Suns bench will rock it again
We are only 3 weeks away from training camp, marking the official kick-off of the 2010-2011 campaign.
The Phoenix Suns will have a lot of new faces, including 3 of the projected 10 rotation players.
I'm proud to say that, in terms of threads, BSotS has been incredibly active this summer. Of course, overactivity can lead to nervousness and, sometimes, outright insanity. The more we talk about the Phoenix Suns, the more extreme some of our opinions have gotten.
The question is: are wild opinions just a product of the need to argue? Or does it reveal truer feelings, those that only come out when pressed?
Let's talk about some of them.
Expectations of Goran Dragic's development
Let's all take a deep breath for a minute.
Goran Dragic is 12 months removed from being ridiculed as the worst backup PG in the NBA. The Suns, and Steve Kerr in particular as the face of the front office, were the butt of recurring jokes for spending millions to get this guy into the NBA.
Just last year, in a preview of the coming season, ESPN's John Hollinger had this to say about Goran:
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.
So why don't we give Goran a break for not yet becoming an all-star caliber consistent leader, and just appreciate when, in the span of 12 months, he goes from afterthought on his national team to their best player?
As far as his expectations on the Suns this year, let's just let him be a sparkplug and not expect nightly dominance. He will already get a lot of media attention this season, after his 23-point fourth quarter against San Antonio.
So why compound it on BSotS? He's 24 years old. He's just coming into his own. Let's watch it, and stop expecting greatest on a nightly basis.
Hedo is NOT the Suns' saviour, or lynchpin for a championship, and the Suns don't expect him to be
There's been a tremendous amount of talk about whether Hedo Turkoglu will help the Suns or hurt them. What has surprised me is the level of expectation on this guy - both in good and bad ways.
I watched him closely during last week's games (Slovenia, for one) and his last 2 games - against Serbia and USA. Suspiciously missing in the most recent games was his playmaking. He simply tried to score or weakly passed it off. His shooting was much better overall, as the tourney progressed.
His 18th-ranked team went 8-1 and got the silver medal, and he was credited with giving them their swagger. But he also disappeared for stretches of both the last 2 games, often standing in the corner away from the play until his number was called.
Hedo is NOT our saviour. But neither is he a downfall.
Turkoglu does not need to reprise his 2007-2009 numbers on the Orlando Magic to be a valuable member of the Suns team.
He simply has to show up with a good attitude and play to his strengths - secondary playmaker, streaky shooter and occassional hero.
Sound familiar? That's exactly how you would describe the guy he was traded for: Leandro Barbosa. Except that Turkoglu is 7 inches taller, which makes him more of a mismatch for the opponent.
Turkoglu was never Amare's replacement. He is Leandro Barbosa's replacement. Let's just allow Turkoglu a little breathing room to succeed, and be happy when he does.
And if he falls on his face, it's perfectly okay to reduce his role to Barbosa levels (15 minutes per game). The Suns have 9 other guys who can play more minutes in his stead. Ten million dollars getting 15-20 minutes is not significantly different than 7 million dollars getting 15 minutes.
Don't worry about Turkoglu.
54% of you would leave Gani Lawal unprotected over Channing Frye
I hope, for your sakes, that you 54% have never, ever criticized the Suns for selling draft picks for nothing.
And that none of you 54% will ever question the wisdom of keeping/signing middling veterans over developing youth, and when the Suns lose some veterans to age, injury or free agency, you'll just shrug and say "oh well".
Giving 21-yr old PF prospect Gani Lawal away in hypothetical expansion draft is the same as selling a draft pick. You get nothing for it.
This is not to say that Lawal will be a star. No one knows if Lawal will be a star, but why not find out before handing him over to keep a middling veteran? What if someone gets hurt this year, and Lawal produces Taj Gibson type numbers in the interim?
And finally, if this article was posted a year ago, and Goran Dragic was listed instead of Gibson, I'd bet that the same 54% would have voted Goran off the island. Think about it.
(this argument is notwithstanding the strategy involved in an expansion draft, that the best method to keep everyone together on the Suns is to protect the cheap youth and offer the expensive oldies that an expansion team wouldn't want in a million years).
Expectations of the Suns should be tempered
Stop worrying about everyone else, folks. Who cares that the national media thinks the Suns will miss the playoffs. Who cares that the Knicks blog thinks they have a better shot at the playoffs than the Suns (it is, after all - gasp - a Knicks blog).
Remember this fanpost of a few weeks ago, reminding us of the tepid 2009-2010 season predictions?
This year's prediction are no different. So what.
All it means is that we get to enjoy every win again, just like last year. I'd much rather be a fan of an overachieving team than an underachieving one. I had more fun following the Suns last year and 2004-2006 than I did in 2006-2008.'
Bring on the haters and the chicken littles!
Finally: good luck in Golden State, Lou! Sorry you couldn't hook up with a winner...
What if the NBA were expanding again? Which Phoenix Suns rotation player would you leave unprotected, if forced to pick someone?
Da Rules, from Akis:
Just for fun, I've wanted to do an article for my blog on what a prospective NBA Expansion team would look like if one were to come into the league next year. This is purely hypothetical, and I realize that if the NBA were to add an expansion team, it likely would not be for a while (especially with a possible lockout coming next year), but I still think it could be a fun exercise.I'm contacting each of you to act as the heads of the team you blog about, and to select the players that you would protect on your team. Here are the rules:
- I must select 14 players from teams, who are either under contract or restricted free agents at the end of the 2010-11 season
- I can't select more than one player from any team.
- I can only select players that are unprotected by your team.
- Each team can only protect up to a maximum of 8 players on its roster who are either under contract or are restricted free agents at the end of the 2010-11 season.
- Each team will designate which of its players are unprotected and thus eligible for selection.
- Each team must have at least one player eligible for me to select, even if the team doesn't have 8 players under contract/RFA at the end of the 2010-11 season.
- Any player I select that is under contract at the end of the 2010-11 season will be placed on the imaginary expansion team.
- Any Restricted Free Agent I select will automatically become an Unrestricted Free Agent, but I now have their bird rights
- Unrestricted free agents (that's contracts who expire at the end of 2010-11 without being rookie scale) are not eligible to be protected or selected by me.