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With the Phoenix Suns roster already very near capacity, having 12 players already signed to a contract, there is very little space for any new additions. NBA teams must sign a minimum of 13 players, and a maximum of 15 players by the start of the season. However, the Suns have elected to carry only the minimum of 13 players on their roster over the last several years. If this trend continues, then only one of the five players who were invited to training camp (Ike Diogu, Diante Garrett, Othyus Jeffers, Solomon Jones, and Luke Zeller) will be signed to the actual roster.

One of the more likely of the five to win that spot is former Arizona State University stand-out Ike Diogu. Diogu averaged an impressive 21.4 points and 8.8 rebounds during his three-years at ASU, and was originally drafted 9th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2005 NBA Draft.

Diogu is a 29 year old 6'8", 250lb power forward who has bounced around between seven different teams in his six year NBA career. Although his height at 6'8" is considered a little small for an NBA power forward, his 7'3.5" wingspan and strength helps him compensate.

Here is a look at his stats during his NBA career thus far:

Ike_diogu_per_game_medium

As you can see, Diogu has never made a major impact for any team in his six year NBA career. However, he has never really received an abundance of minutes either, and his "Per 36" stats tell a slightly different story:

Ikr_diogu_per_36_medium

With the exception of his two-game stint with San Antonio last season, Diogu has been fairly productive in his limited minutes. Not only that, but Diogu was very impressive this summer while playing for the Nigerian Olympic team averaging 14.8 points and 9 rebounds per game, which definitely caught the attention of many NBA teams...including the Suns.

Kris Habbas of SB Nation Arizona conducted an interview with Ike Diogu about coming back to Arizona, his play for the Nigerian Olympic team, as well as what he expects this summer during Suns' training camp:


For those of you who aren't familiar with Diogu as a player and would like to see him in action...well...as you might expect, there just aren't many recent highlight videos for a guy who's been a journeyman in the league for six seasons. However, here is one that was made after his rookie season in Golden State if you would like to get a little taste of Diogu's game:


Odds are that Ike Diogu has a very good chance of making the roster as the Suns' 13th man. He is an experienced, long & strong player who can bang down low and contribute if called upon to do so. Ultimately, it will all come down to how well he plays in training camp and during the pre-season, as well as how he gels with his teammates. However, with Channing Frye out for the season and the Suns still in need of more big men who can score in the post and guard the paint, he certainly seems like a good fit.


The blog previews continue, this time with a look at the Suns’ very own Pacific Division. Check out how these blogs feel the Suns and their division rivals will stack up this season. Golden...

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Training camps in sports all have their own rituals. One thing common to all, however, is the inevitable optimism which is often expressed in the form of players proclaiming their improved physical prowess. The Phoenix Suns are no exception and in this case, it's center Marcin Gortat bragging about his...self.

Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat in mood to brag

"I'm 100 percent sure I've become a better player and hopefully I show it this season," Gortat said. "I'm in incredible shape. I'm definitely missing a few pounds because I didn't have enough time to get in the weight room. But we've got the new nickname 'Polish Gazelle.' Trust me, I can outrun everybody, even point guards."

You go, big feller! I'm 100 percent sure that we will hear all about how great Marcin is feeling until such time as he's not feeling 100 percent and then we'll probably not hear about that. It's the cycle of life (kind of).


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Long before the NBA free agency period arrived in July, I thought Michael Beasley was a guy the Suns should target. Look it up, fool, if you don't believe me! Anyway, in Phoenix the talented forward with the troubled past would be partnered up with Alvin Gentry who I consider the perfect coach for young Michael.

Just like all the great dads, Gentry shows just the right balance of fatherly love with stern hand. His players WANT to please him. And he's had plenty of experience with mercurial players having coached a young Lamar Odom as well as his time with Amare Stoudemire.

Here's how Amare described Alvin back in 2009:

Amare introduces Terry Porter to the underside of a bus - Bright Side Of The Sun
"[...]You want a coach that you can really hug and hold and high five and really have fun with. That makes it fun play. You can high five and hug your team mates. You don't want to have fear of your coach. You want to be respectable with him but you also want to be a friend with him."

Guys like Matt Barnes, however, would surely tell you that Gentry isn't afraid to lay the wood to his players when needed. I've personally heard Angry Alvin through the closed practice doors enough times to know that Gentry isn't just Mr. Nice Guy with his players.

That's exactly what Beasley needs. He needs a coach who will love him and build his confidence but will also get on him and make him want to change his ways.

Maybe it won't work, but I 100 percent believe that Alvin Gentry is Michael Beasley's best hope for turning his career around.

From Paul Coro's camp report we are seeing the first signs:

Phoenix Suns' Michael Beasley working on consistency, defense
"It makes me feel good, not just as a player but as a person," Beasley said. "It makes me feel like somebody believes in me. I feel like us as players, from one to 432 (in the NBA), that's all we need."


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The next best thing to watching a game is to follow a live blog of it! The scrimmage is set to start at noon today in San Diego. Goran Dragic will not play (turned ankle). We'll find out later this morning who else is too sore to play as well.

Look for Martin's updates on the blognbasketball website throughout the scrimmage, followed by a recap that we'll post on BSotS later this afternoon.

LIVE BLOG HERE

Don't get your hopes up too high for this scrimmage, folks. Usually, it's barely better than a pickup game at the park amongst guys with feet dipped in cement. They've been doing two-a-days all week after a six month vacation (except for Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola, that is). And they're learning a whole new offense to boot.

Use the comments section to tell us what you want Martin to focus on besides "everything".


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