He's looking pretty studly right now...
He's looking pretty studly right now...
I'm on record, probably more than a dozen times, saying there's no way Lou comes back to the Suns. The main reason being that the Suns have decided to fill Amare's absence with more than 1 player, squeezing Lou out of the rotation even if he were still under contract.
Yet, Lou loves it in Phoenix and the fans love him. And he has yet to get a good deal anywhere else.
What if Lou remains unhappy with his options? What if he comes to the Suns, willing to take a 2-year deal at not much more than minimum for the privilege to stay in Phoenix?
This seems to be a good choice for the Suns, for depth, but bad for Lou, doesn't it?
I mean, look at the lineup of players on the team:
Nash, Dragic, Richardson, Childress, Hill, Dudley, Turkoglu, Warrick, Lopez and Frye. That's 10 guys.
Barring injury, no one besides those 10 is going play more than every third game for 5-10 minutes. And the Suns have Lawal, D Collins, Reynolds/Dowdell, and Earl Clark waiting in the wings for those minutes.
When would Lou play? Lou deserves 15+ minutes every night, not every third game, and not left on the bench hoping for an injury or flameout by someone in the rotation. He would be in an even worse position than LB was last season. LB was a 7 million dollar insurance policy against the failure of Dragic or Richardson. But at least he got 15 minutes a night even when those guys exploded.
Lou's predicament would be much worse.
Amare played 34 minutes, LB got 18 and Lou got 15 (67 total). Those minutes have to be split amongst Warrick, Turk and Childress before a 3rd-string PF/C takes any. Let's say, conservatively, that Turkoglu and Childress get 50 of those minutes each night (they probably deserve 55-60). Warrick would then get only 17? Don't under-estimate Warrick, folks. He is a better player than Lou, though probably less inspiring to the masses. He is less proficient in the rebounding department, yet a lot more proficient in scoring/dunks/putbacks/jumpers and pick-and-roll action. He deserves 17+ minutes a night.
So a healthy squad has no room for Lou. He would languish on the bench, or would cause someone else to languish more than they should.
Yet, Lou loves it here and would be a great insurance policy against injury or incredible rebounding deficiencies. He is a more-predictable option than Lawal, D Collins, Clark or some other vet big out there right now. Of course, you're then stunting their growth.
NOTE: Make some comments and talk about your vote. The comments are always more informative than the article.
More photos » Noah Graham - NBAE/Getty Images
Is this guy as bad as he seems? (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Let's hear your opinion about who has the best combination of Front Office Personnel, Coaches, Talent Evaluaters, and Talented minds.
Who are the Schmuckiest owners, (Besides Sterling), which franchises always seem to attract the best FA's, who uses their money best-reasonable contracts per talent? Teams like the Lakers can spend forever to attract talent. Who sticks to a budget, avoids or pays little in the luxury tax? How do the Suns rank in your opinion.
You get where I'm going here, yes? Educate us all with evidence and specific examples.
How about ranking franchises 1-10 along with your opinions why they rank where they do?
More photos » Paul Connors - AP
6 months ago: Phoenix Suns guards Goran Dragic, left, of Slovenia, and Steve Nash, right, high-five one another after Dragic scored a field goal against the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, in Phoenix. Dragic scored 20 points while Nash scored 23 as the Suns won 112-103. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
Goran's greatest strength is mental toughness. Every time he got shown up by another player on the court (ball stolen, fast-break dunk, between-his-legs dribble-drive, 3-ptr), he would man up and RETURN THE FAVOR, most times on the very next possession. Maybe he looks like Luke Skywalker for a reason - the force is with him.
He is no Steve Nash, and after a failed half-season of trying to be, he's decided just to be Goran Dragic. He has stop-and-go moves, step-back 3-ptrs, drive-and-dish, and that killer instinct.
This season, I anticipate further improvement on defense, more consistent shooting and finishing at the basket.
But if I have one concern, it's the arrival of Hedo Turkoglu and his impact on Goran's aggressiveness.
The Goran and Hedo dynamic
Turkoglu can be great in this offense, I believe, if he's given free reign in some lineups to be the ballhandler. When Hedo is dialed-in, he can be very effective. A game-changer even. But if he's relegated to Frye-like spot-up opportunities, he probably won't openly sulk (especially if the Suns are winning) but he might become a less-effective player. And the Suns need to maximize everyone's play.
Hedo is a 10-year veteran who is most effective with the ball in his hands with an opportunity to create.
Steve Nash is a 2-time MVP who is most effective with the ball in his hands with an opportunity to create.
Goran Dragic is a promising 3rd-year point guard who is most effective with the ball in his hands with an opportunity to create.
Guess who's the odd man out, IF HE ALLOWS IT? Goran.
Remember when Leandro and Goran played together? He would hand off to LB, drift to the corner for spacing, and never see it again. Until Gentry yelled at him to be more aggressive, that is. Will Gentry give him the same commands when the alternate ball-handler is Hedo, instead of LB? Will the ever-humble Goran recede into a shell and try to morph into a spot-up shooter "for the good of the team"? I hope not. I hope Goran is beyond the wallflower stage.
Here's how it can work with 3 primary ballhandlers, 2 of them sharing the court at all times
But then I think of the second unit's MOST effective stretches. And that was when Goran and Grant Hill would take turns with the ball handling, each taking the ball at the opposite high angle of the 3-pt line and working their side of the court. To properly defend an angle pick-n-roll, a defense must commit 3 players to the two designated p-n-r guys on offense. One to cut off the roll, one to defend the pop/outlet pass and one to defend the ballhandler's dribble-drive.
If the defense loaded up to one side, as would inevitably have to happen, the ballhandler would swing the rock quickly to the other side. I can see Goran and Hedo owning this offensive set better than Grant and Goran ever did. Hedo is a master at the angle and side pick-n-rolls. For that matter, I can see Nash and Hedo doing the same when they share the court.
We'll have a veritable pickandrollapalooza.
Of course, you're thinking the Suns without Amare will be shooting blanks on this set. No such thing. The key to good p-n-r is the ballhandler. Now the Suns have 3 of them, with the ability to play 2 at all times. Plus, Warrick is known as a great "roll" guy, and Robin is developing that as well. And don't forget that the PG can be the "roller" while the other can "pop" a jump shot. Frye does this well, as does Warrick (surprised?), and all 3 ballhandlers are good at getting to the basket for points.
Chemistry, Trust and Mutual Respect
It all depends on how well these guys mesh together. Emotionally, for the most part. If someone (Hedo, Steve or Goran) gets too greedy and stops sharing the ball, then resentment will grow and/or one of them will shrink into the background. This is NOT a good use of the team's talents, and it's Gentry's ultimate reponsibility to make sure this doesn't happen.
A year from now, I don't want to see a story headline like 'What happened to Goran?' or 'Stop blaming Hedo'.