More photos » Jim Urquhart - AP
Chill is always a bright spot. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Unlike some NBA box scores, this one is all you need to look at to assess what happened:
Overall, this was a typical preseason game -- typically slow, typically ugly. The usual suspects showed up and played fairly well. Of the starters, only Turkoglu and Lopez played in the second half:
As for the rest:
We all knew that the preseason would be a test to see who meshes with whom and who would pick up time in the rotation, so this game wasn't too disturbing in my humble opinion. But it's the same stuff we all worried about weeks ago that is haunting the Suns: defense and rebounding. Gani Lawal didn't play until garbage time, so his role of Amundsonesque guy is still a TBD. But when JRich outrebounds Hedo and Lopez, you get a little nervous. And perhaps if Lopez plays 35 minutes, he picks up 10, and if Grant Hill plays 25+ he picks up 5-7. We can only hope Frye will pick up 5 boards, and Dudley will get his as well (he sat this one out).
If I'm Alvin Gentry, Lon Babby and or Lance Blanks, I'm thinking of either keeping Siler around as insurance if Lawal can't pull it together or I'm looking for another dirtworker, because what the Suns have right now won't hack it.
Janning is not serviceable as a backup and Dowdell appears to have the edge. At least he can drain a shot and run the offense for 5-7 minutes if need be. But is it worth paying Dowdell to sit on the bench with Dragic, Hill, and Turkoglu around that could conceivably run an offense in an emergency? I don't think so.
What concerns me about Siler were the nonexistent picks he set and how C.J. Miles got up higher than him on a jump ball. Siler plods about, and while he takes up space and seems capable to hang with the big boys, he doesn't have the Lopez aggressiveness that could make a difference. The fact that Miles tied him up to begin with is kind of ridiculous. I suppose there's Dwayne Jones around still, right?
Feel free to discuss
**As an aside, if you are wondering about D-League rules, here's an article that may help, courtesy of the ever-handy and consistently communicative Alex Laugan.
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Last year the Suns ranked 19th in defensive efficiency (111.4) and tied for 11th in field goal percentage allowed (45.2).
That's slightly around average but considering they spent the better part of the season in the mid-20's in points per 100 allowed, it also represents a sharp increase at the end of the season.
This year, without Amare to score at will and get to the line, Alvin Gentry is telling his team that they have to be a GREAT defensive team to do well.
Here's that story.
Phoenix Suns Plan On Disruption To Be A GREAT Defensive Team - SB Nation Arizona
"For us to be a good team, we're going to have to be a great defensive team."
When I heard Grant say that, I had to ask again to make sure I didn't miss something.
"Grant," I asked, "you do or you don't have to be a great defensive team?"
"I think we will," he said. "I think that's the personality and make-up of this team."
How good defensively do you think this team can be?
More photos » Christian Petersen - Getty Images
9 days ago: PHOENIX - OCTOBER 12: Hedo Turkoglu #19 of the Phoenix Suns lays up a shot against the Utah Jazz during the preseason NBA game at US Airways Center on October 12, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
As the preseason progresses, these games are becoming more meaningful. The rotation is shaping up, the starters are playing more minutes, and Alvin Gentry is getting down to serious business. It is clear another 51 point loss could signal off a panic both in and outside of US Airways Center.
It appears that Hedo Turkoglu is feeling better after aggravating his back in a bout of either NBA basketball or vigorous television watching, and should start. That is certainly good news. Other than that, I'm hoping to see some improvement, namely in the following areas:
There are other areas of improvement, I am sure, but that is kind of the bulk of it.
On a more serious level, it's time that some individuals come out tonight to play ball:
As for the rest, more of the same from the starters and J-Chill. Not that there isn't room for improvement, but the more court time together, the better.
For a more journalistic and interesting preview, check out AK-47's hair and what Seth has to say over at SBN.
And just for the heck of it, why not a daily poll?: