Phoenix Suns Predictions
Last Year’s Record: 33-33
Key Losses: Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick, Michael Redd
Key Additions: Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola, Jermain O’Neal, Kendall Marshall
He was absolutely great as the roll man with Steve Nash running the show. Gortat doesn’t turn the ball over, is a good shooter and an excellent finisher near the rim. He should see more opportunity for isolations in the post this year. Due to his mobility he’s an above average defender and a solid rebounder. His only knock is lack of strength and propensity to leave his feet on shot fakes.
It’s surprising to me that Dudley has become such a good offensive player. He doesn’t really create his own shots, but can knock down the midrange and long ball when open. He shot 38% from behind the arc and doesn’t turn the ball over very often. Defensively he’s not very quick, but he’s smart and quit reaching so much. I’d rate him as just slightly above average.
At 31 years of age, I think Scola’s best days are behind him. He started turning the ball over more while shooting at a lower rate killing most of his value on the offensive end of the floor. Last year his defense suffered but that was mostly from playing a small ball center, where his lack of size killed him.
At this point you have to wonder if Beasley is ever going to “get” it. He is a great shooter who hit 38% of his 3-point attempts and knocks down the midrange jumper. The problem is that he makes things too hard on himself, and most of his attempts are tough shots. He has the quickness to get past most wings, which should lead to easier shots and more attempts at the foul line, but he rarely takes advantage. He also never passes the ball. Last year Beasley’s defense improved, but he’s undersized for the four spot and not quite quick enough laterally to defend small forwards.
Last year was a rough one for Morris. He shot OK from 3-point range, but his midrange jumper was bad and he didn’t finish particularly well around the rim. Morris is a decent ball handler for his size and he was a good rebounder. He tries hard on both ends of the floor, but he has a lot of work left to do if he’s going to be a valuable contributor.
Dragic turned the corner last year in Houston and was rewarded with a four year deal. The offense will run though him and while he’s not a great shooter, he is one of the best point guards in the league at finishing near the rim and drawing fouls. This means that even though he doesn’t hit a high percentage of outside shots he’s still an efficient scorer. Last year he also cut his turnover rate down. An average defender, he finally cut down on his fouls last year to enable him to stay on the floor longer.
Brown has a lot of potential but hasn’t put it all together. He shot 36% from 3-point range, but took too many long twos. He is very athletic, but isn’t a good enough ball handler to get to the rim without turning it over. Brown also isn’t a great passer. Brown is an average defender who is undersized but doesn’t foul often.
His athletic ability leaves a lot to be desired, but at 6’4″ he has good size for a point guard. Marshall also saw the floor well and distributed to his teammates in a position to score. What’s surprising about his size is that he was a terrible rebounder.
The rebuilding has finally begun in Phoenix. The problem the last few years has been the team was short on talent, but Steve Nash was so good that the team kept winning just enough games to keep them out of the lottery. Now that Nash has finally moved on you can expect the Suns to be bad enough to pick up a very pick on their own, plus they have stock piled another couple.
If you look up and down this roster you can’t feel optimistic. The moves this team has made since they let Steve Kerr walk have been puzzling at best and this is the year Phoenix is going to pay the price. The only race the Suns will be competing in is for the worst record in the Western Conference.
Odds to Win the NBA Championship: 200/1
Odds to Win the Western Conference: 100/1
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