Go go BAMF! (AP Photo/Aaron J. Latham)




Let's take a break from mourning Goran's departure and focus on a little basketball.

Suns are in Toronto to take on the Raptors (16-42) tonight.

Predictably, the Raptors are a horrible team with the terrible record (22nd ranked offense, 29th ranked defense) who presents matchup problems for the Suns with their youth on the wing. This is easily a game I see the Suns losing, much like the Philly and Sacramento losses.


FG3PTFTReboundsMisc
GMMAPctMAPctMAPctOffDefTotAstTOStlBlkPFPPG
Andrea Bargnani 52 36.0 8.3 18.3 45.0 1.2 3.5 33.5 4.2 5.1 83.0 1.2 4.4 5.6 1.7 2.5 0.6 0.8 2.5 21.9
DeMar DeRozan 58 34.4 6.1 13.1 46.8 0.0 0.5 7.1 3.8 4.8 78.7 0.9 2.8 3.7 1.8 1.7 0.9 0.4 2.8 16.0
Leandro Barbosa 40 24.5 4.9 10.9 44.5 1.2 3.7 31.1 1.9 2.4 78.4 0.2 1.5 1.7 2.2 1.4 1.0 0.1 1.8 12.8
Linas Kleiza 39 26.4 4.6 10.4 43.8 1.0 3.4 29.8 1.1 1.7 63.1 0.9 3.6 4.5 1.0 1.7 0.5 0.2 2.5 11.2
Sonny Weems 39 27.3 4.4 9.9 44.7 0.3 1.0 25.0 1.5 1.9 80.8 0.8 2.2 3.0 2.0 1.7 0.8 0.0 1.7 10.6
Amir Johnson 57 26.1 4.1 7.0 58.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.9 2.4 79.9 2.8 4.0 6.8 1.2 1.0 0.8 1.2 3.8 10.2
Jose Calderon 51 31.2 3.8 8.8 43.8 0.9 2.3 37.9 1.2 1.5 80.0 0.4 2.5 3.0 9.2 2.2 1.2 0.1 2.0 9.7
Jerryd Bayless 47 18.7 2.6 6.5 40.1 0.6 1.9 30.8 2.0 2.5 81.0 0.4 2.0 2.3 3.4 1.9 0.4 0.1 1.9 7.8
Ed Davis 41 22.0 2.8 4.8 59.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.4 54.2 2.4 4.3 6.7 0.4 0.5 0.5 1.1 2.8 6.4
Sundiata Gaines 14 11.0 1.6 4.1 38.6 0.4 1.5 23.8 0.5 1.1 43.8 0.2 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.0 0.5 0.1 1.0 4.0
Reggie Evans 15 27.2 1.2 3.3 36.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 3.0 53.3 4.3 7.8 12.1 1.4 1.2 1.3 0.3 3.1 4.0
Trey Johnson 7 11.4 1.4 4.3 33.3 0.1 0.4 33.3 1.0 1.1 87.5 0.3 0.7 1.0 1.6 0.7 0.1 0.1 1.6 4.0
Julian Wright 42 15.0 1.7 3.3 50.0 0.0 0.2 20.0 0.5 0.9 51.4 1.1 1.4 2.5 1.1 0.8 0.9 0.4 0.8 3.8
James Johnson 14 10.6 1.4 3.2 42.2 0.1 0.7 20.0 0.8 1.4 57.9 0.5 1.6 2.1 1.0 1.4 0.6 0.9 2.0 3.6
Alexis Ajinca 19 7.6 1.6 3.4 46.9 0.2 0.5 40.0 0.3 0.4 71.4 0.4 1.1 1.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 1.5 3.6
Joey Dorsey 33 12.0 1.1 2.0 55.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 1.6 46.2 1.8 2.7 4.4 0.6 0.9 0.5 0.4 1.9 3.0
Solomon Alabi 8 4.3 0.1 1.1 11.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.6 0.5 1.1 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.6 0.3

Over the last 10 games, Andrea Bargnani and Demar DeRozan are tearing it up.

But watch out for the other guys. Leandro Barbosa (with whom the Suns had dinner last night), Jerryd Bayless, Sonny Weems, and now James Johnson are all physically talented and maddeningly inconsistent. If two of those guys step up, along with Bargnani and DeRozan, it will be a long night for the Suns.

