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We'll need Goran to unleash to Dragon for any shot in this 3-on-3 tournament.

Inspired by this story about the possibility of 3-on-3 basketball being added as an Olympic event for the 2016 games, we here at SB Nation have decided to host our own 3-on-3 tournament. No, that doesn't man you'll get to see myself, Leiland and 7footer team up and lace up our sneakers (although we'd totally kick butt).

No, it's not a blogger 3-on-3 tournament. Instead, each NBA blog is going to pick three of the players on its teams current roster to field a team. The team will then compete (on paper) against the other 29 NBA blog teams, a team of unsigned and international players put together by Scott Schroeder and a squad of probable 2013 draft picks selected by Andrew Sharp.

I think it's fair to say Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat are the two best players and locks for the team. However, after those two, I struggle to find a clear number three player on the roster.

Should we pick a standard point guard-wing-big line-up? If so, Dudley might be the most versatile wing on the team. He can shoot from the perimeter (you always need a shooter in 3-on-3), post up a little bit, crash the boards and even handle the ball some. Dudley could be a great complementary player to the two-man game between Dragic and Gortat. Would Dudley make the team better?

Is Michael Beasley the guy? He's a former No. 2 draft selection who hasn't quite found his way in the NBA. But there has to be some talent there if he was taken that high, right? Perhaps Beasley's game is better-suited for 3-on-3 play rather than the 5-on-5 action of the NBA. With only 3 defenders on the court,there should be more driving lanes and it should be easier to finish in the paint. There is also more room for isolation play. Should Beasley be the guy?

Or how about Luis Scola? Perhaps we should go with the twin towers look and overwhelm opponents with size and skill. We can post Scola up on the block or run some high-low action with he and Gortat. Scola already has great chemistry with Dragic as well. Would Scola be the best fit?

Do we need someone who can both defend inside and space the floor? Channing Frye could be pretty devastating spotting up in the corner while Dragic and Gortat run the pick-and-roll in the middle. There's no one to rotate over if his man has to leave him to stop Gortat rolling to the hoop. Does Frye have a spot on the team?

Or how about young Markieff Morris? He struggled as a rookie but showed some flashes and was pretty dominant in Summer League play this year. He is a very versatile scorer who can shoot from outside, post-up smaller players and face up on bigger guys and take them off the dribble. He was a pretty bad defender as a rookie, but with a year under his belt I expect to see improvement, and I think he could probably defend wings and stretch-fours better than the other two bigs. Do you like Morris as the third man?

I'm not a fan of the twin-towers look in 3-on-3, especially with the size and athleticism of some of the wings on opposing rosters. I'm looking for a guy with versatility, who can match up with either bigs or wings as every team they face will be different. I also want someone who can shoot from outside, handle a little bit to help out Dragic and can hold their own both on the glass an defensively. There's nobody that perfectly fits that template on the roster, but the three guys I see as the best fit are Dudley, Beasley and Morris.

I've said my piece. Now it's your turn Bright Siders. Who deserves that third spot? Remember to take all factors into consideration. We're looking for the best fit, not necessarily the best player (especially considering there isn't anybody clearly better than the rest of the group.

Don't just vote in the poll, though. It's not a guarantee that I choose the poll winner. I already have an idea of who I'm going to pick. So it's your job to convince me that your guy deserves to be on the team. Make your voice heard in the comments.

Poll
Who is your choice for the Suns' third man?

  722 votes | Results


Still a slow time of the year. Not much happening till mid-month, when players start arriving for voluntary workouts before training camp.

A couple of things to talk about this week, in random order:

1) The Suns are apparently interested (at least mildly, at the vet min) in former Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa. Why? With Brown/Dudley set to share SG duties, and new recruits Beasley/Johnson/Tucker at SF, whose minutes would Barbosa take? Think about this from the FO perspective - they signed everyone in the wing rotation this summer except Jared Dudley, who was already under a great contract. What are they thinking, when expressing interest in Barbosa?

2) Suns C Marcin Gortat is playing well for Poland, but the rest of his national team is just not very good. They are 2-2 so far in qualifying for the Eurobasket 2013, with 4 games left (Last game on September 8). They have a very good chance of finishing well, especially if former Suns Maciej Lampe returns to action soon (out with minor injury).

3) Jared Dudley tweets that this is his final week in Vegas before returning to Phoenix for the season. He is not partying, rather he's playing daily pickups games and working out hard with other NBA players. His biggest diversion seems to be movies. I've been wondering who would organize Suns workouts in Phoenix this fall - maybe its Dudley?

4) Anything else?

Ready...set...talk!

Still a slow time of the year. Not much happening till mid-month, when players start arriving for voluntary workouts before training camp.

