Find the hoop, Goran!  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Find the hoop, Goran! (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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When oh when will the bleeding stop? The Suns are hemorraging badly.

Badly, Alex? Did you really need the word 'badly'? Is there any other kind of hemorraging?

Why yes there is! Thank you for asking. Preseason hemorraging is akin to a paper cut. It's annoying and painful in the short term, but gone within a day or two with not even a scar in its wake. 

But guess what, my results-starved brethen?

If there were a single preseason game that promised to most resemble the regular season, tonight's game at home against Golden State would be the one.

Officially, there's only 2 more dress-rehersals before the Suns open the season on the road, at Portland on Oct 26 and then at Utah on October 28. Those games are followed immediately by hosting the Lakers on October 29.

Wait a minute here... playing the Lakers on the back end of a back-to-back while they've been resting for 2 days? When has that happened before? Hmm... oh yeah, like every other time we play them. #$&#$&#(&)&!

But I digress. Back to the game preview.

As I was saying, if the Suns were to show us their true colors at any point this preseason, it's going to happen tonight.

  1. The opponent is not a playoff rival.
  2. The game is at home.
  3. The first and second units need some burn, and Gentry said he's going to play the starters about 30 minutes apiece.
  4. Only 2 dress-rehersals left - no more time to evaluate younguns!
  5. The Suns are shooting 25% on 3-ptrs. That lid has to come off the rim at some point. Once it does, no one's gonna want to leave the floor.

FWIW: I'll be at the game tonight, cheering on the Suns in person. When I get home, I'll bang out a first-hand recap to rival Seth's on SB Nation AZ.

 

Other links:

Oh Lou... so sad

Unfortunately, we won't see our beloved Lou suit up tonight. He need finger surgery and will be out a while. Yet another Warrior who turned to paper as soon as he moved to the Bay Area.

Suns season preview, by lifelong Suns-lover (snigger) Charley Rosen

The Suns won’t miss Amar’e Stoudemire’s selfish pouting, low basketball IQ and reluctance to either rebound or defend.

...(click the link for a lot more on individuals)...

Overall, the Suns lack rebounding and defense, yet will still light up the scoreboard as long as Nash has his finger on the trigger of the offense.

The roster is divided between guys who are too old and guys who are too young. At this point, the future belongs to Lopez, Dragic, Warrick, Dudley and whichever rookies prove they can play. Everybody else (including Nash) is a stopgap.

Which sleeper will shine this season in fantasy land?

Which sleeper would you rather have: Nicolas Batum, Leandro Barbosa, Josh Childress or Dorell Wright?

The panel's picks were all over the place, only 1 of them choosing Childress:

Steve Alexander, RotoWorld: I am really feeling Josh Childress here.

He's having a great preseason, fitting in very well with his new teammates and the Suns, and he's one of those guys that won't crush any category, but does enough of everything to be a nice glue guy at the end of a fantasy draft. He can score, hit threes, steal, rebound, shoot it (even though the shot is ugly) and is a great teammate. A hustle guy who won't hurt you anywhere, and is as excited as anyone to be running alongside Steve Nash. I really don't see a downside to him and had he been playing in the NBA for the last couple years he'd probably be going in Round 5 instead of 12. I'm also intrigued with Nicolas Batum, Leandro Barbosa and Dorell Wright, but Childress is the guy I'd rank at the top of that list right now. My guess is I'll be in the minority, with Batum leading the way from the panel, but I don't care.


PHOENIX — With one of the NBA’s best pick and roll duos now extinct and an abundance of small forwards on the roster, it’s hard to tell what type of team the 2010-11 Phoenix Suns...

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PHOENIX - OCTOBER 12:  Andrei Kirilenko #47 of the Utah Jazz drives the ball past Earl Clark #55 of the Phoenix Suns during the preseason NBA game at US Airways Center on October 12, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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PHOENIX - OCTOBER 12: Andrei Kirilenko #47 of the Utah Jazz drives the ball past Earl Clark #55 of the Phoenix Suns during the preseason NBA game at US Airways Center on October 12, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Less than two weeks to go and I know you are all glued to your computer monitors like moths playing Halo in their mothers' basements ... oh, the waiting!! ... just to find out if the new Suns front office dynamic duo of Lon and Lance will pick up the team option for the third year of Earl Clark's rookie contract.

