One thing my friends, that I can promise you with 100 percent confidence is that today is not the last time I will make a dumb joke using the name "Hedo". There are not many things in life that I can guarantee, but this is one of them.
On to practice reporting. I mean reporting on practice.
And for once, the big story from practice is actual about practice. This weird day continues.
You might recall (you better recall) that I wrote this morning about Nash's tired legs being the cause for his poor shooting last night against the Spurs. I maintain -- and challenge any of you who disagree to a duel at sunrise -- that Nash HAD to take those shots based on the way the Spurs were insulting him by putting puny Tony Parker on him and staying home on both the shooters and roll men.
What has made the Nash pick and roll so deadly over the years isn't just the amazing bounce passes or the incredible hands and slams of Amare. Teams were FORCED to double cover Nash rolling off the screen which opened up those passing opportunities. If teams are going to simply follow Nash around the screen and have the big man stay with the screener, then Nash must take those shots to open everything else up. The entire Suns offense depends on Nash taking exactly those shots in those circumstances.
The problem comes when Nash doesn't make the shots and he didn't last night and he blamed tired legs just 4 games into the season coming off 4 days of rest. WTH!!!
Here's what Gentry had to say about that.
"I think what we've got to do is that we monitor practice a little bit more with him...I don't think Steve needs to be involved in an hour and a half practice. I think he needs to be involved in about a 40 minute practice. We scrimmage a little bit and keep their timing down but he and J Rich and Grant you know, guys like that, I don't see where they have to be out there 90 minutes in a practice."
If only there was someone Gentry could talk to about limiting Nash's minutes in practice....hmmm.
OK, that's wasn't fair.
Gentry later said that they've been practicing more here early in the season to build chemistry but there's a plan to fix all that. Gentry said he would flip-flop practices so the scrimmages and timing work was early and he could get his vets off the court and then do more teaching stuff with the younger players in the second half of practice.
Problem. Solved. Right?
As for Hedo (the butt of today's headline joke), if you re-watch the game you will see that the Suns went to him early in the first quarter to get him going and, as Gentry said, to take advantage of mismatches against Blair and Duncan. Hedo didn't hit those early shots and then continued to pass up open three's (a Phoenix Suns Cardinal Sin) later in the game. Benching him in favor of Warrick was simply a matter of riding the hot hand.
Hedo did some things well in the game despite the unfortunate box score. He had his first real finish off a solid roll on a Nash pick and roll. He was the ball handler for several pick and rolls with Frye and even Siler. On his best play, the Spurs switched a pick and roll and Hedo attacked Duncan and drew the foul.
I still think that in a few months Hedo is going to figure this all out. I like that he's staying late and working on the practice court and reportedly is also coming in at night to get in some extra cardio work. I see the basic skill sets that he brings and the potential of how that fits on the team. He even had a solid steal on Duncan while guarding the "best big man in the universe" in the post.
I think he's getting better each game and eventually will hopefully be decent. In the mean time, the Suns are treading water without him adding much which is a positive sign for things to come if you believe that Hedo will do. I could turn out to be wrong and Hedo could be a bust, but if you're giving up on him already I have two words for you...Goran. Dragic. I am more worried about Steve's legs than Hedo's play.
Some fun links for your afternoon productivity pleasure.
- Recap Game 4: Yay, The Suns Stink Again - Pounding The Rock 23 turnovers? Holy FSM are we awful. Fortunately, the Suns are worse. Join me after the jump so we can put some lipstick on this pig, won't you?
Game #4 Recap: Spurs outshoot Suns, the Ghost of Corner Threes Past Comes Alive - Pounding The Rock First big win of the season, yes? I know the Suns aren't as potent as they were when A'm'a'r'e' was still turning Nash's glorious passes into buckets, but as the famous line goes, they still are who we think they are - lots of running and creating havoc on offense, especially those dreaded pick and rolls.
- Is It Just Me Or Is Goran Dragic Really Good? - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona Goran looked very decisive, both when he wanted to score and when he wanted to pass. Although he only played 16 minutes, he had eight points, eight assists and three rebounds. He finished with one more assist than Nash, who played twice as many minutes. And some of those assists were Nash-esque things of beauty.
- The Heat And The Hopless, Week 1: Where Our Dueling Heroes Battle For Supremacy - SBNation.com So hold on. We'll dig in to the Heat and Wolves as individuals in due time, but first we must pause and appreciate the basketball eclipse that took place in Miami Tuesday night. If you put a hand over your right eye, the T'Wolves' disarray might completely obscure the Heat's dominance. Truly a twice-in-a-season event to remember.
- NBA Scores And More: Brandon Jennings The Weak Link In Bucks' Loss To Celtics - SBNation.com In the end, Richard Jefferson was the difference. Last year, Jefferson struggled because he wanted to be more than a spot-up shooter. This year, he's accepted that role, and it's paid immediate dividends. His production has improved, and tonight, he showed he can master the Spurs' "corner three" role. Jefferson hit four threes from the left corner, the last of which gave the Spurs the lead for good. If he can hit that shot consistently, the Spurs' offense will suddenly regain the spacing they didn't have all of last season.
SUNS: Suns Practice Interviews - Nov. 4, 2010
Suns.com TV caught up with Alvin Gentry, Goran Dragic and Josh Childress to get their thoughts on the start to the 2010-11 season and what fans can look to going forward.
- azcentral.com blogs - Coro's Orange Slices - PaulCoro - 3 Suns questions to ponder It is not that the Suns being 1-3 with losses to the 4-1 Blazers, the 5-0 Lakers and the 3-0 Spurs is cause for panic. But there are issues. Otherwise, Coach Alvin Gentry, GM Lance Blanks and owner Robert Sarver would not have been leaving a postgame meeting in Gentry's office at 11:20 p.m. after a 112-110 home loss to San Antonio.
- Suns shoot cold late to give Spurs victory in Phoenix "We fought for it, didn’t have a great game, but I feel really good about our team" Nash said. "We’re playing hard, we’ve been in every game and we just aren’t quite clicking yet." The strange thing? It looked like they were clicking. But the missing piece was the ability to finish plays, finish defensive matchups and finish the game.
- Hollins to miss Phoenix game " The Commercial Appeal Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and assistant Johnny Davis will not be with the team for a road game Friday against the Phoenix Suns. They will instead be in Portland, paying their final respects to former teammate Maurice Lucas, who died Sunday at age 58 after a long battle with bladder cancer.
- Steve Nash Responds to 'Hoax' Published by Phoenix New Times -- NBA FanHouse But whatever the outlet's intentions, someone in charge really needs to take a much closer look at any content that's published on the topic of sports. Because apparently, people see this publication/web site as a legitimate news source of some kind, and take the words that appear upon it as being actual, reported journalism, when it's pretty much the exact opposite.
- Remembering Luke | Phoenix Suns Blog - Blogs from the Phoenix Suns Organization Luke was just past his prime when the Suns got him from the New York Knicks for another power forward, Truck Robinson, in 1982. Luke was not a prototypical Suns player, as I think of them. The prototypical Suns player, over the years of the team’s existence, has been a graceful, finesse-oriented player, precise and under control, creative and streamlined. I think of Connie Hawkins, Walter Davis, Alvan Adams, Paul Westphal, Larry Nance, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. In some ways, the history of the Suns has been a long quest to find a bona-fide dominant power player to complement those prototypes, and when the Suns have found some good ones (Paul Silas, Charles Barkley, Amar’e Stoudemire), the team has come awfully close to championships.
- Maurice Lucas – Gentleman Athlete | Phoenix Suns Blog - Blogs from the Phoenix Suns Organization Maurice Lucas was meaner than a junkyard dog with an impacted wisdom tooth. Maurice Lucas was as so soft hearted he wouldn’t hurt even the most annoying fly. No, there weren’t two Maurice Lucases. Trust me, there was only one. And the Suns were fortunate to have him for three of his 12 NBA seasons.