Welcome to the third piece of the 2010-11 Phoenix Suns Player Evaluations. We here at Bright Side of the Sun have assembled somewhat of an All-Star cast of writers to put together alternative views on the players, front office, and coaches. Your favorite and least favorite Suns will no doubt get plenty of attention, and the compliments or criticism they deserve. Unless we're talking Vince Carter. Only criticism there. Anyway...


Hearkening back to the somewhat-better days of last summer, we saw the arrival of three new acquisitions for the Phoenix Suns. Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress were introduced within the matter of just a couple of days, and throughout the 2010/11 season the carousel continued on its merry way. After the curtain dropped rather prematurely in early spring, we had seen Turkoglu, Warrick, Childress, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, Vince Carter and Aaron Brooks all make debuts as Suns. Looking back at my own mindset at each respective time, I wasn't more excited to see any one of those players lace 'em up for the Purp as I was when Josh Childress the 'Fro-licious signed here.

It was impossible not to compare Chill to Shawn Marion. His hops, garbage-pailness and athletic yeah-I-just-snuck-in-there-and-did-thatness had me highly anticipating the Matrix Reloaded, right down to the jumper that was so fugly it could put Bill Cartwright in hysterics. 

Well much like the Matrix Reloaded, it was more fizzle than sizzle, even though that 'fro is righteously fo' rizzle. What went wrong? Was all this because of a busted finger? Or did Gentry perhaps cost the team a few wins by not releasing the Chill? It's all just so much pontificating at this point; what's important now is: Will a consistent 25mpg from Josh Childress make this team better?



For the sake of argument, let's assume that the broken finger he sustained in preseason was the root of most of his troubles. His failure to hit even half of his freethrows after a career of being above-average in that department lends no other explanation. I'm willing to write off his horrid shooting this season as a product of injury. The problem is, even if you wipe that away, things don't bode very well for the future.

For his career (again, not counting this season), Childress has averaged 0.9 three-point attempts per game. As a wing player for the Phoenix Suns, this is, for all intents and purposes, unacceptable. A shy trigger-finger in this system will pretty much punch your ticket straight to Garret Siler land. This is why Mickael Pietrus was given a spot in the rotation, despite maniacally hoisting up scud missiles from anywhere on the court, while Childress was a spectator. I'm not saying it's right, but it's the preference of the coaching staff and likely (and probably more importantly), it's the preference of Steve Nash

It would be natural to point out in defense of Childress that Shawn Marion has a worse career 3pt percentage (.332 to Childress' .343), and that didn't stop him from thriving in the Suns system. The big difference here is that Shawn has attempted 2.3 a game; adding up to 1.4 more attempts from deep than Childress. Drilling threes like Ray Allen is not a requirement to play for the Suns, but passing up shots or showing any hesitation on the perimeter is disastrous for a SG or SF in this system. If Steve finds you open in the corner, you better damn well let the orange fly. 

So what would it take for Childress to earn his keep as a Sun? His reputation as a solid defender preceded him, but like every other part of his game the sample-size as a Sun was too small. His best shot might be to become a younger and more athletic version of Grant Hill while splitting time with him at SF, thus allowing the Suns to keep a versatile defensive ace on the floor when Hill sits. For this to work, however, he would have to A) start shooting when open, maybe learning the corner three Raja-style, or B) be so effective in his defensive-minded garbage-pail role that he can stay on the floor despite his shyness on the perimeter. 

I don't have much confidence in either of those things happening, especially since "earning his keep" would entail playing up to par for a contract that will pay him $29mil/4 years. Even at his best, Josh Childress is still (stop me if you've heard this before) a role player. You know who pays role players $30 million? Championship contenders. Teams that pay role players $30 million and don't contend end up being... the Indiana Pacers.

As much as I hope I'm wrong about this, the best case scenario for Childress and the Suns is for him to play well enough to increase his trade value. This team needs players with potential for growth, not more role players with limited skill-sets.

Sorry Josh, this hurts me more than it hurts you.

The Spurs find themselves in the unexpected position of trailing the Memphis Grizzlies 2-1 going into a critical game 4 in Memphis, and the Mavericks will try not to live down to their reputation as chokers after blowing a huge lead to the Blazers Saturday to even their series at 2. The Nuggets are pretty much finished, down 3-0 to the Thunder, but a win tonight would allow them to savor the sweet satisfaction of knowing that Melo's new team was the only one to be swept out of the first round.


Zach Randolph celebrated his contract extension with a cold-blooded game-winning 3-pointer on Saturday. Did anyone ever expect Randolph to get this good? He's outplaying Tim Duncan so far.

Brandon Roy might have been nearly brought to tears after his scoreless game 2 against the Mavs, but it was a great big lovefest after his Goran-esque 18 point 4th quarter led the Blazers back from a 23 point deficit in game 4.

Current Nuggets and former Seattle SuperSonics coach George Karl thinks Seattle still deserves an NBA team, and so do I.

Tonight's games:

San Antonio at Memphis, 5PM PDT, TNT. Grizzlies lead series 2-1

Portland at Dallas, 5:30PM PDT, NBA TV. Series tied at 2-2

Oklahoma City at Denver, 7:30PM PDT, TNT. Thunder lead series 3-0


As the Memphis Grizzlies lead the San Antonio Spurs 2-1 and the New Orleans Hornets are deadlocked at 2-2 with the Los Angeles Lakers, all the Phoenix Suns can do is sit back and watch. But as Suns...

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Klay Thompson Going To Suns In Mock Draft

Once again, just a reminder that we are going to a see a LOT of names on various mock drafts between now and draft day.

I wouldn't get too hung up on any one in particular but this, at least for me, is a good way to start learning about the players in the Suns' range.

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 08:  Josh Childress #1 of the Phoenix Suns lays up a shot over Sam Young #4 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 8 2010 in Phoenix Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The chants of Free Chilly erupted among the masses midway through the Phoenix Sunsseason. The Suns' Greek import had the game that all of us love to see: hustle, slashing and finishing, making the smart pass, making the heads up steal, albeit not quite the wing shooter the Suns had grown to foster in the Steve Nash system.

Once recovered from his fractured finger, Childress found himself out of a Suns rotation looking for identity and stability. This reporter had no access to Suns practices, so as we implored Alvin Gentry to give Chilly a chance, something else was taking place. And perhaps it was adjusting to the NBA speed and the Suns style. Who knows, but watching Chill get his beak wet as a Sun would have been much more interesting than watching Vince Carter fade into oblivion or Mickael Pietrus chuck up brick after brick and T after T.

So Gentry had his reasons, and perhaps that is just fine. Chill appears to be a Sun, at least for awhile with roughly 4 years left and $29 million on his deal. Based on that contract, the Suns may be stuck with Chill and his 54 game body of work in Phoenix: 5 ppg, 2.9 rpg. But are we alright with that?

Yes it is impossible to look at Josh Childress' 10-'11 numbers and conclude the Suns should keep him or conversely try to dump him in a packaged deal with Lopez (example). The Suns would be selling low, and someone would have to be willing to eat a contract that at this point is kind of crappy. 


Said a seemingly smart national media type: 

Childress' first year back in the NBA was underwhelming at best. He was in and out of the Suns' rotation all year, and failed to justify the price tag the Suns paid to bring him back from the Greek League.

Alright, we get it.  He didn't earn his money last season. But how much blame can we put on Childress? The NBA is a far cry from playing in high school sized Greek gyms. At the outset of the season we asked him about the change:

"There's definitely a difference. How quickly I'll adjust to it is based on me, but there's definitely a difference in the style of play and talent level and the athletic ability and speed of the game, these things I'll have to adapt to quickly...I think individual accolades are great but if your team isn't winning...You have to try the perfect balance in that, I'm just trying to improve..."

And Childress did not get the chance to adjust. How can we judge him on 54 games of mostly garbage time? How about a few rare highlights of what could be:

  Josh Childress Catches the T-Wolves Sleeping (via NBA)




Goran Dragicno look bounce assist to Josh Childress for the dunk vs San Antonio Spurs (via m0l0k0vell0cet)

 LOOK! J-Chill's even trying to help the children with an educational video:




I know, a smidge weak. But you want Chill playing on your team. He's a smart player, he crashes boards, he slashes to the rim, finishing, dishing. Chill can D it up too. He finds the passing lanes, he keeps his head on a swivel, his wingspan is freaky.

You give Childress a chance this off season-provided there is one. While he's not an answer for a starting two, or a back up 2 for that matter (he can't shoot-get it shooting guard?), Chill has earned the right to compete for the backup 3. He's smarter than Pietrus, and even on crutches has better game than HAK. Every team needs themselves a Childress, and provided the Suns can shore up the 4 and 2, Chill fits in nicely amid Frye, Dudz, (ah hell insert the rest of the bench unit).

Who Would You Rather Return to the Suns Next Season?

  672 votes | Results

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