PHOENIX — At this point in the offseason the Phoenix Suns desperately needed a shooting guard and Shannon Brown badly needed a team. And thus one of the most polarizing Suns players (based on...

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Mar. 18, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown (26) puts up a shot against the Houston Rockets guard Courtney Lee (5) and forward Chase Budinger (10) during the second half at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Rockets 99-86. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE.

July 20: I posted this article just over two months ago. Basically, the conclusion is that Eric Gordon is better than all the options, but that Mayo, Lee and Hill were NOT statistically any more valuable than Shannon Brown.

Gordon got 4 yrs, $58 mil; Hill got 5 yrs, $40 mil; Lee got 4 yrs, $20+ mil; Mayo got 2 yrs, $9 mil; Brown got 2 yrs, $7 mil (only $5.25 mil guaranteed, and with stretch provision could be as little as .58 mil in 2013 if released).

Let's walk down memory lane.

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Originally posted on May 19, 2012:

As we anticipate the free agent frenzy that engulfs the lives of players, front offices and fans throughout the NBA, we fall in love with player A or player B on another team while discounting the guy we saw play nearly every minute of the prior season.

We look at player A and say "I just love ____ part of player A's game! If this guy just gets better at ______, he could be awesome with the Suns!" We all assume that player A will fit in perfectly with the Suns, and that he will be just as interested in improving ______ as we are.

The Suns need more scoring and playmaking from the perimeter. Even Steve Nash, at the end of the season in context of what needs to improve for him to return next season, mentioned the real need for playmakers. He understands that the Suns offense stagnates when he is resting or playing off the ball or being trapped and forced to give the ball up to the mismatch.

With Shannon Brown a unrestricted free agent and Jared Dudley truly being more of a swingman than a pure shooting guard, the Suns have an obvious opening or two at the shooting guard spot.

One early ranking of overall free agents mentions nearly a dozen shooting guards, but only a few match the Suns' desire for youth and "value", having no intention to overpay a free agent this summer if at all possible. To fit the criteria of young prospects, all of these guys are restricted free agents who have yet to reach their prime years.

Some rules I followed, to determine the 5 potential signings here:

  • I looked only at the one ranking of free agents, so if I missed anyone it was an oversight due to lack of effort on my part and all blame should be foisted on me as a result.
  • I have purposely focused only on the shooting guard prospects in this article, since the Suns simply have to sign someone to share 48 minutes with Jared Dudley.
  • I have ignored older players, such as Vince Carter, Mo Williams and (not listed because he hasn't opted out yet) Jamal Crawford
As you'll see, the pickings are slim at shooting guard this summer. Much more plentiful are point guards, small forwards and bigs, though most of the best of those are RFAs as well. All numbers are from the 2011-12 season except for Eric Gordon's due to his injury.

Suns-sg-prospects_medium

Click on the pic to make it bigger, or click on this link to the page on basketball-reference.com.

In looking through the prospective free agents this summer, I found 5 potential signings and compared them to the Suns' Jared Dudley.

I included Dudley here for reference because (a) the new player would ideally be a better player than Dudley or the Suns are just treading water and (b) because Dudley makes $4.25 million per season for the next 3 years.

Certainly, Eric Gordon will and SHOULD make more than Dudley. He is a better scorer and better passer, though not a better shooter or rebounder. But simply, Gordon can create and make his own shots, and he is 3 years younger than Dudley.

But what about the others?

George Hill is a better passer than Dudley, a better defender and at least as good a shooter, but he is small (6'2") and is a better fit as a combo guard coming off the bench. Hill is a winner - an efficient scorer and defender - but is he any better than the role players the Suns already have? Hill is, at best, a 5th- to 8th-best player on a contending team. The Suns boast 5 of those already.

Courtney Lee profiles similarly to George Hill. He can shoot and defend, but is a bit undersized. His ceiling, as well, appears to be a 5th- to 8th-best player on a contender.

O.J. Mayo? He numbers look awfully pedestrian is this context of being compared to peers. He is a scorer and can pass pretty well, but is not a good shooter or defender. He is still young though, so his potential may still be tapped by a team willing to give him the minutes. The talent is there, but is the drive?

Which brings us back to Shannon Brown.

Brown wants to return and has already finished his half-season adjustment to a new team and a new offense. He knows the Suns, the staff, the defensive and offensive schemes and, especially, his role. His second half was of high quality, and given the options out there that fit the Suns' criteria he just might be the best one.

If they can get Eric Gordon this summer, that's great. He's young and talented and worth a whole lot of money.

But if Gordon is gone, there is no need to overpay for the next best option. One of Brown, Mayo, Lee or Hill will come reasonably this summer and will provide roughly the same value that Brown gave us this past season.

The Suns can then spend their money on a PF (Brook Lopez?) or SF (Nic Batum). Or just wait until 2013 to break the bank.




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LAS VEGAS — It will go down as the single worst defeat in the history of the Phoenix Suns franchise. On Friday night, the Summer League team sent from the Valley was vanquished by the D-League...

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Well our summer Suns got pummeled by an older and much more experienced NBA D-League Select Team. Once again there was not much offense and the team's energy seemed to be lacking greatly. I had extreme technical difficulties attempting to watch this game so I really can't give much analysis from my end. But I reached out to Bright Side friends and got some great info to recap for you.

From Kristopher Habbas of SB Nation Arizona -

The flow of a game is a direct effect of the point guard on leading the show. In terms of flow there was none tonight. The team ran in spots, settled in to the half court in others, and played street ball the rest of the time. Marshall looked comfortable when the Suns had shooters spread out in the corners for him to attack and create for, but that is hard to do with no elite shooters on the roster.

Check out more of his recap and evaluation of tonight's game over at the mother-ship.

For stats and Alex's thoughts on tonight's game, take the jump!

Here's the final Box score -

Here's Alex's take -

From What I saw:

The Suns looked uninterested in the game, and the pieces look ill-suited together. No one can make a jump shot - not one professional jump shooter on that team. So Morris just have to make something happen after getting the ball on the college 3-point line in post position. Rarely did that end with a good shot because the defense collapsed. Occasionally Morris located a cutter, but mostly guys just stood around watching.

Marshall looked unemotional - something we will have to get used to. But then after I turned the game off on my end, Coro tweeted some nice things. Apparently Marshall turned it on at the end, and finished with 10 and 6. Not bad compared to how he started.

In general the D-League guys were heavily experienced and seemed to know how to make shots. And a couple 7-footers made some threes as well as inside post-ups. Too bad they appeared 92 years old.
And here's one of the tweets from Coro that Alex was talking about,

Marshall is finishing strong tonight. He hit a J when the defender went under, got his third steal & is pushing the pace more.

— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) July 21, 2012

Check out Paul's other tweets as well.

There's one more game left in the Summer League - hopefully our team can pull it together and find some energy to make it competitive.


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