All things considered, it has been quite the nutty offseason for the Suns. It didn't feel quite so significant as it happened, since following basketball news during the summertime is kind of like mowing the lawn with a pair of scissors, but to look back at the last two months as a whole, I think it provided much more entertainment than most people suspected.

A complete regime change underneath Bobby Sarver, three new players in the rotation and three "old" players who will be wearing different uniforms next year. I thought a post to nutshell the whole situation was warranted, and just for jollies (and I know how much some of you like jollies), I'll explain why I think the summer was a great success, despite the chaos.

The Suns of Yesterday

Amundson_blog_090117_300_medium

via www.nba.com


Amare, Leandro and (eventually) Lou are moving on. Never mind who the replacements are for now, let's take a look at what exactly we lost.

Editors note: I am not a stats guy, so you will scarcely find them in anything I post.

Amare Stoudemire: One of the best big men in Suns history. When motivated, was a human tornado that destroyed everything in his path. He could go for 30 points without breaking a sweat. He was good enough to be great without giving 100%, so he usually gave anywhere between 60-75%. Amare wasn't really a basketball player per se; he was more of an athletic freak who at times couldn't be stopped from cramming the orange ball through the cylinder. On the other hand, if you're looking for someone to take a charge, dive for a ball, get physical down low, or do anything of significance without the rock in his hands, look further. Way further.

Leandro Barbosa: A fan favorite who was more liked for his lovable personality than he was for his play on the court, which has spiraled downward in the last couple seasons. Some mitigating factors may have been involved (the death of his mother, injuries, etc.), but it was obvious that he no longer had a defined role on the team. Goran Dragic emerged as the Suns' guard of the future, and LB's skills were redundant alongside Dragic, who could pretty much do all the stuff that LB did when he was at his peak and added a high basketball IQ that LB never had.

Lou Amundson: The anti-Amare, Lou was great without the ball in hands, but aside from flushing alley-oops from the Dragon he should never have the ball in his hands unless something horrible has happened. What he lacked in offensive ability, however, he more than made up for in intangibles. Seriously, the guy's intangibles could choke a donkey. Opposing players were known to exclaim "Damn, son! This dude's intangibles are messin' with my game!" He will be sorely missed, and his departure represents my low-point of the offseason.

 

The New Guys in Orange

Lebron_medium

via community.active.com

Enter Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick. Seriously who would have guessed that any one of these three guys would end up in Phoenix? Say what you will about Sarver, aside from the Amare situation the guy knows how to keep a lid on things.

By the way, assuming that 2nd round pick Gani Lawal keeps the same #31 that he wore in college, that means that Amare's #1 (Chill), Raja's #19 (Hedo) and Marion's #31 will all be reissued in the same season. Take from that what you will.

Why this will work

Hedo will take Amare's starting gig at PF, and much has been made of the absurdity of this decision. It likely will create a deficiency in the rebounding department, and it remains to be seen if Hedo can defend opposing 4's. Warrick will be subbing in for Hedo, and he carries similar concerns, if for different reasons. Childress figures to be a coup, the most low-risk acquisition of the bunch. When you boil all the changes together, it doesn't look like the vacancy of Amare and Lou were filled appropriately. However, the most important factor doesn't show up on paper.

Alvin's System

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via phxsunsnews.com


Every great coach has a distinct system. Alvin Gentry is no exception. He has effectively created a hybrid, using 7SOL as more of a guideline than a rule and peppering in his own defensive philosophies. While many people have been squawking for years about the end of the Suns' era, the new era began before they even realized it. Gang rebounding, sagging man-to-man (or Girly Zone, if you prefer), player accountability... these are now the characteristics of your Phoenix Suns.

Alvin now has another defensive ace to play with in Childress, and along with Grant Hill and Jared Dudley the team now boasts three players who can be assigned to the other team's best perimeter player. The addition of Turkoglu and Warrick as the team's PFs will enable Gentry to push his gang-rebounding philosphy even harder, and we learned last year that the man's system works. The Suns stormed the league from February all the way to the Conference Finals. It was no coincidence that February was about a full year after Gentry took over for Terry Porter. It took him a full season to develop the team according to his model, and by the time it was implemented the Suns were a ten-deep squad, brimming with confidence and with a newfound philosophy on defense.

Crisis Averted, Everybody Chill

With the surprising departure of Kerr and Griffin, followed shortly by the invetibale departure of Amare, things could have gone many different ways. What worried me the most at the time was the possibility of a panic-induced replacement signing. The idea of the Suns signing David Lee for the next five years or mortaging their future on Al Jefferson had me quaking in my proverbial boots. Instead, Cool Hand Babby brought in some very versatile players on flexible contracts. The message was clear: The Suns are going to succeed their way. They're not breaking the bank for just anyone. The system is more important than big-name transactions, and players will be brought in accordingly.

I agree that Hedo's contract is a tad worrisome, but it's hard for me to see any of the new Suns being a disappointment. Hedo turned into a punchline in Toronto, which was one horrible year for him among many good ones. He will have no excuses not to succeed in Phoenix as this is a very player-friendly organization. Warrick has found himself in a system that suits his strengths perfectly. Childress is a super-likeable dude and I want to be his friend, plus he's the long perimeter defender that many of us were pining for. He will be a fan-favorite by this December.

I hope that was tidy enough, it ended up being longer than I expected. In lieu of a proper closing, I will offer you a poll instead.

Happy hunting everyone.

 

 

Poll
How do you feel about polls?
31%
Polls are great! They're the best way to gauge people's feelings and opinions!
28 votes
3%
I like polls, but only on Thursdays.
3 votes
14%
Polls are great, except for when Wil Cantrell does them.
13 votes
32%
I just like to watch the bars add up after I click on an option. I like it when things do stuff after you click on them.
29 votes
1%
I don't understand how they work.
1 votes
16%
I freaking hate polls; they make me want to kick a puppy.
15 votes

89 votes | Poll has closed


The Phoenix Suns released their complete 2010-2011 schedule Tuesday and the team will once again face a tough start to the season. The Suns open the season on the road for the fifth consecutive...

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The Phoenix Suns released their complete 2010-11 schedule Tuesday and the team will once again face a tough start to the season. The Suns open the year on the road for the fifth consecutive season,...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Let's look at the schedule in parts.

Key factors that I took into consideration:

  1. It's unlikely the Suns will win a lot of games in a row, even if they are all winnable
  2. It's unlikely the Suns will lose a lot of games in a row, even if they are all against tough opponents
  3. Home-and-aways, within a week or so of each other, are almost always split. It's a matter of pride not to lose twice to the same team in a short time span, no matter how good or bad the opponent
  4. Lots of consecutive road games against quality opponents are usually a .500 run
  5. Lots of consecutive home games against easy opponents are almost never total winning streaks, though you can expect to win most of them
  6. There are some tough stretches, and some easy stretches. Careful not to over/under-estimate the team during any one stretch

Update: Suns get 25 national TV games (including NBA-TV) - 12 home games, 13 on the road

Update #2: Suns only play 16 back-to-backs, down from 20 last season. A boon for Steve and Grant.

Okay, away we go, after the jump!

Here is my analysis:

Schedule Analysis

Click on the link for details.

Also, here it is (hope it formats ok). I broke the schedule down by runs of tough/easy games, and road/away-heavy portions as well.

