Can Hedo Defend the 4?

An Excellent breakdown and analysis (including fun pictures) by Michael and the boys at ValleyoftheSuns.com


Wuzzzup.  Here's a random meandering for you purple and orange summer site stalkers.

Let's play a little game if you're as bored as I am at work or as desperate as I am for Suns Basketball diggs - it's called Ex-Suns: Where are they Now?

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Pick your favorite Ex-Sun and do some research.  In the comment section below let us all know Where they are now and why you chose the player you did.

I'll start it off.

I stumbled across this article about an hour ago that announced that former Phoenix Sun Casey Jacobsen is re-signing with his German team Brose Basket Bamburg in their BBL.

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Eutychus... who cares?  

I know right?  Well I do.  Casey may not be a well remembered fan favorite for all - but he was definitely one of my favorites when the Suns drafted him back in 02'. I'm not saying he's my all-time favorite or anything crazy like that... He was in the news and it brought back some fond memories.  I have a tendency to root for the underdog - and that was Casey. His stats (as seen below) weren't/aren't eye popping, but his character is off the charts and he was a likable guy to root for - a Goran-like guy who you wanted to play well.

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So things didn't pan out very well for him in the NBA so Casey has been back forth between here and Europe but he still plays. Besides being the underdog dude - another reason I was a fan is because when he played for the Suns he lived in my neighborhood and we actually went to church together, so I got to talk to him every once in a while and that is always fun.   I'll never forget one Sunday when he was having one of his babies blessed in church -  I rolled into the parking lot and saw Mercedes after BMW after Cadillac on huge custom rims and sleek paint jobs, and when I walked into the building I saw nearly the entire Suns team on the back row there to support Casey on a big day for his family.  It was really cool.

Besides all that - Casey is probably one of the better basketball player bloggers I can think of - check out his work at SLAM online.  

Here's an excerpt from a blog about gaurding MJ and LeBron - He's got good imagery and whatnot - but he did go to Stanford...

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If you're still bored -  Here are some of his more memorable moments in the NBA

And just to see a little more what his personality is like check out this little feature he did with the Memphis Grizzlies.

  Alright, enough man-love for a mediocre Ex-NBA player - it's your turn.   Light it up in the comment section.

Poll
Did you even remember Casey Jacobsen played for the Suns?

  462 votes | Results


Pheonix Suns' Goran Dragic (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

More photos » John Bazemore - AP

Pheonix Suns' Goran Dragic (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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Let's take a look at some summer stories on our current/former Phoenix Suns. Yesterday, Seth linked to a link about Grant and Steve's exploits this summer.

Today, I give you nuggets on the NBA schedule, some Suns predictions and stories on Louis Amundson and Goran Dragic.

Get yer Suns news here!

NBA Schedule coming out today

The NBA will release the full 2010-2011 schedule later today (2pm eastern, on NBA.com).  We already know the opening week is killer for the Suns, with 2 national games in the first 4 days and all 3 opening games against very tough opponents (Blazers, Jazz and Lakers)

I'll post the schedule here, with some analysis. Just gimme a little time to digest it and make some win/loss guesses. It's always fun to pre-analyze how the season will go, based on home/away/B2B and the like.

In the meantime, feast your thoughts on these links...

Update on the as-yet-unsigned Lou

Lou gives you 15-20 difference-making minutes a night (4-5 pts, 4-5 rebounds, 10-12 raucous cheers). He is, in my opinion, head and shoulders above the other remaining free agents on the market. And for his troubles, he deserves some cheese. Some lettuce. Some walking-around money.

But not once this summer have I heard how much cheese Lou really wants.

This nugget came out today, with regard to the New Jersey Nets' opening at PF:

Power forward update: There is no update.

Basically, there is no other guy they can induce with a make-good, as they did with Sean May. Louis Amundson wants a $3 million guarantee, which is fair. Joe Smith wants a full guarantee. Even Malik Allen wants a half-guarantee.

