The Phoenix Suns, as evidenced once again on Sunday night when they failed to score 70 points, are seriously lacking in talent. As Dave pointed out recently, they do have assets to make trades and so we fully expect these trade rumors to continue unabated right up until the trade deadline at 3:00 pm ET on February 21.

Here's a new one from Paul Coro at the Arizona Republic that links the Suns to the Utah Jazz.

Reports of deadline deals swirl about Phoenix Suns
The Suns also have shown interest in a bigger splash for Utah’s Al Jefferson or Gordon Hayward. Dudley could be a part of either of those deals with center Marcin Gortat likely needed to make one work for Jefferson, a 28-year-old power forward who makes $14 million and is averaging 17.4 points and 9.5 rebounds. Hayward, a 22-year-old swingman, is averaging 13.5 points in a reserve role.

But then here's a conflicting report from ex-ESPN Insider, Ric Bucher:

Ric Bucher's post on San Antonio Spurs | Latest updates on Sulia
Latest word on Utah Jazz and who they'll keep vs. deal between Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap: Jefferson is the like -liest to stay right now, according to several opposing team executives. Consensus is the Jazz can't afford to keep both with Gordon Hayward soon to be eligible for an extension and the belief that Hayward is in the team's long-term plans

However things play out, it does seem like the Jazz will need to make some moves. Jefferson has already been linked to the Spurs but perhaps it will be Millsap who gets gone from the Beehive State. We should never forget that the Jazz are super deep in the front court with Jefferson, Millsap and young lottery talent in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.

As for the bigs, I've never been a huge Al Jefferson fan. He's quite talented on the offensive end and he does rebound, but defensively, he's not very mobile. He's basically a lesser version of Zach Randolph in that he lacks Z-bo's range and face-up game.

Millsap is a very nice player, but I don't see him being a great fit on the Suns. He's an upgrade at the PF but not an UPGRADE. Hayward I love, but I doubt the Jazz let him go. He seems to be a great fit in Utah. You know.

Ready. Set. Discuss.


Goran Dragic is quite frustrated. His team has lost by a combined 59 points in the last two games and nearly set a record for fewest points in a single game for the franchise last night (68 points in 1981 was a team low).

He has never been on a losing team in the NBA before, and certainly has never been the sole go-to guy for this many games in a row. Dragic is more of a score-first point guard who's at his best when attacking the defense than a pure playmaker on the perimeter.

But he is the best offensive option that the Suns have. And he is having a very good season, despite the chaos and outsized expectations on him. Dragic is one of only EIGHT players in the entire NBA this season to produce at least 14 points, 6.3 assists, 1 steal and 2.8 rebounds per game. Among those eight, Dragic plays the fewest minutes per game (32.3), attempts the fewest field goals and commits the second-fewest turnovers.

Sure there are better specialists at every one of those categories. But only Jrue Holiday, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, Jameer Nelson and Chris Paul approximate or exceed Goran Dragic's total production per game. That's it.

In short, Goran Dragic plays hard and is one of the best all-around guards in the NBA.

But he is not an all-star guard, and he is getting very frustrated at having to be that guy in order for the team to win any games. He almost always keeps a positive spin on his comments. Almost always. Last night was the biggest exception yet.

"We didn't know what we were doing defensively, offensively," he said in his opening statement at the post game press conference. "Everybody was, I don't know, on All-Star break. I don't know. It was just a tough game."

Asked about scoring only 9 points in the last 7 quarters against OKC after putting up 16 in the first quarter on Friday night, Dragic could not hold back.

"The pick and roll is not there. I just try to break the defense but there's always two guys on me. The big guy is standing in front and the point guard is coming behind. The only thing I can do in that position is pass the ball. I am not going to force anything if I don't have a clear shot."

Of course, breaking the defense down is as incumbent on Dragic as it is on anyone else. He is the guy with the ball, and it's clear he is passing off too early in the shot clock at times. Steve Nash would pound the ball until the play developed, where Dragic is more impatient. He wants movement and action.

Yet it's also clear that his teammates are no longer on the same page, if they ever were this season. There is very little movement amongst the other four players when Dragic starts the play at the top of the key. Even when he picks up the dribble -- which he shouldn't -- they often have to be cajoled to come help him (except for Beasley, who is always more than willing to take the ball).

With as much effort as Dragic puts into defending the opposing team's point guard, he cannot carry the team offensively as well. And as the game goes on, the offensive execution gets sloppier and sloppier.

And that's where Dragic's frustration mounts. Asked if he still felt that not all guys were trying at any given time, Dragic replied that he still feels the same.

"We have a team that some nights they bring it, they play hard," he said after the second straight blowout. "And then we get lost for 3-4 games."

Dragic did not mention any particular names, but he clearly was talking about a few players on the team. His comments were sweeping.

"I was talking to Lindsey. All the players are saying we got 30 games left. Everybody is saying "next year we are going to make the playoffs". If we shut down now then we cannot improve ourselves and try to be better next season. We cannot just click and come back next season and start playing better. We have to start now."

Asked about Dragic's comments, center Marcin Gortat paused for a full five seconds (the first time I have ever seen that) as he gazed across the locker room at his point guard. Then he smiled and refused to comment. "I'm not going to answer that," he said.

But Gortat did spend some time talking about the matter.

"I don't think we fight and compete the way the coaches want us to compete," he said. "I have been on winning teams and [Shannon Brown] knows what it takes to win two championships. I think we see things different than some other guys. Something's gotta change. You gotta come ready to play. If you really care, you've got to bring your best."

Gortat does believe the team is heading the right way, though. "Our practice change and the culture is slowly, slowly changing. We have a little bit more discipline. I would say we are going in a better direction definitely. Its just not going to change in a week or two or a month. Sometimes it takes years."

Dragic cares about this season and making progress. He is not going to give up no matter what happens.

"It's frustrating, but I'm not the guy that's just going to surrender," he said. "Where I come from, my family went through a lot. We have war. My father was always teaching me no matter how bad the situation you have to stay positive, you have to battle until the end. Even if the percentage is really low.

"And I am still going to fight until the end of the season. That's the only thing I can do. Right now I'm just asking everybody do the same thing. Players, coaching staff, try to get ourselves in better position."

Now before you go off on Dragic for being a bad team player, remember that he is always putting out his best effort and has never before been a guy to throw teammates under the bus.He has always been a model citizen on the Suns and the Rockets.

But when you're the captain of a "sinking ship" and your team is not putting out the same effort every night, it can get really frustrating.

Still, Dragic is wrong to throw teammates under the bus at any time. Steve Nash never does tha... oh wait, never mind. He threw Dwight Howard under the bus just last week.

I digress. Dragic should not let his frustrations out to the media. It cannot help the locker room when your best player is blaming others for failures.

PHOENIX — 48 hours and a return to retro threads didn’t change much at US Airways Center, other than reaffirming how big the gap is between the reigning Western Conference champions and the...

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The Suns started the game, shall we say, flat. Nine missed shots, four turnovers and five fouls in the first 6:30. Wow.

That was a harbringer to the rest of the game against the West's second-best team.

The Suns came back with a solid run to pull within one before OKC fought back to restore the lead to 8 with 3:25 left in the first quarter.

Russell Westbrook came out to avenge the only thing that went wrong in the Thunder's 31-point blowout on Friday night by frustrating Dragic and scoring his own 9 points along with 3 assists in the first. Dragic gave up two early fouls and turned the ball over three times, to go along with 6 points and 1 assist in the "duel". Dragic is a very good player, but just isn't the guy to carry your team every minute.

The quarter ends on a terrible note, with the Thunder scoring the last 8 points to stretch the lead to 27-16 on two 3s by a wide, wide open Thabo Sefolosha sandwiching a short hook by Nick Collison. Surgical precision on those three possessions by OKC.

After not taking a shot in the first three quarters on Friday night against the Thunder, Marcin Gortat made one of three first quarter shots on Sunday night. Heat check!

It got so bad at one point, the Suns appeared to be trying to match their season record (17-32) on the scoreboard. Hunter called a timeout after Sefolosha's 3rd wide open 3-pointer in a matter of minutes with the Suns down 16-30. Could it be he was drawing up a play to get free throws?

After that, the Suns woke up a bit (or, the Thunder went to sleep) and the Suns pulled to within 32-35 (a 16-5 run for the math challenged) before OKC got another open 3 by Sefolosha, a charge was called on Westbrook foul on O'Neal and a sneaky steal by Westbrook on an outlet pass. Boom. 10 points again before the starters could even come back in.

At the halftime buzzer the OKC Thunder hit their second consecutive end-of-quarter 3. Westbrook tried to taunt Dragic after making the 27-foot shot in his face but Dragic refused to be taunted, just walking purposefully away. Westbrook was forced to look for congrats from his team instead as the Thunder enjoyed a 51-34 halftime lead. OKS closed the half on a 16-2 run after the Suns had cut the lead to 3.

In the first half, the Suns looked completely dominated in all areas.

Yet, they outscored the Thunder 22-14 in the paint. Let's start with the Suns. The Suns had 29 shots on goal IN THE PAINT in the first half alone (14 of them offensive rebounds). The Suns made 11 field goals in the paint, while the Thunder blocked 6 shots and committed ZERO fouls on the Suns 18 misses. That's 22 points on 29 attempts in the paint.

The Thunder, on the other hand, had 12 shots on goal IN THE PAINT in the first half (3 of those on offensive rebounds). They made 7 first-chance field goals (on 9 attempts), got three offensive rebounds on their two misses and scored another two of their points there (on free throws). That's 16 points on 12 attempts in the paint.

I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.

