Here at Bright Side of the Sun we take the words TOTAL COVERAGE pretty dang seriously.
While our beloved Suns are off taking nice vacations, we are still slaving away, attempting to provide you all with first class Suns coverage.
So friends, without further adieu, we present you with the Phoenix Suns Season in Review, 2011-12.
Up for discussion today is Shannon Brown.
Last offseason, the Phoenix Suns looked for a shooting guard who would accept a one-year deal to compete for a starting job. The "one-year-deal" part limited the Suns' chances at real star power. The 2011-12 season was a "bridge" year - a year to tide the team and fans over until enough contracts expired to allow the Suns to start over. One-year deals were the only deals being offered.
The Suns set their sights lower, and positioned the opportunity as a perfect one for a player who wanted to step out of someone else's shadow and prove himself worthy of a bigger role in future seasons, and a bigger contract to go with it.
Enter Shannon Brown.
As Brown said to Paul Coro, beat writer for the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com: "I know one of the things about me they were saying this (past) summer, 'Aw, he can't play out of the (Lakers') triangle. The triangle made him. He can't play out of the triangle.'"
Brown wanted to prove he could do more than dunk in transition and carry Kobe Bryant's water bottle. He is young and freakishly athletic, but hadn't proven to the league's evaluators that he could do more than exhibit a little flash and dash for 10 minutes a game when Kobe rested.
Brown's first season as a Phoenix Sun had its peaks and valleys, but overall had to be categorized as a success for both Brown and the Suns. Shannon Brown is not a savior or a future all-star, but in 19 starts he did average nearly 16 points a game on 43% 3-point shooting. And in stark contrast to the rest of the Suns' roster, Brown created 41% of his points all on his own, without the benefit of an assist from Steve Nash.
We all remember Shannon Brown took a while to get comfortable in the Suns' system. Without the benefit of an offseason program or voluntary workouts with the guys or even a full training camp, Brown was plopped into a 20+ minutes/night shot-creating role next to a struggling point guard.
In the season's first half, his favorite play was the dribble-dance-fallaway-jumpshot in which he somehow managed to close the gap between him and the defender rather than expand it. He was simply trying too hard, and in his moments of confusion he fell back onto the game of his "big brother" Kobe Bryant.
Late in the first half of the season he lost his job to Michael Redd before getting it back by default thanks to Redd's inability to seize it.
But as the season progressed, so did Shannon Brown. After the all-star break, he dribble-danced less and drove to the basket more. He realized the value of catch-and-shoot. He became a smarter player, and stepped up his game even more when Grant Hill got injured.
Brown started the Suns' last 17 games during the toughest stretch of the season. He managed to score 16 points a game, and sunk 43% of his 3-point shot attempts while playing between Steve Nash and Jared Dudley. He did not contribute much in other areas though, with a 1:1 ratio of turnovers to assists, few rebounds and average defensive ability despite his athleticism.
"I came out and showed people that I can play the game of basketball," Brown said. "I'm just tying to continue to get better as a basketball player and I think I'm going to do that each summer."
Brown says he wants to return to Phoenix next season, but this time he wants a better contract. To give him that longer, richer contract though will require the Suns to project Brown even further than he showed last season.
Without projecting any more improvement, you're looking at a guy who can be a spot-starter that will contribute 16 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He is a streaky shooter with average basketball IQ and average defense. He won't lose a game for you, but likely won't win one for you either. That's not a rich, multi-year contract player if you ask me.
For his part, Brown wants to be back in Phoenix even while hedging his bets because the Suns have likely not given him any kind of promises.
"I like it here," Brown said of Phoenix. "I like everything about it. I like the team. I like the facilities. I like the city. The fans. I like everything about it. I don't mind being here again. At the same time, I've got to keep that balance in my mind. It's a business. My plans might not fit other people's plans so I have to prepare for anything."
He is basically Plan C. Or D. Not a real starter or savior, but definitely a backup plan among second-tier guard options. He knows the Suns system, and has proven his ability to produce no matter who surrounds him.
But the Suns are no longer in the business of handing out long contracts like candy. They are going to be smart and conservative going forward.
Is Brown a better option than Eric Gordon? Heck no.
Is Brown better than OJ Mayo? No.
Is Brown better than, say, Alonzo Gee? Probably, maybe. Gee is taller, plays better defense and his teammates love him, but he can't score or shoot the 3-ball.
Is Brown better than Jamal Crawford? Yes, a thousand times yes. While Crawford tends to lose the faith of his teammates, coaches and front office personnel (I mean seriously, saying you "need" to be in Phoenix while standing among your current Portland teammates?!?!), Shannon Brown has been a model citizen.
I happen to know someone who knows someone who works with Suns players, and that person swears Brown is one of the nicest guys on the team.
It's all about expectations. It's not a bad thing to bring Shannon Brown back. It's only bad if you give him a lot of money and/or expect him to earn a regular starting role on a contender. But his two championship rings prove he can earn a regular backup role on a contender.
Steve Nash was officially introduced as the Saviour of Canadian Basketball. Canadian Jesus, Amare might call him. It's a win-win job for Nash. If there's any improvement at all in the Canadian team, Steve gets the credit. If there's no improvement, there's plenty of other things to blame. Go Steve!
According to this
gushing article in SportsNet.ca, Nash's main mission will be fund raising so the players can be flown around in first class and afford socks and balls.
