How do you accommodate a plethora of talented scorers...?

Sacrifice is a concept that is talked about a lot for professional athletes when it comes to the betterment of the team as a whole. It is an easy thing to talk about, as a theory, but in execution sacrifice is tougher than meets the eye. Not all professional athletes have the capacity to set aside individual preference for group cohesion.

Again, not every professional has that capacity.

To defend those that cannot do this for a minute, could you? How easy you shift the way you have done things from as long as you could remember doing them? Oh, and you were always the best at what you do at your school, job, team, or general environment.

Not as easy as it may seem on the surface.

Every now and then there is an opportunity for a team to be great based on the individual parts collected, but those parts have to figure out how to play with each other. If you have multiple engines, while that is great in theory, that is not a functional vehicle. A few of those engines needs to become a wheel or another functional component of the vehicle.

When Chris Bosh went to the Miami Heat he went from 22.8 points per game, 9.9 rebounds per game, and 15.9 shots per game in 37.6 minutes as the best player not only on his team, but in an entire country.


He dropped to 17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 13.0 shots per game in 34.1 minutes as the universally accepted third banana role in Miami.

All the numbers take a dip, but trading in three shots, two rebounds, and six points a night for four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals with the potential of a third ring. Are headlines and stats the most important determining factor for success?

On this year's Mercury team every player has to fall into a niche and become a part of the machine. For DeWanna Bonner it is taking advantage of her length, size, and quickness on the court to become the defensive stopper that the Mercury has never had. This has always been about the offense. Bonner can score. No one will question that after Bonner put up 20.3 points per game in the injury filled 2012 season and 14.5 points per game the next year next to Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. She can get buckets as needed.

"It's fun and I enjoy playing defense," Bonner on her new role. "I have my teammates back there helping me out back there. She (Coach Brondello) told me that is what I need to focus on so that is what I am focusing on."

Bonner's niche so far has been assertive, aggressive defense on the perimeter against the opponents' best offensive weapons. From Sue Bird to Alana Beard to Odyssey Sims to Kayla McDaniel they have all had their worst nights of the season against the Mercury, and their new defensive weapon.

With the scoring and offense flowing through Taurasi and Griner out to the three-point shooters leaving Bonner limited play-making responsibility.

Once the offense clicks to the highest level and there is a more defined role for Bonner on that end she is tasked with being the team's defensive catalyst. A role she has accepted with a smile.

"I score when I need to, but on defense, that is where we were lacking a little bit the past few years," Bonner the transition. "That is definitely my focus this year."

With her skill level on the offensive end Bonner could be a 20+ point scorer on half the teams in the WNBA today. She is that good on that end, which further emphasizes her commitment and excellence so far on the defensive end. Full-court, end-to-end, and against any type of offensive talent Bonner has risen her game to that next level on the defensive end. She has shown flashes of being a great defender and consistently been a very good defender since the opening tip of the season.

Would you rather be the Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, or Bosh for a Championship Dynasty or the Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, or Carmelo Anthony for a fringe playoff team?

Where Bonner and Bosh sacrifice on the offensive end they make up for it on the defensive end and in winning in the game of basketball. That is what makes a great team and a great teammate.

In today's NBA a seven footer that can shoot threes, run the floor and block shots is a very desirable commodity. Can Porzingis be effectively groomed into this role at the NBA level?

First of all, a profile for Kristaps Porzingis has already been written (probably better than I can manage) by one of our contributors, Nick Klimas, as a fanpost. If you only have time/interest to read one article about Porzingis click over to his and leave my bush league ramblings for someone ravenous enough to consume all things Kristaps and Suns' draft coverage related.

He's got some other great video footage of Porzingis doing Porzingis things that I'm not going to copy over to my piece since I'm attempting not to plagiarize his masterpiece (or am I?). Big ups Nick.

Now, for anyone still here, let's break down the Lean Mean Latvian Machine...


Origin: Ventspils, Lativa

Age: 18 (8/2/1995)

Height: 7'0"

Weight: 220 pounds

Porzingis didn't participate in the NBA Draft Combine so there aren't any measurements, but length and athleticism don't appear to be a concern. From all accounts, if he would have measured he would have done well (although some list him as 6' 11").

Draft Predictions

Draft Express - 21

*On their 6/9 update Kristaps jumped to 15

HoopsHype - 21 - 21 - 27 (Suns)

NBA Draft Insider - 24

Chad Ford's Top 100 - 18

Draft Express has Porzingis jumping six spots in their most recent mock, which might suggest that teams may be drooling over the wunderkind's potential. On the other end of the spectrum, has Kristaps going to the Suns at 27.


Porzingis plays for CB Sevilla (Spain) in the ACB league.

Kristaps played 35 games and averaged 15.2 minutes per game in the 2013/14 season. He scored 6.9 points and collected 2.8 rebounds and a block (.9) in that time. He shot 47.4% from the field, 30.2% from three point range and 62.5% from the line.

Kristaps was selected to the ACB All-Young Players Team for his performance (the league's best players 22 and under).

Porzingis was just the third player under 20 years old (he's 18) to post at least 2.9 blocks per 40 minutes in the last 20 years. He posted the best blocks per 40 (6.6) in the history of the U18 European Championship. That mark is better than what Serge Ibaka posted at that age.

Scouting Report

Here's my take from looking at the video profile from Porzingis in the ACB. I'm going to come clean and let you know that I haven't broken down a bunch of ACB film recently.

Porzingis can catch lob passes for dunks with one hand or two. The ability to get easy points on that play is definitely in his arsenal.

He can get up and down the court, which definitely fits the Suns' style.

His shooting stroke looks pretty solid, but he will probably need to speed it up. Building consistency here is a must if he's going to entrench himself as an effective player in this league.

He can put the ball on the floor and go to the basket with a little more speed and grace than Channing Frye (for what that's worth). It's probably not something that will be a big part of his game, but there's enough of a threat that it can't be completely ignored.

It appears that some of his shot blocking is predicated on defensive awareness and correct positioning rather than just super athletic weak side ball hawking. He can actually track a player, cover them on a drive and use his length to block the shot.

Besides the shot blocking, Porzingis can also create mayhem on defense with his length and decent footwork. He doesn't look like a very complete defender (to put it nicely), but definitely disruptive.

Porzingis lacks NBA strength. It's not even close, but he's only 18. I'm not sure if adding weight and strength will help, but he lacks physicality and doesn't try to initiate contact (doesn't seem to have an affinity for it). If it wasn't for the potential of his shooting he would be pretty limited as a big.

It looks like he gets a little confused on offense at times and still needs repetitions on simple plays like the pick and roll and setting screens. The ravelment on his face is easily discerned as plays unravel before him on defense, too. He is not mentally up to pace with the speed of the game, which will get a lot faster at the NBA level.

It's easy to make someone look bad (or good) in a scouting video, but Porzingis just standing and watching the ball when he should be working for positioning and bodying up on defensive rebounds is somewhat concerning. I'm not a big fan of ball watchers. This is one of those is rebounding innate or can it be taught dilemmas?


Suns GM Ryan McDonough is on the record saying that he doesn't plan on using all three of the team's first round picks to add players to his roster. It just doesn't make sense to add that much more youth with Len (20) and Goodwin (19) already facing an uphill battle for playing time on a team that is competing to win now. Even adding two draft picks might be difficult unless one is expected to produce right away, which is far from a sure thing picking in the middle of the first round.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who will be nonplused if the Suns actually pick 14, 18 and 27...

Depending on where and if the Suns move around Porzingis could be a great option to help the Suns navigate the luxury problem of their surfeit of picks. Porzingis has draft and stash written all over him, with a two year contract (with a modest buyout) cozily in place. On the surface, getting Porzingis at 27 like one mock suggests would seem to be a pretty good calculated gamble.

Then again, if Porzingis is rising up the board where does the opportunity cost set in?

PHOENIX — It sounds like the NBA squad that selects Kyle Anderson just might be able to do what UCLA Bruins coach Steve Alford did when he took over the basketball program last season....

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

The Phoenix Suns held their 10th pre-draft workout, marking 60 players to hit the US Airways practice floor in the past two weeks. With only 60 picks in the NBA Draft, and the Suns owning just 4 of them, the team has run the gamut of just about every player on their board now.

Today, the Phoenix Suns worked out several guys whose odds are against them in getting called by the Phoenix Suns on draft night. The Suns have already seen nearly all the guys in their draft range, with today's Kyle Anderson visit nearly closing that loop.

Kyle Anderson was the "headliner" as the highest rated player in the group, with other interesting prospects like C.J. Fair, Mike Moser and LaQuinton Ross along with Justin Cobb and Travis Wear.

Anderson is a 6'9' point guard from UCLA who is a great passer, good shooter and quality rebounder but does not have great athleticism and plays at a slower pace than the Suns prefer. Anderson will be taken by a team in the middle of the first round that wants a point-forward type like Boris Diaw. To me, he's a big Kendall Marshall with a better shot and five more inches of height.

The other guys are interesting, but not projected to be drafted at this point. They are summer league, D-League and training camp prospects for the most part.

Here is the full list of today's participants, along with their information:

Prospect Profiles:

Ryan McDonough

On the group

"It was like a Pac-12 All-Star game out there, with Kyle Anderson and Travis Wear, and Mike Moser passed through there as well. There was some good solid players, some good versatility. Some of the big guys we had could do some things on the perimeter as well. That's always good to see, when you can switch guys a little bit."

On Kyle Anderson's NBA position

"That's a good question. I think he's a basketball player. He's extremely skilled for his size, he's very long. He's got a unique passing ability and feel for the game that sets him apart. Offensively, he can play a number of positions. Defensively, he can guard wing guys early in his career.

On how fast/slow Anderson plays

"He plays a little slower (than the Suns prefer to play), but not everybody can lead the break. One of his skills he showed here today was to get the rebound and pass ahead, and let the wing players run under it. That's something I could easily see him doing."

On Anderson's shooting (which sets him apart from Kendall Marshall, for example)

"He shot it very well. He has a high release, which makes it very difficult to defend. He made the NBA threes."

On C.J. Fair's shooting/future

"He's solid (from behind the line). He made a living at the midrange. He might be able to play some stretch four, and the NBA three as well. That's a good question (whether he can guard in the NBA). He was a stretch four in college. He's strong enough and long enough to defend. Usually the on-ball defense comes first, then scheme comes next."

Jeff Hornacek

On Mike Moser:

He's in great shape. I don't think I saw him take a drink once. When I told the guys to get a drink, he'd go to the free throw line and shoot. He's the first guy we've had in here who pressed when we played three-on-three, he went full court.

Final notes

  • Coach Hornacek said the Suns will bring back some guys for second workouts over the next two weeks, to match them up with different guys. "There's usually 6, 8 or 10 guys you want to see again."
  • There is at least one more group workout, first timers, later this week but the Suns won't announce specifics until the day it happens. Stay tuned.

Welcome to the Madhouse! Bright Side of the Sun is an amazing and diverse community and it deserves a place where the tyranny of topicality does not rule. And that's what The Madhouse is. It's Bright Side of the Sun's place to talk about whatever you want, whenever you want: favorite TV shows, news from around the league or how well your air conditioning is working. It's all fair game here.

Page 955 of 2263


Web Links

Sponsored Ads