The Phoenix Suns traded Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason. It was a stunning move since the Lakers are a huge Pacific Division rival, but it was also a necessary move.
The Suns are focused on rebuilding so they settled for a couple low-level first-round picks in 2013 and 2015 and a couple of second-rounders. After negotiating that trade, the Suns went out and added players left and right as they showed a willingness to field a competitive team this season.
They signed guard Goran Dragic, bringing him back for a second go-round. He will run the point and he did a pretty good job for the Houston Rockets last season when Kyle Lowry went down with an injury. Dragic averaged 17.8 points per game and 7.9 assists in 28 starts. They already have a solid big man in Marcin Gortat (15.4 points and 10 rebounds). Dragic will probably be running the pick-and-roll with him a lot.
Luis Scola was surprisingly amnestied by the Rockets and the Suns swooped in and picked up a solid 15-point, eight-rebound guy. Dragic and Scola were teammates in Houston, so this should bode well in terms of team chemistry.
They also picked up Michael Beasley, a volume shooter with a very questionable attitude. This was a bit perplexing to me. I thought starting Jared Dudley would have been a better idea. He’s a better defender than Beasley and can score. PJ. Tucker could’ve used 13-15 minutes per game as a backup to see what he could do or if he has a future with the Suns. And they could have saved the money they spent on Beasley.
They traded Robin Lopez to Minnesota for Wesley Johnson and another first-round pick. Johnson hasn’t played as well as many expected when he was drafted fourth overall by the T-Wolves, but he is a solid defender.
The Suns drafted North Carolina product Kendall Marshall, and he should be a solid backup to Dragic. Sebastian Telfair may find it hard to make the team, or find minutes if he does make the roster. Marshall may eventually replace Dragic as the starter within a few years. The kid has some major potential.
The Suns will most likely go with a starting lineup of: Dragic, Johnson, Beasley, Scola, and Gortat.
Doesn’t exactly strike fear in the opposing team, but it should be a decent enough team to compete while they learn to play together and gel as a cohesive unit. This is a young team whose average age is 26.6 years old. Maybe that’s why they added veteran Jermaine O’Neal to backup Gortat.
Projected finish in the Pacific Division: Fourth (may win 35-38 games)
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Send him an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org