As the NBA Lockout continues, let's hope that the eventual outcome follows that of the NFL. The Phoenix Suns are an interesting team to look at. Finishing 40-42 last season, future hall of famer Steve Nash won't be seeing a championship anytime soon. Let's take a look at the mix of "over the hill" veterans and mid-level players in their prime that form the Phoenix Suns.
Barring a miracle, the Suns are looking at a similar fate to that of last season. Most of their players are signed through this season, so let's not expect wholesale changes anytime soon. If the roster was filled with each individual in their prime, the Suns would be more than formidable, but that's wishful thinking.Guards
This is a position with bigtime players who are past their prime. Nobody can ever question the heart of Steve Nash
, even at 37 years of age. This is a player that's in top physical shape each season and has won the most valuable player award multiple times. Nash isn't big in stature but he's large in production.
Last season saw his numbers dwindle to 14.8 points, 11.4 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game. Nash can still shoot the ball. He shot 49.2 % from the field while being almost automatic from the free throw line at 91.2%. Expect Nash to do the same this year. He gets players involved with timely passing and is a great defensive player. Not as good as he once was.
I can't say the same for veteran shooting guard Vince Carter. Carter was once a player that was a consistent 20 plus point per game scorer that would grab 5 rebounds per game when he played for the Raptors and the Nets. At 34 years old, Vince has slowed down and his shooting touch is inconsistent. Vince can still put up 25 points in one game but he's not as active as he used to be and has been known to put up poor shots. Most teams would like to have him, but now he's just a role player with flashes of brilliance.
Aaron Brooks (9.6 points, 4.2 assists) and Josh Childress (5 points, 2.9 rebounds) are fairly young solid backups. Both players received more playing time before they came to Phoenix. Childress missed the entire 2009-2010 season and I would expect his playing time and production to go up. Aaron Brooks could start on a lot of NBA teams. Both Josh Childress and Vince Carter can play either shooting guard or small forward.Forward
Long time veteran forward and all around "nice guy" Grant Hill is an unrestricted free agent
and the Suns would like him to retire with them. His status at this point is up in the air. Hill benefited from Phoenix's fast tempo style and was able to produce even into his late 30's. Grant Hill is still an asset. Stay tuned.
The Suns don't have a superstar at the forward spot but they have two capable players with some much needed youth in Jared Dudley and 3 point specialist Channing Frye. Players like Channing Frye are rare. He's a career 40% shooter from 3 point range and can also play on the inside at 6 foot 11. Frye averaged a career high 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds as he enters the prime of his playing career. Look for Frye to have an even better offensive season in 2011.
Jared Dudley will never be a superstar but this small forward has gotten progressively better each season and is just 26 years old. Dudley averaged 10.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He's a starter but is really the definition of "role player". He play's his 26 minutes per game and gives maximum effort with very few mistakes (0.8 turnovers per game).
Mickael Pietrus, like many of the players on the Suns roster, can play either small forward or shooting guard. He's an energetic player that's known for going on a roll and hitting 2 or 3 consecutive 3 pointers in that amount of consecutive trips down the court. He can change the complextion of a game.but doesn't put up big numbers.
Phoenix can use the help on the boards and that's why they drafted Markieff Morris out of Kansas in the first round. If any of you remember Charles Oakley from the 1990's, Morris at best, could possibly develop into this type of player that does the dirty work while providing some offense. At 6 foot 10, 245 pounds and coming from a large school, the Suns are hoping for Morris to be a force offensively and defensively. It's a step towards the youth movement and a good selection in the draft.
Hakeem Warrick is a nice veteran out of Syracuse that comes off the bench to provide energy, rebounding, and solid shooting. He makes the most of the 15 minutes that he's allotted each game.Center
Marcin Gortat was a pleasant surprise when he was picked up in the trade from Orlando that involved Vince Carter as the main piece. In reality, Gortat has turned out to be Phoenix's best part of that trade and he was a "throw in". The Polish great averaged 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocked shots per game with Phoenix. That's a dramatic increase from the 4 points per game that he averaged in the first 25 games of the season with Orlando. This is a player with some fire and skill. Although he's 27 years old, he's a great building block for Phoenix and a major asset at this point.
Robin Lopez is the backup at center. He's a shadow of his brother Brook Lopez of the New Jersey Nets
but Lopez is a big body that can play the backup role well in limited minutes. He fits his role on the team well.Good reputations doesn't equal wins
This team is made up of a bunch of guys that are mostly liked by the fans and their peers. That won't get them wins but as the Suns play at a level of mediocrity, the fans can root with conviction and management knows that they're paying hard working players that respect the team and the game.Predicition: 44-38
As I stated earlier, look for more of the same from the Suns when it comes to your NBA betting
this year. I think that Markieff Morris will fit in well here and they play in a weak division (except for the Los Angeles Lakers
). Expect a possible slight increase in wins.