Overall, they are playing better as a team, going 3-5 in their last 8 games following a 13-game losing streak. So things are looking up in Toronto, relatively speaking.

The Suns need to come out with focus and energy to win this game.

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Phoenix Suns 110, Toronto Raptors 92 PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have a fantastic opportunity in front of them, but only if they seize it. With so much trade turmoil directly above them in the...

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The Suns again surprised Planet Orange on Thursday by dealing reserve point guard Goran Dragic to the Houston Rockets for Aaron Brooks. Most (even team management) thought the Suns weren’t...

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Houston Rockets'  Aaron Brooks, left, drives past Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragic, of Slovenia, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010 in Phoenix. The Suns won 118-110.(AP Photo/Matt York)

By now, most of you have noticed a couple of patterns. Seth Pollack is loyal, somewhat cynical, and predisposed to skepticism about trades made by the Suns (at least in the past year). I, on the other hand, have been fairly optimistic about every move.

Let's look at them in detail. Trust me folks, this is cathartic. At least for me.

I hope Seth isn't offended that I'm paraphrasing him liberally in this post.

When Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick were picked up last summer, Seth was least excited disliked the Hedo move most of all. He questioned Hedo's fit with the offense next to Nash, pointing out that while both are willing passers they both need the ball in their hands most of the time to be effective. While one had the ball, the other would become a spot-up shooter. Guess who ended up with the ball?

I, on the other hand, focused more on whether the Suns could rebound and play defense with Hedo at the 4. I used a few stats and historical numbers, meshed them together, and concluded that the Suns defense wouldn't be so bad after all. I was wrong. Dead wrong. The Suns defense was historically horrible.

And by December, the rotation was untenable. A move HAD to be made for more size.

When Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mikael Pietrus were acquired from Orlando for Hedo and JRich, Seth then disliked the move because of the chemistry shake up and because Vince Carter was a corpse. He hated the Carter move, and warned people that the Suns just needed more time to mesh - that Hedo was never given a full chance to succeed here. He also questioned Gortat's impact, pointing out that Lopez was a better player (or at least a better prospect).

I again focused on the numbers and concluded that Carter and Richardson were statistically a wash, and that Gortat and Pietrus were better than Hedo and Clark for the Suns. I noted that the Suns really needed help on defense and rebounding, and that Gortat and Pietrus would supply it.

Well, Seth was right about Carter. Carter is terrible. Horrible. A shadow of himself. Kudos to Gentry for not caring about the contract and effectively benching Carter the last few weeks.

On the other hand, at least through today, I was more correct about Gortat's impact. Gortat has provided consistency and skills to the C position that the Suns have not seen in a long, long time. He leads the entire league in double-doubles from a bench player after only a quarter-season with the Suns. Since the new players took hold, the Suns have become a top-10 defense along with their top-7 offense. Not bad at all.

Yet, Gortat might not be a long, long term option. He may even be 34 instead of 27. Lopez has skillz and is still only 22. Seth may still be right that Lopez > Gortat.

So, Seth has a much better track record than me when it comes to what will work and what won't.

And he hates the Brooks acquisition.

I, on the other hand, tend to let the past go, focus on the future and consider everything with a positive spin.

So it's no wonder that I think Aaron Brooks will thrive here, even though I was a huge Dragic fan and (along with rsavaj and DIM) dreamed of the day Dragic would lead the team in the post-Nash era. That dream was probably more tenuous for me than for either of them, but it was still there.

I hope Goran succeeds in Houston, I really do.

But more than that, I anticipate Aaron Brooks will shine in Phoenix. I anticipate big-point production from him, along with just as many dimes as Dragic produced. I also hope that Gortat, Dudley and Pietrus can hide his defensive deficiencies enough that his offensive production is a plus. I see the second unit no longer being "white knuckle" time. I see the second unit finally having a go-to scorer when the shooters aren't making their shots. Gortat, Warrick, Duds and Pietrus need a scorer and playmaker around them.

The Suns are better today than they were yesterday. I do just want to give Goran and DIM a hug though.


PHOENIX — As much as Phoenix Suns fans don’t want to believe it, there will come a day without Steve Nash. It may occur next season with an offseason trade, it may be the year after when his...

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