From left,  Phoenix Suns' Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, Steve Nash, and Hedo Turkoglu, of Turkey, laugh while they pose for a group photo for team photographer Barry Gossage, foreground, during media day Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, in Phoenix.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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From left, Phoenix Suns' Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, Steve Nash, and Hedo Turkoglu, of Turkey, laugh while they pose for a group photo for team photographer Barry Gossage, foreground, during media day Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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Much has been made of the depth of this Phoenix Suns team. 

They already have 10 guys who WILL play, given good health. Nash/Dragic, JRich/Childress, Hill/Dudley, Turkoglu/Warrick and Lopez/Frye.

Their only weakness is at starting-caliber Power Forward. Yet, wth 10 guys in the rotation, SOMEONE will play the 4 for 48 minutes a night.  These guys will make it work somehow via mixing and matching and change-of-pace that no other NBA offers, perfect for a successful regular season.

On top of that, the Suns have PF talent on the bench that could blossom with enough minutes, in 22 yr old Earl Clark (who is having a very good camp, apparently) and 21-yr old rookie Gani Lawal.

How do we get all these guys minutes? And, since the rotation is so long, is anyone irreplaceable in case of catastrophy?

Let's take a look at the starting lineup.

Steve Nash: For the first time since Nash returned to the Valley in 2004, he has an effective backup at PG. In fact, going into the 2010-2011 season, the Suns have 2 different playmaking options that can play off each other in the same lineup and/or take turns running the team. No one in the league can replace Nash entirely, and the Suns will not be as good if Nash misses any significant time, but in terms of "holding the fort", there are options. Real options.

I can see Hedo and Dragic clashing for playmaking opps when Nash is getting the majority of plays, but if Nash were to miss some time I can see these two thriving together. Dragic can make spot-up 3s as well as slash to the basket for a quick finish off a good entry pass from Hedo. Plus, they could each take a wing and attack whatever mismatch the defense offers, given that both can run the offense effectively.

Viable Backup(s): Goran Dragic, Hedo Turkoglu; "Oh crap, what now?" Backups: Grant Hill, Jared Dudley

Situation: Surprisingly Solid, but only for short stretches and not the best way to win a ring


Jason Richardson: This SG's main skills are on the offensive side of the ball. He was a knock-down shooter on open 3s last season - a trait sorely missed since Raja Bell was traded to Charlotte. It seems elementary to make a side-open shot, but in fact that skill is a rarity to consistently make key open 3-ptrs on a defensive breakdown. In addition, Jason can post up smaller players, get out in transition (two-handed dunks, man!), and rebound pretty well (4-5 a game). But he's not a good on-ball defender or help defender, and he's inconsistent making his own plays.

While JRich is the most talented SG on the roster, the list of viable backups are seemingly endless, each one bringing some part of J-Rich's game, and even something different too: Duds (on-ball defense, help defense, open shot-making), Childress (on-ball defense, help defense, efficient offense), Hedo (shot-making, passing, mismatches).

Viable Backup(s): Josh Childress, Jared Dudley; "Oh crap, what now?" Backups: Grant Hill, Hedo Turkoglu

Situation: Very Solid.


Grant Hill: The Suns' starting SF makes a difference on the collective whole, rather than in the box score. His numbers are fairly pedestrian for a guy playing his minutes, so statistically the Suns have a lot of guys in reserve who can "fill his shoes". Where the Suns would miss Grant is in the area of leadership. Hopefully, if Grant misses time he will transition into a pseudo assistant coach, leaving the Suns only missing his clutch plays and calming on-floor influence. Duds makes a huge difference of his own, as will Turkoglu and Childress.

Viable backup(s): Jared Dudley, Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu; OCWN Backups: Clark, JRich, Warrick

Situation: Very Solid.


Hedo Turkoglu: The Suns' starting PF is not really a PF. So, in context of "how to replace Hedo at PF", there are a lot of options that, on the surface, can't be any worse. Lots of guys on the roster could produce if given the PF minutes, in the event that Hedo misses time.

The only problem with those other options is that the Suns would have no idea what to expect on any given night. With Hedo, you KNOW what you're going to get (shot-making, playmaking, mismatches, poor post defense, poor rebounding) and where you need to fill in your gaps when he's at PF (rebounding, help defense, at-the-basket scoring, p-n-r roll man). Whereas, with any other option it's a total crapshoot. If you start Warrick, do you really know what will happen each night? Or Lawal? Either of these guys could drop 16 and 8 one night, then 2 and 1 the next. Hedo has the experience and moxie to produce consistently. That's why he's the starter.

Viable backup(s): Hakim Warrick, kinda; OCWN Backups: Most everyone else on roster

Situation: Tenuous, scary, yet interesting in a I-would-lose-sleep-over-this kinda way


Robin Lopez: The Suns' starting C provides size, defense, "presence" and a blossoming pick-n-roll finishing option. In Robin, the Suns could have their first real all-star Center in team history. And I mean REAL. He's 7 feet tall and a true C. Not a PF masquerading for mismatches (Amare or Alvan Adams). When Robin went dow last year, Gentry started Jarron Collins in his place. Why? Because the rotation was smokin, and everyone had their place. Frye did not belong in the starting lineup next to Amare because he couldn't mask Amare's weaknesses with help defense whenever Amare got burned. Hedo at PF will be the same. I seriously doubt the Suns could play Frye and Hedo together for more than 3-4 chageup minutes at a time. So, when I list Robin's backups, I keep that in mind.

Viable backup(s): None; OCWN Backups: Jones/Siler, Frye

Situation: Scary bad



Remember, I'm looking at this from the "can X replace Y's specific contributions if Y misses time?" point of view.

Of course, if someone gets hurt then Gentry will make a new rotation work. Last year, the Suns didn't have a viable backup for Robin's skills, yet made the Conference Finals without him.

This is not a doomsday scenario. And this is not breaking new ground either.

Just trying to start another "what's the rotation going to look like?" discussion...

PHOENIX — The Suns have been searching for that third point guard to give Steve Nash a blow in practice and push Goran Dragic. Phoenix now has a decent crop of players to choose from in Matt...

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More Earl Clark Musing

Earl Clark only has a few weeks left to prove that he belongs on the Suns roster.

Hi friends. Did you realize that Family Matters is technically a spin-off of Perfect Strangers? Pretty interesting stuff, right?

Oh also the Suns tip-off the preseason in 5 days. Seriously, 5 freaking days. It feels like just yesterday I was drinking an uncomfortable amount of whisky in downtown Phoenix following the Suns Game 6 loss to the hated Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.

Since my writing attentions having been focused over on SB Nation Arizona of late you may have forgotten just how aggressively awesome I am. Well here I am to force you to remember - trust me, it'll be just as uncomfortable for you as it will be for me.

I don't really have anything specifically clever to write (I'm not Wil or Alex) so you know what I'll do? Just dump a bunch of random thoughts on you. You know you're going to read it.

Think of this as an open thread - comment on what I said, insult my mother, or talk about whatever you want. I miss all you crazy kids.

  • How great does the new Jared Dudley look? Good lord that dude lost some weight. Check out this and then this tiny guy. I feel like I've spent an uncomfortable amount of time looking and commenting on Jared Dudley's body in the last few days. Seems like he's ripe to trade.
  • Considering how common the number 20 is, you'd figure the Suns would have had a couple good dudes wear that number in their history. Yet now we've got Garret Siler in the thing on the heels of Jarron Collins last year. Other notables? Rumeal Robinson, Marko Milic, Jumaine Jones, and Corky Calhouon. The only decent guy was Maurice Lucas. I should explain that I've been doing an all-time numbers for Arizona sports post over at SBN AZ so forgive me for offering up a lot of mental focus on numbers.
  • Anyone see Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps? It was pretty much exactly what I expected. Like with The Expendables, if you went into the thing expecting absolutely nothing but a few cheap LOLZ and nostalgia you probably won't be disappointed. The one thing that bummed me out was the Bud Fox cameo. It seemed like they didn't even tell Charlie Sheen what he was showing up for, they were just like hey Chaz, just show up and be yourself. Also Shia LeBeouf sucks. 
  • I'm really starting to buy into Hedo Turkoglu. I watched a number of the Turkey games during the World Championships and I just love the way he plays - he's got a smooth yet deliberate style and seemed to be a hell of a leader on a team that finished second in one of the largest international basketball tournaments. The guy just seems to have a real presence about him. Yes I know that's a crap description. I've decided to write off his time in Toronto because hey, would you really have wanted to play with a completely checked out Chris Bosh and a guy named Andrea?
  • I told Seth Pollack that the Terry Fox 30 for 30 would be boring. And I was right. In fact, the last 5 have pretty much been complete pieces of crap, the other 4 being Unmatched about Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, House of Steinbrenner (just what the world needed, an hour long propaganda piece on the Yankees), One Night In Vegas (this was absolutely unwatchable), and Little Big Men (snooze fest). Personally I'm looking forward to the ones about SMU Football, Yugoslavian basketball, and former Oklahoma running back Marcus Dupree. Those will be sweet.
  • To answer Wil's question from his Josh Childress post. Yes. Yes he is. Childress averaged 11 points and almost 6 rebounds in his first 4 years in the league and now has 2 years of being a stud in Greece under his belt. I'm expecting large things from Mr. Childress both for this year and the future (you know, after he slides in J-Rich's spot in the starting lineup next year).
  • I have literally found it physically difficult to watch any of the NBATV training camp coverage of either the Knicks or the Lakers. Guess this proves my overwhelming bitterness is still alive and well.
  • Anyone like any of the new fall TV shows? Now that Lost is over I've been searching hard for a new drama to get behind. Legal shows and any sort of crime drama infuriate me so I've been hanging my hat on The Event and My Generation (which has endeared itself to me for using clips of Josh Childress playing at Stanford and passing him off as one of the characters during the pilot episode). Any other ideas for me? Anyone suggests that lawyer abortion with Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi and I'm firing you from the site.
  • I'm starting to hope Matt Janning makes the roster so I can have someone to kick around now that Taylor Griffin is gone. I miss that bald piece of terrible basketball player more than you can know. 
  • Certainly you're with me in wishing that the second Dwayne Jones era is as glorious as the first.

Think happy Hedo thoughts:

I'll be here all week.

PHOENIX — Building chemistry is clearly the monumental team goal for 2010 Phoenix Suns training camp, but for some players, these next few days are part of a personal journey. Roster spots are...

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