I've been on the Jersey shore the past few days waiting for a hurricane, quietly pondering a number of thoughts about the 2010-11 season, and much, much more. Obviously we have to wait and see how things play out, so a lot of these questions will continue to go unanswered for a few more months or longer. But I have to dump somewhere, so why not here?
- How will the new front office reconfiguration affect the squad on the floor? Or How will Blanks, Sarver, and Babby get along? How will the power structure play out? Is Blanks a puppet GM for the time being until he earns his stripes so to speak? Blanks must understand what his role will be, it wouldn't have been fair for Sarver to hire him without letting him now how things would work. Still, one has to wonder how much leash he'll get to make his own decisions. Regardless, there seem to be a lot cooks in the kitchen at the moment.
- At what point does Gentry get a new contract and more money? How is it he didn't earn that last season? Gentry is a good soldier. He says the right things and more importantly I believe he is thinking the right things: Put in the work, support the powers that be, win games, and you'll get what you deserve. It's a sincere, winning attitude. But at some point do you start wondering what it's going to take to get rewarded? Maybe Sarver and Gentry have an understanding that we aren't privvy to.
- Will Dudley eventually be the odd man out? I love Dudz. I love what he brings to the team and I love his personality. He has a year left on his current deal so discussing this may not be relevant yet. But I wonder what the FO has in store for Jared. Dudz may never be a starting 3 in the NBA. We saw a trend last season that seemed to suggest Dudley became less effective the longer he was on the floor. Was it conditioning? Was it the fact that he has never played big minutes in his career? Or is Dudz simply a career 6th man?
Jared's future may be tied to a number of other factors. In the Kerr regime, Earl Clark was the heir apparent to Grant Hill. But Clark's lack of progress, J-Chill and Hedo's arrival, coupled with Amare's departure add question marks to the equation. If Clark is a bust or moves to the 4, then Dudley becomes much more important to the Suns. In that case you want to invest in the guy, lock him up and pay him. But consider a front line of Lopez/Hedo/Dudley. Does Lopez's size make up for the lack of Dudley athleticism and Hedo size? Could J-Chill be a better option at the 3 than Dudley? Maybe, but if J-Rich is gone without a legit replacement at the 2, Chill is the man there. I guess I've answered my question here. Dudz is a nice player, a great locker room guy, but he may not be a long term answer in the same vein that LB wasn't. Again we have to wait and see how things play out. I hate that.
- Is 2010-11 the End of the Line For J-Rich? It depends on how bad he wants to be a Sun right? For the right price J-Rich should stay. But there's been little talk of an extension and up until the 2010 post season it was a forgone conclusion that JRich had been a mild disappointment and the Suns would either deal him for whatever they could get or let him walk after 2011. Now, it's a different story. There is really no replacement after Childress (Janning?) and there's no given that Childress is going to bring the same production that J-Rich will, especially sunce he's been playing in the Greek league for two years. If the Suns are in the midst of the playoff hunt around trade deadline time, they can't afford to get rid of J-Rich, unless the return is too good to refuse. J-Rich is the prototypical 2 in that he is a threat from down town, has the big body to defend, rebound, and post up. LB proved to us how valuable a big 2 is in the NBA and how unvaluable an undersized one is. In addition, Rich is a great locker room guy which adds into the equation.
- How Will Steve Nash Adjust His New Role? The plan is to utilize the versatility of Hedo and turn Nash into more of a scorer. It sounds great in theory but how will a guy who made his career making others look good adapt to taking on more of a selfish attitude? It may be no big deal at all. Just shoot the ball. I suppose the real question is whether we will still see a 50/40 season from Nash with increased FG attempts. I think it's worth the experiment.
- When Will One of the Mainstream Media Experts Give the Phoenix Suns a Little Credit? I don't mean to whine, and coming in under the radar worked last season. But let's face it, year in year out the Suns aren't tough enough, they don't play D, they're too old, the bench is weak, etc all. There is every reason in the world to leave them out of the playoff hunt and criticize them. But this franchise has missed the playoffs only a handful of times in the past 20 years. Perhaps someone in this organization knows a little something about the game.
This year it's the loss of Amare Stoudemire. Losing 20 and 9 is difficult, but the so-called experts were saying STAT wasn't max worthy. Now they're saying that he's irreplaceable to the Suns and the reason why they won be able to reach last year's success.
Hedo and Hakim are not Amare and maybe even combined won't hit 20 and 9. But why does that production have to come from the 4? There will be more ball to spread around, and perhaps Nash, Goran, and J-Chill (or insert name) increase their scoring totals. I could go on about the East Coast media bias thing or playing in the same division as the Lakers, but it's really not the point. The proof is in the pudding, and the Suns answer the bell every season, year in, year out. Why should this season be any different?
Got something to dump, let's hear it: