In advance of this weekend’s home-and-home series with the Los Angeles Lakers, Valley of the Suns exchanged questions with ESPN Land O’ Lakers writer Brian Kamenetzky. Here’s what he had to say: Ryan...

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In this week's episode of the Sunscast hosts Byran Gibberman and Seth Pollack discuss the Suns three-game losing streak and what's going on in the second half of games.

We also get into the recent column in the Arizona Republic about the Suns rebuilding plans, talk about Marcin Gortat's defense, ponder why David Lee isn't a Sun, and spend a bit too much time talking about Jeremy Lin.

Subscribe on iTunes or stream online after the jump and you can find all the past episodes here.

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Gortat lays it in against the smaller Budinger. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For such a big guy who likes to mix it up on defense and grab rebounds in traffic, it sometimes appears that Marcin Gortat is reluctant to draw contact when he has the ball in his hands. He will duck and weave and fade like a contortionist to get a clean, unfettered shot at the rim.

Heck, the Polish Hammer doesn't even seem interested in crowd-pleasing slam dunks. I don't believe I've ever seen a dunk in traffic from our Polish Hammer. Even when the defense parts like the red sea, he is more inclined put up a lefty layup than rattle the gym with a two-hander.

But maybe I'm biased. Maybe my NBA-colored glasses are tainted from years of watching high-flying, slam-dunking Amare Stoudemire roam the hardwood for the Suns, basically playing the same position that Gortat now occupies, and regularly dunking in traffic and on the pick and roll. Maybe I'm biased by memories of Shawn Marion getting dunks in transition and on back-door cuts. And certainly I'm biased by the sports network highlight reels.

In fact, a quick look at basketball-reference.com shows me evidence of my bias.

Gortat-fta_medium

Gortat ranks 12th in the league among centers (C, C-F, F-C) in free-throw attempts per game, even though its a mere 3.8. That's nothing to sneeze at.

You might argue that some of those guys don't get the touches that Gortat gets, so of course they won't get the foul calls either. But even when you rank Gortat in terms of those centers with the highest field goal attempts per 36 minutes (ie. the most offense-oriented centers), Gortat still compares favorably.

Gortat-fga-fta_medium

So maybe I've just been harsh on Gortat because I was spoiled by Amare's ferociousness.

Instead, I should be thrilled with his consistent 15, 10 and 2 along with stellar defense, and stop waiting for the Hammer part of his nickname to emerge in the form of Amare Stoudemire.

Marcin's Hammer is his consistency - just like a carpenter's hammer. Every game is like a fresh nail. He pounds the floor, pounds the opposition and delivers the same results. 15 points. 10 rebounds. 2 blocks. Stellar defense.


How long has it historically taken to rebuild through the draft? The Suns recently intimated that the process can take between 8-10 years….

I have conducted my own research which I will share with you in an exercise that may support or refute the Suns position, or may just obfuscate the situation even more.

For the purpose of this analysis, the rebuilding period is defined as including the season prior to when the team first drafted in the top 5 and extending to the year before the team made the playoffs in consecutive years. This is an arbitrary set of parameters selected to promote a guideline. As is true with most analysis tools, it is not infallible.

The function of this research is not to be partisan or tendentious, but merely to show how the results unfold under the selected parameters. Please feel free to analyze the data and draw your own conclusions to share in the comments below.

Teams that made it back to the playoffs in consecutive seasons in 1-3 years (including the year they drafted in the top 5) are in green. 4-6 years is yellow. 7-9 years is orange. 10+ years is red. Gray highlights are used to indicate teams which have already been counted (they are not counted multiple times). The rebuilding timeframe is measured from their first top 5 selection.

