perfection with an assist while simultaneously screening two guys to give his teammate an open shot. He can guard guys bigger than him, he's explosive and runs the floor well. He's a senior and a little older than others in this draft class but I don't see how that hurts him. He's the type of player you can see playing on a winning team.

We won't have a clear draft picture until May 19. Players have until April 26 to declare and the lottery drawing is May 19. While it would be a miracle of sorts if the Suns slips into the top 3, they can start the rebuilding process with a good pick at 14. This offseason will be interesting.

Alvin Gentry has gotten a lot out of this group, especially bench players who gathered dust under Terry Porter. He seems like a great choice to coach this team going forward. We'll see what Sarver and Kerr do. They could go in another direction and pay a retread to install a new system with a new roster.

Steve Nash and Grant Hill could return or be let go or traded to chase rings. While I really like both players in Phoenix, I'm rooting for them individually to win it all as well. There are plenty of great players who never won rings but I really want it for Nash. As mentioned before, I've been watching him since I was high school including watching him play in-person in the NCAA tournament. He's my favorite player.

Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal have value and big salaries so their names will come up often in trade rumors. I personally think the Suns will pounce on a draft-pick or young-player laden trade offer this summer for one or both. While the Suns may continue to be an uptempo team, there will be some sort of moves made that balance out the roster with youth and players who excel on defense.

The pressure is really only on one person: Steve Kerr. All the main players on his roster a proven commodities. This season has proven that the Suns had a tenuous yet effective balance between their stars and role players under D'Antoni. The Gentry mini-era has proved that only the role players on this team will guard anyone. We've seen lineups with Jared Dudley and Louis Amundson make runs because they make scrappy plays on defense that feed the break and keep the tempo up. With the firepower this team has, it only takes a commitment from the stars to play come defense. Nash is a bad defender because he's small but he's usually one of the league leaders in charges taken. The reality shortcuts the effort. With Amare and Shaq, they're huge but they don't bring the type of energy a player like Tyrus Thomas, Paul Millsapp or even Samuel Dalembert brings on a consistent basis. Big men are a precious commodity in the NBA and it really hurt Phoenix this season that they have two that are poor on defense. It's up to Steve Kerr to commit to a vision for this team and execute the moves to bring it to fruition. Robert Sarver is watching that balance sheet closely and losing don't sell tickets

As we move further away from the suspension series, it seems that Horry hip-check changed the direction of this franchise. The Suns have not caught a break or made a smart move since. With the Lakers dominating the West, Portland poised to add the final piece and the Nonics two drafts away from completely dominating the league- the Suns need some luck, some smarts and an infusion of youth to be an elite team again. I'll keep following but honestly I can't wait for football to start.

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At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have to have Grant Hill back. With his defense, professionalism and desire to win, he's more important than Shaquille O'Neal or Amare Stoudemire individually. Give him more money, if that's what it takes. --Josh

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Hersey said...

I really wish Lopez had shown more this season. Having a shot blocking anchor in the middle would really be killer with an uptempo attack. Hopefully he develops in the off-season and comes to camp ready to play in the mold of a Tyson Chandler.

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should easy on Lopez, Dragic and Alando Tucker--they didn't get plenty of time to show their stuff, as Lou Amundson and Jared Dudley did. I think that despite never having a chance to break out, Alando Tucker will probably be dumped next season. Too bad. --Josh

At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Amare or Shaq are traded this summer, I hope the team at least considers letting Lou Amundson start next season. He deserves it, as he plays more defense than either of them and sis a somewhat decent scorer if given lots of minutes. I could say the same for Jared Dudley, but he's great off the bench, being better offensively than Amundson. --Josh

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two more observations:
-I really like Coach Gentry and am pleased to hear that he'll probably keep his job. He has done a great job cultivating the bench.
-Shaq's yelling at Robin Lopez about Lopez's lack of aggressiveness has clearly helped.


At 8:13 PM, Blogger Hersey said...

I like Gentry too. He's a smart choice and he'll develop players and get contributions 1 through 12.

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous bankruptcy in arizona said...

I like Gentry and believe he will be back. That may also be partly a financial decision. So far, I think everyone in Suns management panicked and pulled a trade or two and made a coaching change. They should have kept the team together one more season intact. Too many changes.

At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad Raja Bell surely can't be brought back. As Steve Nash noted, the Suns need defenders, and since their current financial position necessitates finding some cheap ones, I suggest trying to get Dahntay Jones (Nuggets), or possibly Adrian Griffin (Bucks). I don't suppose Jones would necessarily leave Denver, though, because it's a winning team. And I enthusiastically favor Shaq's latest pipe dream of being traded to the Hornets, because demanding Tyson Chandler and Antonio Daniels (and cap filler) for him is a no-brainer.
I've never been comfortable with having O'Neal here, because unlike Charles Barkley until his last season here, O'Neal almost constantly demands to leave. Between that and his winning four titles elsewhere, he always made himself look too big and too important for Phoenix. --Josh

At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


As a huge Suns fan from Portugal for around 20 years (since the Tom Chambers/KJ/Horny/Majerle era), I really found curious your reference as to being here while last year's playoffs were taking place.

As for the local TV announcers, I totally understand you and when I watch the NBA live in the wee hours most times I really wish they shut up and just let fans watch the game. Too bad that even the comments on 'connoisseur' channels in the USA don't have much better quality, though.

Anyway, since I'm only a cable TV subscriber because of the NBA, and even with the prospect of watching LsBron win it all in 2009 (and deservedly so, in my opinion, so I'm rooting for the Cavs and against the Lakers) I gave it up for this spring simply because of the disastrous end to the Suns' season :-(

Hopefully, Alvin Gentry will be back next season, and keeps developing our younger players to get a solid contribution from the bench, something the Suns aren't used to for a few years now.

I think Nash should be back, as opposed to Barnes, and they should keep Barbosa and the younger core. My doubts are on Richardson, Amare and Shaq, and even doubting what the Suns can get in return in this troubled economy, changes will happen for sure during this offseason, so good luck to Steve Kerr in his job for the next few months.



At 9:03 AM, Anonymous bookie outsource sportsbook said...

Gentry has been a really good one ... happy about that, he deserves it for his job

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wayman Tisdale. R.I.P.

At 7:58 PM, Anonymous arizona auto insurance said...

The Suns are a mess. The players don't mesh. Salaries are out of whack. Coaches are not sure whether to run or walk.

At 1:31 AM, Anonymous buy rs gold said...

I like Gentry and believe he will be returning. That may also be partially a economical choice. So far, I think everyone in Group control panicked and drawn a business or two and created a training modify. They should have kept the group together one more year unchanged. Too many changes.
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