One thing my friends, that I can promise you with 100 percent confidence is that today is not the last time I will make a dumb joke using the name "Hedo". There are not many things in life that I can guarantee, but this is one of them.
On to practice reporting. I mean reporting on practice.
And for once, the big story from practice is actual about practice. This weird day continues.
You might recall (you better recall) that I wrote this morning about Nash's tired legs being the cause for his poor shooting last night against the Spurs. I maintain -- and challenge any of you who disagree to a duel at sunrise -- that Nash HAD to take those shots based on the way the Spurs were insulting him by putting puny Tony Parker on him and staying home on both the shooters and roll men.
What has made the Nash pick and roll so deadly over the years isn't just the amazing bounce passes or the incredible hands and slams of Amare. Teams were FORCED to double cover Nash rolling off the screen which opened up those passing opportunities. If teams are going to simply follow Nash around the screen and have the big man stay with the screener, then Nash must take those shots to open everything else up. The entire Suns offense depends on Nash taking exactly those shots in those circumstances.
The problem comes when Nash doesn't make the shots and he didn't last night and he blamed tired legs just 4 games into the season coming off 4 days of rest. WTH!!!
Here's what Gentry had to say about that.
"I think what we've got to do is that we monitor practice a little bit more with him...I don't think Steve needs to be involved in an hour and a half practice. I think he needs to be involved in about a 40 minute practice. We scrimmage a little bit and keep their timing down but he and J Rich and Grant you know, guys like that, I don't see where they have to be out there 90 minutes in a practice."
If only there was someone Gentry could talk to about limiting Nash's minutes in practice....hmmm.
OK, that's wasn't fair.
Gentry later said that they've been practicing more here early in the season to build chemistry but there's a plan to fix all that. Gentry said he would flip-flop practices so the scrimmages and timing work was early and he could get his vets off the court and then do more teaching stuff with the younger players in the second half of practice.
Problem. Solved. Right?
As for Hedo (the butt of today's headline joke), if you re-watch the game you will see that the Suns went to him early in the first quarter to get him going and, as Gentry said, to take advantage of mismatches against Blair and Duncan. Hedo didn't hit those early shots and then continued to pass up open three's (a Phoenix Suns Cardinal Sin) later in the game. Benching him in favor of Warrick was simply a matter of riding the hot hand.
Hedo did some things well in the game despite the unfortunate box score. He had his first real finish off a solid roll on a Nash pick and roll. He was the ball handler for several pick and rolls with Frye and even Siler. On his best play, the Spurs switched a pick and roll and Hedo attacked Duncan and drew the foul.
I still think that in a few months Hedo is going to figure this all out. I like that he's staying late and working on the practice court and reportedly is also coming in at night to get in some extra cardio work. I see the basic skill sets that he brings and the potential of how that fits on the team. He even had a solid steal on Duncan while guarding the "best big man in the universe" in the post.
I think he's getting better each game and eventually will hopefully be decent. In the mean time, the Suns are treading water without him adding much which is a positive sign for things to come if you believe that Hedo will do. I could turn out to be wrong and Hedo could be a bust, but if you're giving up on him already I have two words for you...Goran. Dragic. I am more worried about Steve's legs than Hedo's play.
Some fun links for your afternoon productivity pleasure.
Game #4 Recap: Spurs outshoot Suns, the Ghost of Corner Threes Past Comes Alive - Pounding The Rock First big win of the season, yes? I know the Suns aren't as potent as they were when A'm'a'r'e' was still turning Nash's glorious passes into buckets, but as the famous line goes, they still are who we think they are - lots of running and creating havoc on offense, especially those dreaded pick and rolls.
SUNS: Suns Practice Interviews - Nov. 4, 2010
Suns.com TV caught up with Alvin Gentry, Goran Dragic and Josh Childress to get their thoughts on the start to the 2010-11 season and what fans can look to going forward.