Trudge on to view a ponderous set of data…

1990

New Jersey Nets

Derrick Coleman

1992

1993

2

Seattle SuperSonics

Gary Payton

1991

1992

1

Denver Nuggets

Chris Jackson

1994

1995

4

Orlando Magic

Dennis Scott

1994

1995

4

Charlotte Hornets

Kendall Gill

1993

1995

1997

1998

7

1991

Charlotte Hornets

Larry Johnson

1993

1995

1997

1998

6

New Jersey Nets

Kenny Anderson

1992

1993

1

Sacramento Kings

Billy Owens

1996

1999

2000

5

Denver Nuggets

Dikembe Mutombo

1994

1995

3

Miami Heat

Steve Smith

1992

1994

1996

1997

5

1992

Orlando Magic

Shaquille O'Neal

1994

1995

2

Charlotte Hornets

Alonzo Mourning

1993

1995

1997

1998

5

Minnesota Timberwolves

Christian Laettner

1997

1998

5

Dallas Mavericks

Jimmy Jackson

2001

2002

9

Denver Nuggets

LaPhonso Ellis

1994

1995

2

1993

Orlando Magic

Chris Webber

1994

1995

1

Philadelphia 76ers

Shawn Bradley

1999

2000

6

Golden State Warriors

Anfernee Hardaway

1994

2007

18

Dallas Mavericks

Jamal Mashburn

2001

2002

8

Minnesota Timberwolves

Isaiah Rider

1997

1998

4

1994

Milwaukee Bucks

Glenn Robinson

1999

2000

5

Dallas Mavericks

JasonKidd

2001

2002

7

Detroit Pistons

Grant Hill

1996

1997

2

Minnesota Timberwolves

Donyell Marshall

1997

1998

3

Washington Bullets

Juwan Howard

1997

2005

2006

11

1995

Golden State Warriors

Joe Smith

2007

Los Angeles Clippers

Antonio McDyess

1997

2006

16

Philadelphia 76ers

Jerry Stackhouse

1999

2000

4

Washington Bullets

Rasheed Wallace

1997

2005

2006

10

Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Garnett

1997

1998

2

1996

Philadelphia 76ers

Allen Iverson

1999

2000

3

Toronto Raptors

Marcus Camby

2000

2001

4

Vancouver Grizzlies

Shareef Abdur-Rahim

2004

2005

8

Milwaukee Bucks

Stephon Marbury

1999

2000

3

Minnesota Timberwolves

Ray Allen

1997

1998

1

1997

San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan

1998

1999

1

Philadelphia 76ers

Keith Van Horn

1999

2000

2

Boston Celtics

Chauncey Billups

2002

2003

5

Vancouver Grizzlies

Antonio Daniels

2004

2005

7

Denver Nuggets

Tony Battie

2004

2005

7

1998

Los Angeles Clippers

Michael Olowokandi

2006

Vancouver Grizzlies

Mike Bibby

2004

2005

6

Denver Nuggets

Raef LaFrentz

2004

2005

6

Toronto Raptors

Antawn Jamison

2000

2001

2

Golden State Warriors

Vince Carter

2007

1999

Chicago Bulls

Elton Brand

2005

2006

6

Vancouver Grizzlies

Steve Francis

2004

2005

5

Charlotte Hornets

Baron Davis

2000

2001

1

Los Angeles Clippers

Lamar Odom

2006

Toronto Raptors

Jonathan Bender

2000

2001

1

2000

New Jersey Nets

Kenyon Martin

2002

2003

2

Vancouver Grizzlies

Strmile Swift

2004

2005

4

Los Angeles Clippers

Darius Miles

2006

Chicago Bulls

Marcus Fizer

2005

2006

5

Orlando Magic

Mike Miller

2001

2002

1

2001

Washington Wizards

Kwame Brown

2005

2006

4

Los Angeles Clippers

Tyson Chandler

2006

Atlanta Hawks

Pau Gasol

2008

2009

7

Chicago Bulls

EddyCurry

2005

2006

4

Golden State Warriors

Jason Richardson

2007

2002

Houston Rockets

Yao Ming

2004

2005

2

Chicago Bulls

Jay Williams

2005

2006

3

Golden State Warriors

Mike Dunleavy, Jr.