Nash the saviour of Canadian basketball? - sportsnet.ca
Basketball may have been invented by a Canadian, but as far as Canadians playing the game, it was perfected by Steve Nash.
[...]It's estimated the national team will need an additional $4-million to make qualifying for the 2016 Olympics a realistic goal and before Nash came on board Canada Basketball - with his help - was able to get commitments for as much as $2-million already.
If you live in Canada and Steve Nash calls and asks for a donation, would you say no?
Here's some photos of General Manager Nash. Note the Canadian Red pocket square.
(SB Nation Arizona) Are we surprised the Los Angeles Lakers can't get their act together and use their advantages to play like (potential) champs and take care of the Denver Nuggets? No. The Lakers have a long history of underestimating opponents and without the Zen Master pulling the strings and controlling the egos it's even less shocking they are facing the first Game 7 of the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
Thursday's schedule also saw former Arizona Wildcat Andre Iguodala sink key free throws to push the Philadelphia 76ers over the Chicago Bulls with a 79-78 win. They will face the Celtics who also advanced with yet another low-scoring Eastern Conference slug-fest. Boston beat the Atlanta Hawks 83-80. The gap between the quality of play in the East and the West is stark.
With just two series left in Round 1, Friday's schedule will have just one game.
The Grizzlies took advantage of a banged up Chris Paul (hip) to win at home and force a Game 6 on the road. Clearly, the Clips need to win this game and avoid going back to Memphis for a decisive Game 7. It will be interesting to see how both of these respond. At the same time, it doesn't matter much in the big picture since the Spurs are waiting to destroy whoever wins this series.
In the summer of 2010, the Phoenix Suns negotiated a sign-and-trade for former Atlanta Hawks swingman Josh Childress, who was just returning to the NBA from a two-year stint overseas. Childress had earned a reputation as a quality sixth man during his years in Atlanta and many saw the acquisition of the 6-foot-8 wing as a great move. He was expected to provide slashing, rebounding and some lock-down defense on opposing guards and small forwards.
Unfortunately, that isn't exactly how it turned out. Two years into the five-year $33.50 million contract, Childress has only played in 88 of a possible 154 games, averaging just 15.7 minutes per game. Chills has spent more time sitting on the bench (perhaps playing checkers?) than he has on the court.
So what happened?
Childress and his fit on this team has been discussed to death on this blog. At this point, we all know that his inability to knock down the 3-ball, or even the mid-range two, means he has no place playing alongside Nash. The pick-and-roll needs shooters to space the floor for Steve and the big to work in the paint, and even Grant Hill with his reliable,17-footer was pushing it. So Chilly in the starting five was not something we were ever going to see without multiple injuries.
But why could he never crack the rotation as a bench player? Let's dive into the numbers to find out.
Career Per Game Stats:
Looking at his Atlanta numbers, the first thing that jumps out to me is his defensive rating. We were expecting a defensive dynamo when we signed Childress, but even his numbers in Atlanta show that that simply isn't the case. Add in the fact that he spent two years in Greece playing a completely different style of basketball and defending different kinds of players, and it's no wonder he's been a disappointment on that end. So that's strike one.
The second thing that I noticed were his offensive numbers. Chill has never been a go-to guy offensively, but his Atlanta stats show that he used to be a viable threat to score. He was a double-digit scorer in each of his four years with the Hawks, and his shooting percentages and offensive rating are pretty darn good. So why didn't we see that Chilldress? I have two possible reasons.
First, and this one most of you know already, he was not put in a position to maximize his strengths. MySynergySports.com says that 29.6% of Childress' offensive possessions (at least those ending in a FGA, a TO, or FTA) came in spot-up situations, by far the most of any play type. That doesn't seem wise for a player without a reliable jumpshot. Second and third on the list are what were perceived to be Chilly's strengths, cuts to the basket and plays in transition, and he was pretty effective in these situations. However, those two categories accounted for roughly 34 percent of his plays, or a total of 37 out of 108. So why didn't we see more of him in these situations? I'm not really sure.
Second, and my only explanation for why we haven't seen the old Chilly is that he doesn't exist any more, at least for the time being. When I watch him play, I just don't see the same guy that was so effective off the bench for the Hawks. He seems to have lost confidence. He was not aggressive at all offensively on the rare occasions that he got on the court. He just seemed lost out there for the most part.
But there have been flashes of the old Chills. Every now and then, he showcased a little bit of the athleticism and craftiness that made him effective in Atlanta. He certainly plays with energy, as evidenced by his 7.2 offensive rebound percentage, good for third on the team behind the two centers. His ORtg and DRtg were both decent this year at 114 and 107, and he was sixth on the team with 0.92 win shares per 48 minutes (beware small sample size).
Childress also deserves credit for accepting his role. He has racked up plenty of DNP-CDs in his two years in Phoenix, yet we haven't heard any complaints from him. He's also kept himself ready just in case the team needed him, and he responded as well as can be expected when his name was finally called upon.
However, as much as I like Childress, if he can't find a way to get on the court it means he can't produce. With as much as he is being paid, we can't afford him not to produce. Josh has 3 years remaining on his contract, and he is set to make $6.5 million next season with his salary escalating over the following years. The Suns still have the ability to use the amnesty clause, and with the way things have turned out, Childress is a prime candidate to use it on.
So what do you all think? Is there still hope for Chilly in a Suns uniform? Or is this ill-fated union about to come to an end?