Grant Hill IS A MAN!  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez - Getty Images

Grant Hill IS A MAN! (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

View full size photo »

 


 


 

Hey guys and gals, we got ourselves a game tonight!

Wouldn't it be grand if the Phoenix Suns found a way to win another game on the road with a short rotation before accepting their new brethren into the fold to face the HEAT on national television on Thursday night?

Yes! The answer is a simple yes.

SB Nation AZ Preview - Justin Burning

Great preview by our very own mother ship - SB Nation Arizona, and one of our favorite writers.

Still short on players, the Phoenix Suns head to San Antonio to play the Spurs, who have won eight in a row and lead the league standings at 22-3. It's going to be a rough one.

Keep reading after the jump for my own insights and rah-rah... (and maybe some press conference links too...)

Hey Spurs!

U. G. L. Y. You ain't got no alibi! You ugly!

Well, maybe only Manu and Big Red fit that description, though you could make a case for Blair and Splitter in that discussion too.

But still, the Spurs are the Spurs. And they will be looking for a bit of retribution for the demoralizing hammer we hit 'em with in April.

But you know what? The Suns don't give a crap about retribution. They need a win. They need to prove to themselves that those incoming players from Orlando are not the end-all-to-beat-all, that the guys already on the road trip can GET IT DONE!

We got some playas that go by the names of Nash, Hill, Frye, Duds, Chill, Dragon, Hakim and RoLo. They're ready to lay the wood to the streaking Spurs in their building.

Expect the Spurs fans to be stoked for this one, looking for their team to get some payback on the Suns after last year's playoff run.

But if the Suns keep the game close through the third, you KNOW they're going quaking in their boots. Will the Dragon unleash himself on their butts, making everyone look like pedestrians by comparison? Or will Nash beat them with 10 points and 4 assists with one eye closed? Or, someone else step up?

These are questions that only 3-4 hours can answer.

But I can predict this: if the Spurs win, they will have won it in the first half with a big run the Suns couldn't muster the energy to overcome. If the Suns are close in the fourth, game goes to the Suns. There. I said it.

More links

Suns vs Spurs coverage

Pounding The Rock


Newly acquired Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, left, and Vince Carter are introduced Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, in Phoenix. They and Mickael Pietrus were acquired from the Orlando Magic for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark. (AP Photo/Matt York)

More photos » Matt York - AP

8 days ago: Newly acquired Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, left, and Vince Carter are introduced Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, in Phoenix. They and Mickael Pietrus were acquired from the Orlando Magic for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Browse more photos »

We'll post more on this in a bit, but here's the full audio of the press conference introducing Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat.

Press conf 122010

You will note that these guys obviously know each and are comfortable around each other and they are pretty funny. Gortat made no secret about being excited to be here and having the chance to play and compete with Robin for the starting job. Pietrus looks like a boxer. 

[Note by Seth Pollack, 12/20/10 5:47 PM MST ]

 

Suns Trade Hedo, JRich And Clark For Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, And Mickael Pietrus - SB Nation Arizona

"Of course, it is competition," Gorat said about the battle with Robin Lopez for the starting center position.

"He's big, skilled. I know there's a second Lopez (Robin's brother, Brook) who's really good. Robin, he has a big opportunity right now. He's a starting big man and he's still got a lot to learn, just like me. But I'm 100 percent sure there's a bigger chance I'm going to play here than I'm going to play in Orlando."

 

[Note by Seth Pollack, 12/20/10 10:29 PM MST ]

Vince Carters Brings Confidence And Solutions To Suns - SB Nation Arizona

Many see Vince Carter as a guy with a short-term contract that was part of the deal that helped undo the long-term burden the Suns took on in Hedo Turkoglu. They see Vince as a possible chip to be used in another trade or as an expiring contract to help the Suns clear salary cap space to acquire other assets.

Vince doesn't see it that way. Vince is here to help the Suns find a winning mentality and make sure the Suns believe they can win a championship. Winning is all that matters to Vince.