2007

Memphis Grizzlies

Drew Gooden

2004

2005

2

Denver Nuggets

Nikoloz Tskitishvili

2004

2005

2

2003

Cleveland Cavaliers

Lebron James

2006

2007

3

Detroit Pistons

Darko Milicic

2004

2005

1

Denver Nuggets

Carmelo Anthony

2004

2005

1

Toronto Raptors

ChrisBosh

2007

2008

4

Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade

2004

2005

1

2004

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard

2007

2008

3

Charlotte Bobcats

Emeka Okafor

2010

7

Chicago Bulls

Ben Gordon

2005

2006

1

Los Angeles Clippers

Shaun Livingston

2006

Washington Wizards

Devin Harris

2005

2006

1

2005

Milwaukee Bucks

Andrew Bogut

2006

5

Atlanta Hawks

Marvin Williams

2008

2009

3

UtahJazz

Deron Williams

2007

2008

2

New Orleans Hornets

Chris Paul

2008

2009

3

Charlotte Bobcats

Raymond Felton

2010

2006

Toronto Raptors

Andrea Bargnani

2007

2008

1

Chicago Bulls

LaMarcus Aldridge

2007

2009

2010

3

Charlotte Bobcats

Adam Morrison

2010

Portland TrailBlazers

Tyrus Thomas

2009

2010

3

Atlanta Hawks

Shelden Williams

2008

2009

2

2007

Portland TrailBlazers

GregOden

2009

2010

2

Seattle SuperSonics

Kevin Durant

2010

2011

3

Atlanta Hawks

AlHorford

2008

2009

1

Memphis Grizzlies

Mike Conley, Jr.

4

Boston Celtics

JeffGreen

2008

2009

1

2008

Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose

2009

2010

1

Miami Heat

Michael Beasley

2009

2010

1

Minnesota Timberwolves

O. J.Mayo

3

Seattle SuperSonics

Russell Westbrook

2010

2011

2

Memphis Grizzlies

KevinLove

2009

Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin

Memphis Grizzlies

Hasheem Thabeet

2011

Oklahoma City Thunder

James Harden

2010

2011

1

Sacramento Kings

Tyreke Evans

Minnesota Timberwolves

Ricky Rubio

2010

Washington Wizards

John Wall

Philadelphia 76ers

Evan Turner

2011

New Jersey Nets

Derrick Favors

Minnesota Timberwolves

Wesley Johnson

Sacramento Kings

DeMarcus Cousins

2011

Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving

Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Williams

UtahJazz

Enes Kanter

Cleveland Cavaliers

Tristan Thompson

Toronto Raptors

Jonas Valanciunas

Here are the results of the data:

1-3 years 19

4-6 years 13

7-9 years 6

10+ years 3

Mean 4.6 years

Median 4 years

A couple things of note (please feel free to add to these below):

If one excludes the Clippers, Bullets/Wizards, and Warriors from the analysis, it becomes 50% 1-3 years, 34% 4-6 years, 16% 7-9 years. The mean would then become 3.7 years.

The results don’t include rebuilding efforts from 2009 to current.

What does this data say about the role of management and ownership?

How much of a role does luck play?

What about the opposing position, rebuilding through free agency and trades? Maybe the rebuttal could take a look at teams with 2 straight losing seasons that didn’t make it to the top 5 in the lottery and how they fared in the successive years after that stretch?

So what do you think fellow Brightsiders, is the Suns claim fact or fiction?


Photo

(SB Nation Arizona, Scott Coleman) The Phoenix Suns have plenty of depth in the back court, but that did not stop the team from working out free agent shooting guard Jermaine Taylor on Thursday afternoon. The good guys at Hoops Rumors provided this update on Taylor, who recently signed with a D-League team.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld says (via Twitter) the Suns will work out Taylor today, while Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets that the 25-year-old will work out for the Clippers tomorrow.

It is unclear why the Sun would work out Taylor, who only played in 36 games last season with the Kings and Rockets, but they surely had a reason for it.

Here was a bit of news and a scouting report on the 25-year old from Ridiculous Upside:

The 25-year-old Taylor is more of a scoring athlete than the shooting guard he's listed as on the roster, but he certainly showed some flashes of ridiculous upside as he earned eight starts with the Kings last season. He originally signed in China this season, but was cut prior to training camp and hasn't played since.

A final decision on Taylor will likely be made in the coming days and we will keep an eye on it. Be sure to check back for continued coverage.


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