Streak Overall
Tue 26
 @ Portland    7:00pm    
 Thu 28  @ Utah    7:30pm    
 Fri 29  vs LA Lakers    7:30pm    
November Opponent Time    
 Wed 03  vs San Antonio    7:00pm    
 Fri 05  vs Memphis    7:00pm 3-2 3-2
 Sun 07  @ Atlanta    3:00pm    
 Mon 08  @ Memphis    6:00pm    
 Fri 12  vs Sacramento    7:00pm    
 Sun 14  @ LA Lakers    7:30pm    
 Mon 15  vs Denver    7:00pm    
 Wed 17  @ Miami    5:00pm    
 Thu 18  @ Orlando    6:00pm    
 Sat 20  @ Charlotte    5:00pm    
 Mon 22  @ Houston    6:30pm 5-4 8-6
 Wed 24  vs Chicago    7:00pm    
 Fri 26  vs LA Clippers    7:00pm    
 Sun 28  @ Denver    6:00pm    
December Opponent Time    
 Thu 02  @ Golden State    8:30pm    
 Fri 03  vs Indiana    7:00pm    
 Sun 05  vs Washington    6:00pm    
 Tue 07  @ Portland    8:00pm    
 Wed 08  vs Memphis    7:00pm    
 Fri 10  vs Portland    7:00pm    
 Wed 15  vs Minnesota    7:00pm 8-2 16-8
 Fri 17  @ Dallas    7:30pm    
 Sun 19  @ Oklahoma City    5:00pm    
 Mon 20  @ San Antonio    6:30pm    
 Thu 23  vs Miami    8:30pm    
 Sun 26  @ LA Clippers    1:00pm    
 Wed 29  vs Philadelphia    7:00pm    
 Fri 31  vs Detroit    7:00pm    
January Opponent Time    
 Sun 02  @ Sacramento    7:00pm 5-3 21-11
 Wed 05  vs LA Lakers    8:30pm    
 Fri 07  vs New York    8:30pm    
 Sun 09  vs Cleveland    6:00pm    
 Tue 11  @ Denver    7:00pm    
 Wed 12  vs New Jersey    7:00pm    
 Fri 14  vs Portland    8:30pm 4-2 25-13
 Mon 17  @ New York    11:00am    
 Wed 19  @ Cleveland    5:00pm    
 Fri 21  @ Washington    6:00pm    
 Sat 22  @ Detroit    5:30pm    
 Mon 24  @ Philadelphia    5:00pm    
 Wed 26  vs Charlotte    7:00pm    
 Fri 28  vs Boston    8:30pm    
 Sun 30  vs New Orleans    6:00pm    
February Opponent Time    
 Wed 02  vs Milwaukee    7:00pm    
 Fri 04  vs Oklahoma City    7:00pm 8-2 33-15
 Mon 07  @ Golden State    8:30pm    
 Thu 10  vs Golden State    7:00pm    
 Fri 11  @ Utah    8:30pm    
 Sun 13  vs Sacramento    6:00pm    
 Tue 15  vs Utah    7:00pm    
 Thu 17  vs Dallas    8:30pm    
 Wed 23  vs Atlanta    7:00pm 5-2 38-17
 Fri 25  @ Toronto    5:00pm    
 Sun 27  @ Indiana    10:00am    
 Mon 28  @ New Jersey    5:00pm    
March Opponent Time    
 Wed 02  @ Boston    5:30pm    
 Fri 04  @ Milwaukee    6:30pm    
 Sun 06  @ Oklahoma City    5:00pm 3-3 41-20
 Tue 08  vs Houston    7:00pm    
 Thu 10  vs Denver    8:30pm    
 Sun 13  vs Orlando    12:30pm 2-1 43-21
 Mon 14  @ Houston    5:30pm    
 Wed 16  @ New Orleans    5:00pm    
 Fri 18  vs Golden State    7:00pm    
 Sun 20  @ LA Clippers    12:30pm    
 Tue 22  @ LA Lakers    7:30pm 3-2 46-23
 Wed 23  vs Toronto    7:00pm    
 Fri 25  vs New Orleans    7:00pm    
 Sun 27  vs Dallas    7:30pm    
 Tue 29  @ Sacramento    7:00pm    
 Wed 30  vs Oklahoma City    7:00pm    
April Opponent Time    
 Fri 01  vs LA Clippers    7:00pm 4-2 50-25
 Sun 03  @ San Antonio    10:00am    
 Tue 05  @ Chicago    5:00pm    
 Wed 06  @ Minnesota    5:00pm    
 Fri 08  @ New Orleans    5:00pm    
 Sun 10  @ Dallas    4:30pm    
 Mon 11  vs Minnesota    7:00pm    
 Wed 13  vs San Antonio    7:30pm 5-2 55-27

Discuss!


Can Hedo Defend the 4?

An Excellent breakdown and analysis (including fun pictures) by Michael and the boys at ValleyoftheSuns.com


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