The other guys who might be decent stopgaps are coming off surgeries – specifically Brian Scalabrine (shoulder) and Ike Diogu (ACL), so you’re not going to invest there, either. Josh Boone? Definitely in the been-there-done-that-forget-it category.

So for now, it’s status quo: There’s no one left in the free agent pool they’re going to give any guaranteed money to, we’re told by a few agents with homeless clients. Which means the Nets are going to have to trade a commodity for a commodity to plug the hole at the four-spot.

Lou wants 3 million a year. Sounds fair. I just wonder whether his price varies based on the quality of the team. I'd love to see him get some run on the Miami Heat, as a backup energy guy to Bosh. I know, I know. The Heat are the Evil Empire. But still, Lou deserves quality minutes on a winning team where he can make a difference.

Anyone but the Lakers, that is. And the Spurs. And the Nuggets. And the Thunder. Okay, he can sign with anyone in the East. That works for me.

Now, let's move on to our very own Goran Dragic.

I found and google-translated a little story on him in a Spanish newspaper, previewing the Spain/Slovenia game coming up in Goran's hometown:

 The baton of the team has two owners: the base of Barcelona, Jaka Lakovic, and his young and outstanding disciple, the electric Goran Dragic.  While the former the level at which he usually does, the latter is gaining little by little in the starting lineup.

...Dragic decided two years ago to cross the pond to test the NBA adventure with the Phoenix Suns, where he not only adapted fast but is integrated seamlessly between the major players in the rotation of the franchise.

It's nice to see a story from half the world away talk about Goran with the same respect he gets from Phoenix and Slovenia fans.

Now maybe I'm just being petty, but I can't wait to see what Hollinger from ESPN writes about Goran this fall in his annual indepth preview of every player in the NBA. That guy has spent two years writing about how bad Goran is, and how stupid the Suns were to give up a second rounder and 500K to draft him, then 2 million a year to sign him. Goran is a steal now.

Here's a snippet of what Hollinger wrote about Goran a year ago, on ESPN insider:

Remind me again why they jumped through so many hoops to get this guy? Dragic was tragic as a rookie, shooting 39.3 percent from the field and leaving serious questions as to whether he'll ever be a competent pro point guard.

Dragic heads into the season still in possession of the backup point guard job, more by default than by any strong desire to see him fire the ball all over the gym again. The Suns will revert back to Leandro Barbosa, however, if Dragic struggles as much as he did a season ago. While rookies with high turnover rates often make huge gains in their second season, Dragic would need to make a fairly impressive leap just to be competent.

 

An overall Suns season prediction, from a Laker fan/reporter

Check this one out (click). It's actually one of the Suns-fan-friendliest predictions yet. Pincus writes respectfully about many of the acquisitions this summer, though he ultimately questions how far the Suns will go.

That's okay with me. The Suns have a lot more fun when they're counted out.

 

Here's a discussion of the Suns/Jazz game during opening week

Phoenix at Utah (Oct. 28, TNT) — As interested as I am in seeing Deron Williams vs. Steve Nash, I’m more interested in seeing how the Suns are going to deal with Utah’s revamped front line. I envision Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap devouring Hakim Warrick like two lions picking over the carcass of an impala, while Mehmet Okur serves Robin Lopez an eyeful of jumpers.

Really? Does it not occur to this gentleman that he has the matchups totally wrong? Lopez/Frye would guard Jefferson, Warrick/Turk would guard Millsap, and Turkoglu/Frye would guard Okur.

By they way, I also can't wait to see Lopez attack Jefferson, and Turkoglu shoot over and drive past the shorter Millsap and Okur. Ditto for Warrick. It goes both ways, buddy. utah's defense will be atrocious. Plus, the Suns will likely be playing some zone, allowing Lopez to guard anyone close to the basket, while Warrick/Turk would take one side of the baseline.

 

Got any other Suns-related links?