The second half started out poorly for the Suns, giving up 4 quick points. Hunter replaced Jared Dudley with Kendall Marshall, going with the two-PG lineup that we have seen lately. Marshall had 3 points and 2 assists in the first half to earn the second-half burn.

Soon after that, O'Neal joined Gortat on the floor to make it 2 PGs and 2 Cs along with Tucker (then Beasley). Beasley was greeted to a lot of boos after shooting (and I mean shooting) 2-10 in the first half. No other Suns player had more than 4 attempts by the time Beasley had reached 10.

But this game was over.

The Suns did not come out to win in the second half, playing very tentative while the Thunder just took care of business. It was as if the Suns were playing a preseason game. Sure this is the 38-12 Thunder who are on a roll of 4 consecutive 20+ point blowouts (two of those NOT against the Suns, suprisingly).

When Shannon Brown finally came to spell Dragic at the 2 minute mark of the third, he promptly dribbled out the clock on a "dribble tantrum" that ended in a 25-foot double-teamed fallaway.

By this time, Suns fans could be heard regularly expressing their displeasure at the Suns' effort.

At the end of the third, the Suns had tallied only 48 points. Their franchise low is 68, set in 1981 against Kansas City, who moved to Sacramento, who are now (probably) moving to Seattle.

That meant the Suns needed 20 fourth-quarter points just to TIE their worst offensive output in 30 years.

The fourth started with Markieff Morris badly missing a 22-footer (those are bad) while the Thunder ran a screen play to get Serge Ibaka a catch-and-shoot jumper a la Richard Jefferson.

Within two scoreless minutes, the Suns had subbed in Luke Zeller, Sebastian Telfair and Wesley Johnson to team with team with Markieff Morris and Shannon Brown.

The Suns appear to have no plan on offense, and their defense unravels against the best offensive team in the NBA.

This truly may be the Suns lowest point this season.

Can't wait to hear what they have to say in the locker room.


The three names at the top of every draft board are pretty simple. In the end the 2013 WNBA Draft will come down to Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, and Skylar Diggins for the Phoenix Mercury.

Brittney Griner -- Senior, Center, Baylor Bears

She is a dynamic defensive senior standing 6-8 and is as intimidating a player in the paint defensively in the history of basketball. This season she set the mark for the most dunks by a woman in college basketball history, but even more impressive she is the NCAA D-1 leader in blocked shots. Men and women. Griner is a double-double machine and is always in the running for a triple-double with her defensive efforts. The senior is the best all-around prospect since Candace Parker

Why She Fits:

First of all she fits any and everywhere. No team would say to acquiring a 6-8 player with Griner's skill-set. She would be the dirty worker on a team already full of all-stars allowing them to do what they do best. Simplifying her role to be a rebounder and defender could maximize her talents taking this team to new heights.

Why She Doesn't Fit:

This is where stylistically one could nitpick. Griner does not fit the mold of this offense that is constantly running up-and-down the floor scoring points. That would not necessarily highlight her special abilities as a defender. Also, the team did just ink two young promising center to new deals, meaning they would have to carry three centers on the roster.

Elena Delle Donne -- Senior, F/C, Delaware Blue Hens

She brings the size as well at 6-5 and the ability to play both the four and the five at the next level. Delle Donne is a trenmendous shooter that can score the ball in high volume as she has done over the course of her four years in college. Do not let the name of her school fool you, Delle Donne was all set at Connecticut before returning home to play closer to her family. She rebounds the ball well, shoots it from about everywhere at a high percentage, and is a viable candidate to go No. 1 overall.

Why She Fits:

That seems easy. She is a great shooter, has the size to play the five, and would give the Mercury a potential line-up of five players capable of getting 20+ points a night. Her versatility as a scorer would balance out the court like an all-star game or US Olympic trial.

Why She Doesn't Fit:

Do they really need another scorer? Are there enough balls to go around for her, Taurasi, Taylor, Bonner, and Dupree? Also, would she be comfortable playing across the country from her family? All tough questions that are not going in her favor.

Skylar Diggins -- Senior, PG, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

One of the premier point guards in the country at 5-9 with the ability to score, shoot, and distribute the ball at a very high level. Diggins is known as a scorer, but carried her team to being the National Runner-Ups with a bevy of unique talents. Her ability to break down the defense is second to nobody at this level and will be highlighted even more in the more up-tempo WNBA game.

Why She Fits:

There are very few point guards that can take over a game like "Sky" Diggins can. She has the ability to score and distribute fitting in well alongside any players. The stars on the Mercury are not getting any younger so adding Diggins could be a way to preserve the balance of greatness on the roster for the next 7-9 years.

Why She Doesn't Fit:

The team already has Samantha Prahalis, their first round pick from last year, running the point. She was impressive as a rookie showing flashes of potentially being a great player in this league. Diggins could very well be an upgrade, but can you give up on Sammy that early?

The Field:

There is no "field" in this class. The team will either take a dominant force, an amazing shooter, or a dynamic play-maker.

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