A couple of things to talk about this week, in random order:

1) The Suns are apparently interested (at least mildly, at the vet min) in former Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa. Why? With Brown/Dudley set to share SG duties, and new recruits Beasley/Johnson/Tucker at SF, whose minutes would Barbosa take? Think about this from the FO perspective - they signed everyone in the wing rotation this summer except Jared Dudley, who was already under a great contract. What are they thinking, when expressing interest in Barbosa?

2) Suns C Marcin Gortat is playing well for Poland, but the rest of his national team is just not very good. They are 2-2 so far in qualifying for the Eurobasket 2013, with 4 games left (Last game on September 8). They have a very good chance of finishing well, especially if former Suns Maciej Lampe returns to action soon (out with minor injury).

3) Jared Dudley tweets that this is his final week in Vegas before returning to Phoenix for the season. He is not partying, rather he's playing daily pickups games and working out hard with other NBA players. His biggest diversion seems to be movies. I've been wondering who would organize Suns workouts in Phoenix this fall - maybe its Dudley?

4) Anything else?

Ready...set...talk!


Photo


Every summer NBA.com takes a look at every team following their offseason moves, breaks down different parts of the team and assigns grades to them. Last week, their evaluation of the new-look Suns was released. Most of the grades seem pretty reasonable, but I don't agree with all of them or the explanations. Therefore, I decided to take a stab at grading the moves and the roster myself.

NBA.com used the standard A through F grading scale, with an A grade meaning superior, B meaning above-average, C average, D below-average and F failing. For comparison's sake, I'll use the same grading scale, although my idea of what constitutes an "average" player is probably a bit different.

Make the jump to see the Bright Side's grades and how they differ from those on NBA.com.

Frontcourt

The Players: C - Marcin Gortat; PF - Luis Scola; SF - Michael Beasley

NBA.com's Grade: B-

What a strange time in Phoenix. Center (Marcin Gortat) and power forward (Luis Scola) are secure all of the sudden and small forward (Michael Beasley) is the uncertainty. The Suns have flip-flopped in two years.

A B- seems fair to me when taking all three players and what they did last year into consideration. However, this is the the Bright Side after all, and I'm going to take a slightly more optimistic viewpoint.

Marcin Gortat isn't a superstar, but he is a Polish double-double Machine and one of the better centers in the league. Even without Steve Nash spoon-feeding him in the pick-and-roll he should be a solid B+ player.

Luis Scola is on the wrong side of thirty and is coming off a sub-par season with Houston, but with reduced expectations and a fresh start I expect him to be a good contributor. He has excellent chemistry with new/old point guard Goran Dragic and should give the Suns a dependable scoring option in the post and on pick-and-pops. I foresee C+ to B- play from the gritty Argentine.

Micheal Beasley at small forward is going to be the difference between a very solid frontcourt and a dysfunctional one this year. As a power forward his first two years in Miami he was probably a C player, but as a small forward the last two years in Minnesota his play was probably closer to a D. However, Beasley is saying all the right things and the organization seems to have faith in him. It's now or never for him. If Beasley can focus on the little things and not try to do too much, we should see some C+ or possibly even B- play.

Bright Side's Grade: B

Overall, I think this starting frontcourt has above-average talent and will put up some solid numbers this year.


Backcourt

The Players: PG - Goran Dragic; SG - Jared Dudley

NBA.com's Grade: C+

Two newcomers, sort of, will try to replace one Steve Nash, with Goran Dragic, back for his second Phoenix stint, and Kendall Marshall the new point guards. Jared Dudley is the favorite at shooting guard.

I don't agree with this grade at all and the reasoning is a bit off-base. It's true the Suns have to replace a franchise legend in Steve Nash, but Goran Dragic will be the only one trying to fill those shoes next year. He was the best player signed by the Suns this summer and might be the best player on the entire team. I already wrote 2400 words about the kind of player Dragic is, so I'll just give him a B+ and move on.

Kendall Marshall doesn't factor in here much at all, as he still has to beat out Sebastian Telfair for the back-up job if he even wants playing time this year.

Some think Shannon Brown will be the starting shooting guard, but I still believe it's Jared Dudley's job to lose. Dudley is not a star, but his efficiency is incredible and he just makes the team better when he's on the court. This may be a bit biased, but I'm giving him a B-.

Bright Side's Grade: B

Just like the starting frontcourt, the backcourt is solid and has above-average talent.


Defense

The Numbers: 103.8 (23rd overall)

NBA.com's Grade: D

Having the rare -- unheard of? -- stability at center and power forward could make a difference. But the Suns need big gains in this area after finishing 21st in shooting defense.

D is a pretty fair grade based on last year's performance and the defensive abilities of the newcomers.

Center is rightfully given credit, as it is probably the strongest defensive position on the team with Marcin Gortat, Channing Frye and Jermaine O'Neal. However, I wouldn't say the same for the Suns' power forwards as neither Luis Scola or Markieff Morris are particularly good defenders at this stage of their careers.

Point guard is fairly strong as well with Dragic and Bassy Telfair, but the upgrade from Nash to Dragic is more than canceled out by the drop-off from Grant Hill to Michael Beasley. None of the other wings are really anything to write home about either.

Bright Side's Grade: D+

All things being considered, the roster probably isn't any better defensively than it was last year. However, the team will not have to hide Nash or devote extra help to him this year. Also, this is Elston Turner's second season with the team and he gets a full offseason to work with the team and implement his system this year. That's enough for slight improvement in my eyes (a D+ is roughly 19th in the league on my scale).


Bench

The Players: Sebastian Telfair, Shannon Brown, Wesley Johnson, Markieff Morris, Channign Frye, Jermaine O'Neal, Kendall Marshall, P.J. Tucker

NBA.com's Grade: C+

There are some valuable, but unproven, prospects on the bench, with 2012 lottery pick Marshall and '11 lottery pick Markieff Morris. Some veterans add depth. But the Suns have no reserve standouts yet.

NBA.com summed up the bench pretty well.

Morris and Marshall are interesting prospects that could make a difference if they can build on their Summer League play. A bounce back year from Channing Frye would really help the second unit, as would Telfair and Brown picking up where they left off at the end of last year.

However, they are right that there are no stand-outs that can take control of the offense and make a difference when the starters are sitting.

Bright Side's Grade: C+

This is the first grade I completely agree with. The bench isn't terrible like it was during the first half of last season, but the above-average talent just isn't there right now.


Coaching

Alvin Gentry's Record in Phoenix: 155-122 (.560)

NBA.com's Grade: B

Alvin Gentry has become one of the signs of consistency in Phoenix, an important role in a time of transition. The greater challenge is to bring a mix of veterans and prospects, newcomers and returnees, together.

Once again, I agree. Gentry is a steady presence at the helm for the Suns in the midst of their transition. However, he's on the last year of his contract and whether or not he continues to be a sign of consistency for the organization may depend on how well he handles that challenge.

There are a lot of returners, but this is still a completely different team sans Nash and Gentry is going to have to find a new identity for the squad. Gentry generally does a good job of connecting with his players and finding a way to get the best out of them. That will be put to the test with reclamation projects like Bealsey and Johnson on the team.

Bright Side's Grade: B

Gentry is a good coach, and he's going to have to do a lot of coaching this year.


Overall

NBA.com's Grade: C+

This grade is pretty fair for the offseason moves and where the roster stands right now. As Scott Howard-Cooper notes in his summary, this team is clearly in transition. The roster isn't completely devoid of talent like last year's Charlotte Bobcats, but it won't be challenging for a title either. This year's Suns are a team with middling talent and no stars. But they also have some young intriguing players that will be worth watching develop.

Bright Side's Grade: C+

Poll
What grade would you give the Suns?

  725 votes | Results


Apr 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Timberwolves dancers cheers during the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Target Center The Suns won 114-90. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Definitely a tough situation. With likely six of the eight playoff seeds in the West already reserved (LA-1, LA-2, OKC, MEM, SA, DEN), barring major injury issues, the last two spots in the Western playoff picture will likely be a dogfight among a half-dozen teams that includes the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves.

It's quite possible (many would say probable) that neither the Suns nor Wolves will make the postseason dance. The Phoenix Suns have no difference-making leader ready to go on opening night, no guy that will right the ship when the going gets tough, no guy that will make game-winners on a regular basis. The Timberwolves, on the other hand, have plenty of potential difference-making talent but little game-winning experience and even less pedigree as an organization since Garnett's departure.

Yet, Suns fans will spend all of next season rooting for these teams to grab those last two seeds in the West. Of course Suns fans want their own team to play into May. But why the Wolves? Because the Suns own the Timberwolves' first-round pick in any season they make the playoffs in the next four years. If the Wolves miss the playoffs all four years, the Suns get only two second-round picks in 2016 and 2017 instead.

This lottery-protected Wolves pick won't set the world on fire. But two is always better than one (or in the case of 2013 or 2015, three is better than two). For example, I'd rather be looking forward to two of Marshall/Moultrie/Jones/ Wroten/Harkless/Sullinger this next season than one. Wouldn't you?

Poll
Will you actively root for the Timberwolves next season?

  483 votes | Results


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