Mr. J.R. Wilco over at Pounding The Rock and I got together
for a little e-Q&A. J.R. got first shot-his questions in bold
my answers are below. Enjoy.
JR: Understanding that it's been years since he's played in Phoenix, and the Spurs system today is so far removed from the 7SoL offense he played in for you guys -- what do you think Spurs fans will get (good and bad) out of Boris Diaw?
WC: Alvin Gentry called Boris Diaw one of the smartest top two or three players he's ever coached, and that says a lot. As fans we never doubted that he was gifted, we just wondered where his head was at at times. We watched him pass up wide open 2 footers to pass out to the wing. We saw the guy not show up, play with zero energy, forget what boxing out was, and then smile about it, thus earning him the nickname "Doris." However, when the guy was focused, he could be a great play maker, match up 1-5, and hit shots from all over the floor. If anyone can keep this guy focused, Pops would be the man.
JR: In a lot of ways even though the franchises have gone in different directions after their last meeting in the playoffs (the sweep) I think there are still some similarities. We both have stars that are generally treated by the media as though they shouldn't be able to continue to do what they obviously can still do. Dealing with this generally causes Spurs fans to bristle, how do Phoenix fans handle the Suns' treatment by the media? (Especially since, it always appeared to Spurs fans, that you guys were the media darlings.)
WC: Media darlings? Hahaha, thats good. I think the Suns got a ton of press during the D'Antoni years for scoring a lot of points and playing fast, which was fun for everyone. But ever since D'Antoni left, the Suns were never given a chance. In 2010, not many of the so-called experts chose the Suns to even make the playoffs, yet they made it to the WCF. And once Stoudemire left, it got even worse. Now it's at the stage where no one really cares about the Suns unless they are talking about Steve Nash retiring or being traded. Personally, I think most of us know Nash well enough that if he says he doesn't want to go, he means it. The same goes with Grant Hill. Nevertheless, the media knows better, right? I think you get where I'm going here. Our guys wrote tons of stories proclaiming Nash trade rumors were pointless, he's not going anywhere. We're all pretty sick of it.
JR: I saw a stat the other day said Nash's offenses for the last 10 years were either # 1 or 2 in offensive efficiency. You may be tired of this question but, how does he DO that? And with those guys?
WC: First off, Nash is in fantastic shape. For him to be playing at his age is one thing. But to be playing as effective as he is, well that's a testament to how well he takes care of himself coupled with being a very smart player. In simple terms, he knows his teammates, he knows where they will be on the floor, he knows where he needs to get them the ball in order for them to have a chance at success. Lastly, he knows his opponents. He knows what they are going to do before they do it. It's amazing, but he IS the Suns. There may be one or two other guys in the league (and I don't know who, I'm estimating) that could take Nash's place on the Suns and have the success he has had running the team. Take Nash away, the Suns are easy in the bottom five of the league. No exaggerations.
JR: Yes it's another Nash question: the popular perception of Steve is that he doesn't play defense. What is the BSotS's official point of view on this subject? Feel free to give me the boilerplate. I feel certain that one exists.
WC: Nash is an underrated defender. Again, he uses his head. He doesn't have the speed and athleticism of some of the younger point guards in the league, but he has the experience to know where these guys are going and where they will be so he can beat them to a spot and take a charge.
JR: Okay I know Marcin Gortat is awesome, but assume I know nothing else about the rest of your team. What/who can I be watching out for when they play the Spurs?
WC: The Suns are obviously playing better since the All Star break. The big thing is that the starters have held steady while the bench has finally gelled. Look for Jared Dudley to prove he can go for 20+, play quality defense, and pick up some boards. He's an underrated 2 guard with a lot of smarts and energy. Grant Hill will be matched on your best offensive player 1-4. His defense stifles nearly everyone in the league, exceptions being Kobe and LeBron. Hill runs the floor, hits anything from 5 to 18 feet out, and finishes. Channing Frye has had an awful shooting year overall, but he can get hot in a hurry and take over a game. He's also figured out how to stay on the floor when his shot isn't falling by D'ing up and hitting the boards. The Suns second unit isn't all that impressive, individually, but they have taken on the role of playing tough defense, scrapping, and finally hitting some shots. Shannon Brown has stepped up, as has Sebastian Telfair, Michael Redd has had a few nice games, and Robin Lopez has been fairly steady of late.