Trading Questions ’bout the Suns

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Published: October 30, 2008

In preparation for Tonight’s battle against the Phoenix Suns, I traded questions with Phoenix Stan from the excellent blog The Bright Side of the Sun.  The questions he asked me can be found here.  Below are several burning questions I had for him about the Suns.  Enjoy.

H247: Grant Hill is sliding to the bench and Matt Barnes will start at the Small Forward. Mistake, Savvy Move, or Irrelevant?

BSoS: I like the move. In the scheme of things it won’t matter a ton but the rationale is sound:

  1. You put that veteran presence and excellent decision making on the floor with the rookie point guard Dragic
  2. You limit Grant’s minutes
  3. You put your two best wing defenders on the floor together (Bell and Barnes)

Between the two – they both can finish on the break. They both a solid defensive players on the wing. Barnes is more athletic and should have better range and spread the floor while Hill is a brilliant decision maker and provides floor leadership. When you look at this things it’s almost a no brainer to put Hill’s experience together with the more youthful bench.

H247: Do you miss the Matrix?

BSOS: Sure. I am a big Shawn Marion fan. I love his game and his goofy personality. I don’t miss paying him $17m/yr and dealing with his need to be “respected”. He was the most overrated underrated player anywhere.

The Suns have basically replaced him with Barnes who is about 75% the player at about 10% the cost. I call the a net plus.

H247: The Sun’s defense was dead in the middle of the pack last year, being the 16th most efficient. Porter was brought in to improve it. What is your feeling? Is the personnel right?

BSoS: Defense is a team game and with the right coaching and the right emphasis any team can be good defensively. If they want to be. Look at the Hornets. Is Peja a good defender? No. But on a good defensive team he adjusts and does his thing.

The Suns have solid defensive players in Bell, Barnes, Diaw, Dragic, Lopez and yes Amare. Hill is solid and then you have a guy like Barbosa who has all the physical abilities to play good D but hasn’t ever had the coaching. The only real defensive holes are Nash for sure and then Shaq. And Shaq for all the grief I give him will at least protect the rim and rebound. 

You have to remember that D’Antoni’s philosophy was team offense and isolation defense. From all I’ve heard from the team so far they are hungry for this change. They knew it needed to happen. The only guy that didn’t was D’Antoni and now he’s gone.

H247: Are we going to have to suffer through months of coverage about Amare’s poor wittle pinky? I think I’ve already heard enough about injured pinkies over the last six months.

BSoS: Dude, give the man a break. He dislocated his finger. Maybe you can bring your little finger over here and I will bend it all out of shape and see how you like it ….but to answer your question. No. The only pinky you will hear about resides in Los Angeles.

H247: DJ Strawberry was given his walking papers. Does this mean the Age of Dragic is at hand?

BSoS: Ah, my favorite topic. I consider this the pinnacle of my blogging career. I was courtside in Vegas when DJ Strawberry got abused by Jarydd Bayless and moments after the game ended I called it.

DJ is a nice kid but he’s not (yet) cut out for the NBA. He can’t pass the ball at all. His defense was over rated and he doesn’t shoot well enough. Mostly though he wasn’t strong enough mentally and didn’t seem to want it bad enough. We’ll see what happens to him but I wouldn’t be surprised if he hangs it up.

As for Dragic, we’ll see. I was impressed how hard the Suns went after him. You have to love that after years of trading draft picks. And so far he’s look ok. He has above average court vision and passes the ball very well. He very well could lead all rookies in assists and all young point guards in rebounds and steals. He is long and athletic and looks steady with the ball in his hands. His shot is still clearing customs however and he’s got a lot to learn.

Fortunately, the Suns new offense isn’t a point guard dependant and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a line up with some of the bigger guys running the offense at times. Diaw, Barnes and Hill all are capable of running the Suns new half court sets. The Spurs certainly be the Hornets without a point guard on the floor at times.

I’ll have a full Positional Analysis post up a little later today.  Stay tuned!

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