Grant Hill Paling With Obama. Steve Nash, Wall Street Intern

Any old NBA player can travel and work out over the summer but that's not enough for Grant and Steve.


Honestly, maybe a new Fan post for this recap is a waste of space and time. Perhaps, similar to me watching this game. Perhaps reading this will be a waste of your time. I do apologize in advance if the thought crosses your mind after you're finished.

And to think, i actually recorded this game. So i could do some detailed notes for you guys, maybe even insert a funny line. Well, i will not be re-watching the game anytime, nor do i want to waste your time with detailed notes.

Now, everything i have and will say (write) is only my perspective. I'm a fan of basketball and obviously a supporter of Slovenia, so everything is filtered thru my point of view. That means that what i write is only that - my perspective. And of course i will try to focus on Dragic and how he relates to the team and vice versa.



Remember, in this friendly (preparation games) tournment, Slovenia lost to Lithuania on Friday 84:86, while on Satuday Spain beat Lithuania easily 97:76.

At the end of the game, the scoreboard was 88:68. Do i really have to say who won. And i think Spain didn't even try very hard. Considering Spain lead by 26 points in the middle of the 3rd quarter, the end result is only mildly depressing.

Goran started with Lakovic, Becirovic, Rizvic and Brezec. For all of you who have no idea who those guys are: 3 guards in a starting lineup. I know our selection of big guys is limited, but playing 3 guards at once, especially, when two of them are considered point guards is puzzling.

If the game ended after 4 minutes, Slovenia would have won 9:3. Slovenia's movement in offense and defense was better, Goran was running off screens and attacking, while Lakovic ran the point. The movement of the ball and players quickly came to a stop (literally). Everybody was just standing still, while the guy with the ball was playing one on one. Goran didn't have his best night, he ended with 16 points, but also had 6 turnovers. It's not like he wasn't trying. Honestly, even with this performance, he's the only one who in my opinion looked capable of scoring. He was agressive and quick and the only one who looked capable of matching with Spanish players. That said, it seemed to me that he was forcing it on numerous occasions. But what else there is to do, if the whole team is standing and not even putting in the effort of trying to get open. I with i could say Spain's defense was that good, but honestly i don't know. I mean how can one tell, if the only measure is poor Slovenian offense.

The team defense was plain bad, while on offense it looked like a group of strangers. Goran was agressive on defense some of the time and when he managed to come up with a steal, he got called for a foul. It's not like the result would have been different, but the refs were blowing the whistles like they were at the Love Parade. Too soon? Laughter heals, people.

30 atempted free throws for Spain against Slovenia's 17. Like i said, that's not the reason we lost, it just feels better throwing that out there.

Goran had a few good moves in the 4th quarter, when him and Jagodnik lead Slovenia with a 13:0 run. But that was pretty much it.

When Goran was playing with Lakovic in the lineup, he was mostly running off screens or standing still (very creative offensive play). If Lakovic was on the bench he was playing the point, but you can't be very creative with the team that does not have any fluidity in the offense and players who aren't moving into open space.

I don't get the whole playing 3 guards at once, especially since it is becoming obvious Lakovic and Becirovic are not playing well. Becirovic and Lakovic both looked uncapable of creating any shot. If coach intends to play similar lineups in the future, then i have to say, i'm not sure why he sent Udrih home. Sure, it disrupts the team spirit if one player is above the team and blablablabla. You know what else disrupts the team spirit. Not being able to score.

I think Udrih would match a lot better with Dragic in the lineup and he's also capable of hitting a shot. But, there's still a lot of preparation games to play, so i'm hoping certain things improve. At least to the level where one can watch a game and somewhat enjoys it.

We'll find out soon, what a difference a day makes. Tomorrow (Tuesday night) Spain comes to Ljubljana for a rematch. Sure, the place will be packed and Slovenian fans are one of the best in creating a wonderfull ambient that lifts the home team. But against Spain and with the effort that they showed in this game, the result will probably be pretty much the same.

Take care guys


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