Let's take a look at some summer stories on our current/former Phoenix Suns. Yesterday, Seth linked to a link about Grant and Steve's exploits this summer.
Today, I give you nuggets on the NBA schedule, some Suns predictions and stories on Louis Amundson and Goran Dragic.
Get yer Suns news here!
NBA Schedule coming out today
The NBA will release the full 2010-2011 schedule later today (2pm eastern, on NBA.com). We already know the opening week is killer for the Suns, with 2 national games in the first 4 days and all 3 opening games against very tough opponents (Blazers, Jazz and Lakers)
I'll post the schedule here, with some analysis. Just gimme a little time to digest it and make some win/loss guesses. It's always fun to pre-analyze how the season will go, based on home/away/B2B and the like.
In the meantime, feast your thoughts on these links...
Update on the as-yet-unsigned Lou
Lou gives you 15-20 difference-making minutes a night (4-5 pts, 4-5 rebounds, 10-12 raucous cheers). He is, in my opinion, head and shoulders above the other remaining free agents on the market. And for his troubles, he deserves some cheese. Some lettuce. Some walking-around money.
But not once this summer have I heard how much cheese Lou really wants.
This nugget came out today, with regard to the New Jersey Nets' opening at PF:
Power forward update: There is no update.
Basically, there is no other guy they can induce with a make-good, as they did with Sean May. Louis Amundson wants a $3 million guarantee, which is fair. Joe Smith wants a full guarantee. Even Malik Allen wants a half-guarantee.
The other guys who might be decent stopgaps are coming off surgeries – specifically Brian Scalabrine (shoulder) and Ike Diogu (ACL), so you’re not going to invest there, either. Josh Boone? Definitely in the been-there-done-that-forget-it category.
So for now, it’s status quo: There’s no one left in the free agent pool they’re going to give any guaranteed money to, we’re told by a few agents with homeless clients. Which means the Nets are going to have to trade a commodity for a commodity to plug the hole at the four-spot.
Lou wants 3 million a year. Sounds fair. I just wonder whether his price varies based on the quality of the team. I'd love to see him get some run on the Miami Heat, as a backup energy guy to Bosh. I know, I know. The Heat are the Evil Empire. But still, Lou deserves quality minutes on a winning team where he can make a difference.
Anyone but the Lakers, that is. And the Spurs. And the Nuggets. And the Thunder. Okay, he can sign with anyone in the East. That works for me.
Now, let's move on to our very own Goran Dragic.
I found and google-translated a little story on him in a Spanish newspaper, previewing the Spain/Slovenia game coming up in Goran's hometown:
The baton of the team has two owners: the base of Barcelona, Jaka Lakovic, and his young and outstanding disciple, the electric Goran Dragic. While the former the level at which he usually does, the latter is gaining little by little in the starting lineup.
...Dragic decided two years ago to cross the pond to test the NBA adventure with the Phoenix Suns, where he not only adapted fast but is integrated seamlessly between the major players in the rotation of the franchise.
It's nice to see a story from half the world away talk about Goran with the same respect he gets from Phoenix and Slovenia fans.
Now maybe I'm just being petty, but I can't wait to see what Hollinger from ESPN writes about Goran this fall in his annual indepth preview of every player in the NBA. That guy has spent two years writing about how bad Goran is, and how stupid the Suns were to give up a second rounder and 500K to draft him, then 2 million a year to sign him. Goran is a steal now.
Here's a snippet of what Hollinger wrote about Goran a year ago, on ESPN insider:
Remind me again why they jumped through so many hoops to get this guy? Dragic was tragic as a rookie, shooting 39.3 percent from the field and leaving serious questions as to whether he'll ever be a competent pro point guard.
Dragic heads into the season still in possession of the backup point guard job, more by default than by any strong desire to see him fire the ball all over the gym again. The Suns will revert back to Leandro Barbosa, however, if Dragic struggles as much as he did a season ago. While rookies with high turnover rates often make huge gains in their second season, Dragic would need to make a fairly impressive leap just to be competent.
An overall Suns season prediction, from a Laker fan/reporter
Check this one out (click). It's actually one of the Suns-fan-friendliest predictions yet. Pincus writes respectfully about many of the acquisitions this summer, though he ultimately questions how far the Suns will go.
That's okay with me. The Suns have a lot more fun when they're counted out.
Here's a discussion of the Suns/Jazz game during opening week
Phoenix at Utah (Oct. 28, TNT) — As interested as I am in seeing Deron Williams vs. Steve Nash, I’m more interested in seeing how the Suns are going to deal with Utah’s revamped front line. I envision Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap devouring Hakim Warrick like two lions picking over the carcass of an impala, while Mehmet Okur serves Robin Lopez an eyeful of jumpers.
Really? Does it not occur to this gentleman that he has the matchups totally wrong? Lopez/Frye would guard Jefferson, Warrick/Turk would guard Millsap, and Turkoglu/Frye would guard Okur.
By they way, I also can't wait to see Lopez attack Jefferson, and Turkoglu shoot over and drive past the shorter Millsap and Okur. Ditto for Warrick. It goes both ways, buddy. utah's defense will be atrocious. Plus, the Suns will likely be playing some zone, allowing Lopez to guard anyone close to the basket, while Warrick/Turk would take one side of the baseline.
Got any other Suns-related links?