It's a real mind blower, this one is.

I won't even bother rehashing all the pro-Earl and anti-Earl arguments. But it is fun to hear from Clark himself, who just yesterday told me that he wasn't aware of the contract decision:

Earl Clark Not Sure Suns Will Pick Up Team Option On His Rookie Contract - SB Nation Arizona
"I didn't even know that," Earl said when I asked about his contract uncertainty after Monday's practice. He's busy taking a more Zen approach to his life.

"I can't worry about things I can't control. It's up to them if they pick it up. If not, I'm still going to be me (and) work hard just to be a better player. That's the bottom line."

Personally, I am still on the fence with Earl. I was hoping after six preseason games to have a stronger opinion one way or another about him, but he's just not done enough to move the needle in either direction.

He has plenty of bust potential and plenty of actual basketball potential. That Kerr guy told us when Earl was drafted that he was a high risk / high reward guy and a "project." 

If they don't pick up the option, it will be hard to keep him productive and useful this season. He will essentially become a lame duck who never learned to fly. Sure, he will probably keep working hard in practice, but the Suns will have no incentive to play him and other teams would not place a high value on a guy the Suns gave up on.

All in all, I don't see the harm in picking up the option and keeping Earl around. Give it another year -- you never know. It's a long season and if an injury happens and Earl gets consistent minutes he just might figure it out.

He's a tease that way.

Here's some fun Earl facts:

  • He's only 22-years-old (and was born in the same year I graduated high school, which makes me ancient).
  • He's played a total of 92 minutes this preseason and has 16 rebounds. Nash has 16 rebounds, also (in 118 minutes). 
  • Robin Lopez leads the team with 25 rebounds in 113 minutes. Not Clark-related, but Clark-adjacent info.
  • Lottery players who haven't had their options picked up on their rookie contracts include Joe Alexander (2008, eighth), Patrick O'Bryant (2006, ninth), and Yarloslav Korelev (2005, eleventh).
  • Earl will make $1.9m this season (which is about $1.85 more than most of us).
  • Earl would make $2m next season if the Suns pick up the option and $3m the following season.
Poll
Should the Suns pick up the option for Clark's 3rd year?

  620 votes | Results


I’ve written about hoping to develop a forum in which smart basketball talk takes place, but before venturing over to the forum I would recommend purchasing the 2010-11 edition of Basketball...

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Nice beard, man. You too.

More photos » Frank Gunn - AP

Nice beard, man. You too.

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Not all that much new from Suns practice today. They practiced. Then they were done practicing and some of them stayed and took more shots (like Hedo, Robin and Goran) and others (Steve Nash and Alvin Gentry) answered silly questions.

That's the rhythm of things.

  • Nash still says they have a lot of work to do but that they aren't far away and hopefully can get ready in next 8 or 9 days and if not he hopes they can play their butts off and get better as the season goes on. 
  • That's pretty much Steve's standard answer right now. I've heard it at least five times. It must get old for him. That's followed by answer number 2...
  • It comes down to offensive and defensive cohesion which is about incorporating the new guys.
  • The Suns are horrible from three point line but Nash and Gentry think they are getting good looks and just missing them. That's a lot about getting into game shape. Neither are worried about it, nor am I. This team has too many good shooters to be this bad. Suns are hitting on 25.4% of their three's in the preseason. No WAY that carries over.
  • Nash again says the 2nd unit will have to be really good this year but they need time...cohesion...new players...understand each other...
  • Looking forward to next two games playing with the regular rotations...still have a lot of work to do
  • I asked Nash aboot the "polite" reception Canada gave Hedo. He said, "I was surprised. Toronto is supposed to be the big bad city but all my homies back in Vancouver were the ones who really gave him a shit-kicking. I don't know what's going on if they're getting soft in Toronto or what."
  • Asked about the small crowd in Toronto, Nash cited "preseason apathy" 
  • BOOM, sucka!
  • Oh, sorry. I don't want to offend any Canadians. We still love you and Nash also mentioned the blocked streets downtown and how hard it must have been to get to the game on a Sunday morning.
  • Gentry is setting the exception bar to "low", reminding us it's a "long, long season" and that even last year when they started 14-3 he still wasn't sure how good the team was. So, I think patience and the long-view probably applies to the 1-5 preseason record as well. Or not, they've been pretty horrible so far. You're call whether you think it matters.
  • Coach says he's focused on trying to get better each day with defensive rotations and rebounding and if they do that perhaps the Suns will be very good. Eventually. 
  • Gentry said he's going to play "those guys" about 30 minutes in these next two preseason games. I think he means Nash, Hill, J-Rich, and Hedo.
  • Gentry's not sure if this year's second unit will be as good as last year's but hopes they will be. He thinks last year they won 10 or 12 games for the team. They need to develop the bench this year so they "play with the confidence that group had." He called them "the most important second unit in the league" -- talking about last year's bench.
  • Asked about Channing Frye's poor shooting in the preseason, Gentry joked, "I'm not sure if he thinks it's the playoffs or what." But then went on to say that at the end of the day he'll hit 150 or so three's. Again, no worries. Are you worried?
Linkage:

Poor Louis

Warriors' Amundson Needs Surgery on Finger
Amundson suffered a fracture in his right index finger during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers – and the injury will require surgery. 

Amare back to playing center for D'Antoni. That can only end one way...

The Works: Amar'e at Center (Again); Can the Blazers and Jazz Contend? -- NBA FanHouse
Stoudemire survived at center in Phoenix because of Marion. The Matrix rebounded as well as Amar'e (despite the size difference); instead of a center-power forward tandem, the Suns essentially played two power forwards. That left some deficit on defense and the glass, but the otherworldly offense, led by Nash and Stoudemire outweighed the bad year after year.

Toronto really really hates Turkoglu. I think they just have too many newspapers up there and not enough other things to worry about.

  • Raptors defeat Suns in the return of Turkoglu | The Toronto Observer Turkoglu was certainly booed any time his name was announced or when he touched the ball, but the former Raptor — who demanded a trade in the off-season and made some negative comments about the city and franchise — didn’t hear much from the crowd simply because he hardly played.
  • No love for Turkoglu in T.O. - The Globe and Mail Turkoglu's body language and complaints about his use were one of the subtexts to the demoralizing 2009-10 season. He bobbed and weaved around issues after the game Sunday, saying he never bad-mouthed Toronto, holding back criticism of head coach Jay Triano or general manager Bryan Colangelo.
  • Turkoglu shrugs off Toronto's cold reception "Turk always has his sense of humour going," Raptors point guard Jarrett Jack said. "I’m sure he’s not going to let it grasp on to him too much. He’s just going to shrug it off, smile a little bit and just go about his business." "I didn’t get much love when I was here, too," Turkoglu mused. "So it’s normal when I’m not here, I’ll get the boos."
  • Turkoglu boos himself | Basketball | Sports | Toronto Sun As it was for most of last season, Turkoglu appears to be out of shape and was sucking wind quite frequently during Sunday’s game, particularly when he hustled back to play defence. It will be interesting to see how long before the fans in Phoenix, and his teammates, turn on him. At one point during the first half, as Turkoglu waited to return to the court, a member of the Raptors stats crew asked him how he was doing. "Better now," he said, tugging at his Suns jersey.
  • Feschuk: Fans rip 'Turkaboo,' Turkoglu rips Raptors - thestar.com "People have to realize it’s not always the players," said Turkoglu. "People just got to see what’s really going on and make a judgment after that. I’m not a random guy. Chris (Bosh) was an all-star. Other guys, all-stars, too. You have to ask them what was the reason that they left. Then people will realize . . . instead of just going after the players. (Vince) Carter, Tracy (McGrady), whatever. I know (Bosh), I hope he doesn’t get booed. He gave a lot of good stuff for this organization. I think he deserves to be welcomed in a nice way."
  • Tip-In: In Rhythm, Raptors Beat the Suns 121-100 - Raptors HQ In two pre-season games, the Raptors showed that they may have found a fairly good team that they may be able to beat pretty consistently.  Our Dinos managed to push around the Suns after they got into a rhythm, and despite having trouble for most of the first half, the Raptors managed to take control in the third and never let go.

Robin is important...in case you weren't sure about that yet

Robin Lopez to make or break the 2010-11 Phoenix Suns | Valley of the Suns With the season right around the corner and zero help up front, Suns fans will find out real soon whether or not Lopez can be that "premier" center he’s expected to be, not only on the offensive end, but defensively and on the glass.

 


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