Img_20101220_154219_medium


San Antonio Spurs 118, Phoenix Suns 110 Tonight’s game between the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs signifies the calm before the storm and the end of an era. When the final buzzer sounds in...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
The Suns made a big splash over the weekend, dealing away their top scorer and giving up on the Hedo Turkoglu experiment. Opinions about the trade that sent Jason Richardson, Turkoglu and Earl Clark...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Gortat can do so much for the Suns. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

More photos » Paul Connors - AP

Gortat can do so much for the Suns. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

Browse more photos »

What do Marcin Gortat and "the next Phoenix Suns superstar" have in common?

No, I'm not saying that Gortat will be a superstar. If the Suns are lucky, he will become a quality C who will get you 14, 10 and 2 in 30-35 minutes for the next 4 years. That's not superstar level. However, that IS a quality player in a Conference weak on centers. 

Last summer, Robert Sarver said the Suns' best chance to get their next superstar would be via trade. He said he was interested in acquiring movable assets and a lot of depth so that the Suns could pounce when that player became available. I called it our "Gasol" moment.

Of course, every team in the league has dreams of a Gasol-type trade. But how many of those teams can offer a young. starting-quality C as part of the package in return, without losing all of their size in the process?

 

Note the timing of the trade (December 18) in relation to the NBA trading deadline (Feb 24). None of the players acquired from Orlando can be packaged with any other Suns players for 2 months, but that does give the Suns plenty of time to repackage those players before the deadline. Don't expect this roster to be the same on February 25 as it is today.

Despite a better-balanced roster, the Suns are still short at the power forward (PF) position and "superstar" position if they want to make a long playoff run.

The biggest indication of Lon Babby and Lance Blanks' leanings from the weekend deal is this: they arguably upped the talent level on the roster while avoiding bad contracts. Carter is like an expiring deal (only 4 million guaranteed next season) and Pietrus' relatively cheap deal only lasts another year (player option).

The only long-term contract is Marcin Gortat's - exactly the one you WANT on a long-term deal. He is under contract at the mid-level price for 3 more seasons beyond this one - a great value for a skilled, young 7-foot Center. Now the Suns have insurance in case Lopez' injury bug returns.

The Suns center position is now more interesting than ever. They boast two players who are young, talented, starter-quality and relatively cheap.

Robin Lopez is a 22-year old shot-blocking 7-footer with defensive potential and a surprising offensive touch - around the rim and on set shots and free throws, despite oven-mitt hands that make rebounding an adventure. The Suns have his exclusive (cheap) rights for 2 more seasons beyond this one - not needing to make an extension decision until after the new CBA is in place.

Gortat is a 26-year old 6'11"-er who blocks shots, rebounds (offensive and defensive), plays quality defense and can finish at the rim. We will find out a lot more when we see him play for the Suns, but Dudley has already stated he thinks Gortat is perfect for this system.

How do a pair of quality, young centers and the trade deadline relate to each other?

I'll tell you.

If the Suns want a high-quality, young, proven Power Forward on a good contract in trade, you'd better expect the trade partner will demand one of these two in return. Lopez is injury-prone, but is cheap and has proven himself as a starter on a playoff-caliber team. Gortat is not proven yet, but he has been great in spot duty for Dwight Howard and his skillset has had NBA GMs drooling for years now.

Believe me, folks. This is a good thing. Quality young Cs are not easy to come by, yet the Suns now have 2 of them.

Sarver's claim that the next Suns' superstar is most likely to be acquired via trade might just turn out to be true. The Suns finally have the key, expendable assets to make that happen. 2 young cheap centers, 2 first-round draft picks in 2011, a huge expiring contract (Carter) and a host of quality NBA players on manageable contracts

Still not sure "who" that next star player is yet, but at least the Suns will be ready when that guy pops loose.


Page 1011 of 1265

1011

Sponsored Ads