Chill Crashing the Boards for Olympiacos. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

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Chill Crashing the Boards for Olympiacos. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

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Josh Childress stood in a far corner away from the mass of players, coaches, and media types Monday at Suns media day. He spoke quietly with a reporter who asked how wonderful it was to be back in the states where he could watch The Simpson's and Family Guy, two of his favorite T.V. shows. The reporter asked who his favorite characters were on the shows. "Oh definitely Homer and Peter, they're hilarious," Josh replied in his affable manner, grinning. The conversation shifted to other non-Sun, non-NBA related matters.

Josh Childress estimates he owns nearly 600 pairs of shoes. Josh Childress was an All-League volleyball player in high school. Josh Childress recently bowled a 235. Josh Childress has not stopped sweating since he arrived in Phoenix.

But none of that is important right now. What is important is that he is a vital piece of the puzzle that is the Phoenix Suns rotation of players. We all know his body of work in Atlanta where he played 4 seasons, averaging 11 points a game while chipping in 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and shooting 52% from the field. He increased his totals in Europe, which is all well and good, but what remains a mystery is how he will re-adapt to the NBA game after 2 years playing overseas.

There is no doubt that Josh is a strong NBA player. He proved that in 4 years as an Atlanta Hawk. Yet questions remain about what he will bring to the Suns this season. We can predict all we want at this stage of the pre-season, but until Josh cuts his teeth once again on the speed, talent, and pressure that comes with the NBA, we will be left wondering:


Can he re-adapt to the NBA game?

Josh Childress was an effective player for the Atlanta Hawks. He was a star in Europe. His 16 points per game in Greece was "the equivalent of 32" in the NBA he said. There is no question that the Euro leagues are a fry cry from the NBA. J-Chill played in American high school sized gyms in Greece. The pressure of NBA games filled with arenas filled with 20,000 ravenous, English speaking fans is much different than those in Europe.  How will he handle the change?

J-Chill:

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...[In the Euro leagues] the talent level is good, athletically the level isn't high, some of them have to make do with what they're blessed with...They are very physical which is obviously something that we don't really think of over here...

Translation: adaptation is a legitimate concern to Josh. He acknowledges the difference in play, and while the Euro leagues aren't like going back to play high schoolers or D-leaguers, there most likely will be a transitional period in which Josh not only has to jell with his teammates but also to his opponents. Let's hope this occurs in the pre-season and early on in the regular season. And as he mentioned, quickly.

What will his role be on the Suns?

Childress will no doubt add to the Suns depth and versatility with his size and skill set. He's an obvious back up to Jason Richardson at the 2 and the 3 behind Grant Hill. Josh will be counted on to slash, finish, while of course, defend and contribute on the boards. He's a lifetime 36% shooter from beyond the arc, so he'll likely get the green light in the Suns system. I won't go so far as to call Childress a facilitator, but he's a heady, unselfish player who always looks for the open man:

Josh Childress Passing.mp4 (via TheMikeSchmitz)

J-Chill: 

I'm not worried about proving myself, I just want to come in and win. Help my team as much as possible...My main goal is to come out and work as hard as I can and really gel into the system as soon as possible.

Translation: Just get me on the hardwood and let me play my game, y'all.

 

What are Alvin Gentry's expectations?

Josh Childress is a coach's dream.  He isn't a superstar, but he can do a little of everything, he puts the team ahead of his ego and plays the game hard, the right way, with the right attitude.  

We think he is going to be a great perimeter defender who can bring a lot on the offensive end as well with his ability to slash. Josh will add a lot to our team because he is so multitalented...I think Josh Childress can add that energy to the mix for us...[he] does a great job and probably is about as good an offensive rebounder in the league, gets his hands on a lot of balls.

Childress adds:

(On crashing the boards) It's been something over my career I've tried to do, hit the glass, it's something coach Gentry is expecting of me...

Translation: I'll do whatever coach wants me to do.

 

How will he acclimate himself with the rest of the Suns roster?

This is a no-brainer for me. Childress is going to be a leader for our Phoenix Suns. While he says he'll let Nash and Hill continue their roles as the heart and soul of the squad, I predict that Childress will become an on court and locker room leader similar to the way Jared Dudley is. He's a high character guy, selfless and focused on winning.

Guys like Steve and Grant and JRich, you look at those guys and you can't help but follow a little bit, but my main goal is to come out and work as hard as I can and really gel into the system as soon as possible...I'm excited, it's a good group of guys, a talented hard working group of guys, when you have those three things, it could be trouble (for the other team).

Translation: Chill won't need to rally the troops vocally. His play will inspire the rest. He will instantly become a fan favorite (us Suns fans love the hustlers and high basketball IQ guys.)

The challenge of course is how the rotation will work.  There really is no true back up 2 other than Chill, so on paper it would appear he'll spend the bulk of his time spelling JRich while Dudley resumes his role behind Grant Hill.  But the beauty of this squad is that Alvin Gentry isn't limited to sticking to the game plan. 

If you missed the post a couple months back, check out Seth's link to J-Chill highlights.

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We should not be surprised by Steve Nash's creative work off the basketball court -- directing and producing film, charitable work, and his success as an ad-man.

Nash plays the most creative position in the most creative (major American) pro sport and is generally considered the most creative player of his generation. 

Last night, Nash's latest creation aired on ESPN's 30-for-30 series.

"Into the Wind" (which isn't about the proper direction to face when near a sweaty Shaq) ran for a long 60 minutes on Tuesday and will surely repeat 3 or 20,000 times.

Here's a link to my full review of the show:

Reviewing 'Into The Wind', Steve Nash's Telling Of The Terry Fox Story - SB Nation Arizona
I get the appeal of the story and certainly have all the sympathy in the world for Fox and his valiant achievement, but I am hard-pressed to think that story gets green-lit if anyone other than Steve Nash is involved.

As you can probably guess, I am not a fan.

I get the impression that the story itself constrained Nash and limited his natural creativity. It was the Terry Porter of cinematic endeavors.

Creativity is a combination of seeing things that don't yet exist and turning them into a reality.

When Nash is being brilliant on the court with the ball in his hands, it's a combination of seeing possibilities before anyone else and then having the skill to execute his impromptu plan.

You see those same traits at work in his fantastic short videos and commercials. Here's another classic example:


He even says it in this commercial, "It's such a creative outlet to try and encompass all those moving parts."

He's talking about the game but what he says applies to anything Steve puts his attention to. 

I've spent time around Nash but don't claim to know him and I am not sure many people do. Steve is always polite and easy-going. He can be funny and charming at times but there always seems to be a wall between him and the world. Maybe the other side of that wall is just a mirror image of the side he displays publicly, but I suspect not.

These non-basketball creative endeavors are a small window through that wall but so far they've only provided a sliver of view. Nothing he's done has been at all introspective. Unlike the greatest artists he's yet to put himself into his work.

Humility and selflessness on the court makes Steve Nash one of the best distributors to ever run a basketball team but at times he's displayed a darker, edgier side to his game as well. That's the movie I want to see Steve Nash make.


PHOENIX — The secret ingredient for the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns was chemistry. The question now remains whether the 2010-11 squad can match that togetherness on the court and off it to become the...

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SB Nation Pacific Division Preview

The SB Nation Blogs Continue Their Previews With the Pacific Division.


Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry answers questions during media day Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, in Phoenix.  The Suns begin life without Amare Stoudemire this week with a training camp in San Diego. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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8 days ago: Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry answers questions during media day Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, in Phoenix. The Suns begin life without Amare Stoudemire this week with a training camp in San Diego. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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The Suns are in San Diego fleeing the triple digit heat and getting in their two-a-days for the next week. Here's the training camp schedule:

Wake up. Get to gym. Go back to hotel and eat lunch and nap. Get to gym. Go back to hotel and play video games and watch TV. Go to sleep.

And you thought your life was boring.

With all that wonderful gym time, the team will be looking to answer a few questions:

1) Is chemistry a random explosion or the result of a carefully planned and managed experiment? 

The Suns credited their "great chemistry" for pretty much everything that went right last season. Rebound the ball well? Zone defense effective against the Lakers?  Locker room harmony and ass-slapping humor? Chemistry. Chemistry. Chemistry.

Can the Suns find that same mix again this year or was last season something special that only comes along every so often. Players cited last year's training camp as the start of the great C and credited things like "hanging out" and "eating together" as catalysts. 

Sounds easy, right? Just put the boys in a room together, throw in some food and lock the door. Bingo!

Not so fast. As Jason Richardson explained a few weeks ago, you can't force C.

"It's not going to be forced, when it's forced that's when things don't happen."

Everyone is betting on the "quality" of the new guys to fit in and find just the right, sweet blend. 

2) Who will emerge from the Chucky Atkins, Matt Janning, Zabian Dowdell 5th guard spot death match?

If this were a real death match I would probably have to go with Chucky just based on experience. Matt's got the farm-boy toughness and Zabian's flame burns just a bit too low for me.

As for their competition for the 5th guard spot (if there even is one, which isn't a given) I would give the edge to Matt. The coaching staff has been impressed with his work ethic and ability to distribute the ball. He's got a funky two-handed follow through on his shot but he made a ton of them in work outs that I watched. Money.

Chucky, at 36 still looks like he can play a bit but his size makes him defensive liability and with the team having so many other options to handle the ball I just don't see it for him.

Zabian does a lot of things well. He's a solid guard who is precise and smart on the floor. His outside shot doesn't seem all that good but he's a good defender at the point guard position. I just don't think he does enough really good to beat out Janning, but we'll see.

3) What happens when you put Robin Lopez, Dwayne Jones and Garret Siler in the paint together?

I think it's safe to say that Robin Lopez has his roster spot secure. Not so much with the other two. Big man coach (and just a big man) Bill Cartwright wasn't all that impressed with Siler when we chatted yesterday. Sure, he's big but as Big Bill pointed out, you still have to be able to play basketball.

Jones on the other hand was complimentary of his competition saying how impressed he was with Siler's quick feet and how it was impossible to go through him when he sets a screen. He uses his size well, according to Dwayne.

It's not inconceivable that the Suns keep both Jone and Siler but I doubt it. My money is on the more skilled and better conditioned Dwayne Jones but if Siler works his ass off (literally like 15 pounds of it) then you never know.

This one's a toss up (although we still think Robin's job is secure).

4) 17 walk in, how many walk out?

Remember a few years ago when Amare's knee broke on the first day of training camp? Or when Boris poked Amare in the eye during training camp? Or when Robin broke his foot during training camp?

Well, Amare's gone so that's one less injury to worry about but there's still Robin and 16 other guys - about half of whom are really important to the team. 

Injuries are part of the game and we should all be rubbing our local rabbit's feet and hoping for nothing serious to befall anyone. Or at least anyone important. 

5) What will surprise us from camp this year?

It's always something. Perhaps it will be a Twitter-video shower scene from Jared Dudley who's battling with Darnell Dockett for the best Twitter athlete in Phoenix sports. Or maybe it will be revealed that Grant Hill and Steve Nash actually are pod people from Cocoon and J-Chill's hair is really fake. 

What do you think will be the most surprising news to come out of Suns training camp this season?

Bonus question: What kind of world are we living in that this got banned from TV?



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