Previous week’s games
10/29/2010 Lakers 114, SUNS 106
11/03/2010 Spurs 112, SUNS 110
Upcoming week’s games
11/05/2010 SUNS vs Grizzlies, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
11/07/2010 SUNS @ Hawks, 3 p.m., My45
11/08/2010 SUNS @ Grizzlies, 6 p.m., My45
At 1-3, the Phoenix Suns’ record certainly doesn’t look too good, however, when considering the four tough teams Phoenix has played so far, the record really isn’t all that bad. The Suns have had their problems, sure. The biggest question is how does Hedo Turkoglu fit in with the team, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Phoenix has also had some bright spots as well; the play of Goran Dragic and Hakim Warrick quickly come to mind.
I’ll start with Hedo. Coach Alvin Gentry must figure a way to get him going. Through through games, the “Turkish MJ” has been unimpressive to say the least. Turkoglu is averaging eight points, three rebounds and one assist in 24 minutes of play. That’s not going to cut it for a guy making eight figures.
It’s more then just Hedo’s numbers that are disturbing. It’s his effort — it doesn’t seem quite there. He’s slow on transition and way too hesitant to make a move with the ball. He has the ability to get to the rim against most guys defending him, but he hasn’t. He’s shown brief flashes of this, but not nearly enough. Against the Spurs on Wednesday, he had Dejuan Blair guarding him and took jump shots. That isn’t what Suns fan want to see.
I’m certainly not ready to give up on Hedo yet, and I think he’ll eventually come around, but a move to the bench may be in order. If anything, a move to the bench may motivate him. He’ll get to play with the ball a little more and be a leader of the second unit. In addition, Turkoglu on the bench means Nash gets a solid pick-and-roll option in the starting five in the form of Warrick.
Enough of the bad and on to the good. Dragic has been ridiculous so far this season. He’s putting up 10 points to go with just under five assists with about two turnovers (a turnover-to-assist ratio of 2.7!) in a mere 15 minutes per game. The only issue there is how few minutes he’s playing. Dragic has yet to log 20 minutes in a game, and that’s no good. Gentry must find more time for him.
I know Steve Nash is a two-time MVP, but at some point you may have to sit him more for the sake of getting Dragic more playing time. I know this may put Gentry in a tough spot, but when Goran is clicking, you have to stick with him. At the very least, the two should get some time together. Good things happened when they shared the floor together last season.
I doubt this will be a problem for long, as I fully expect Gentry to begin finding more time for El Dragon, especially with Nash’s recent comments on having tired legs at the end of the Spurs game. More playing time early in the game for Goran means a fresher Nash to end games. It’s a win-win for the Suns.
Finally, I have to mention the play of Warrick. Dude has been solid this year. He’s great in the pick-and-roll and fights for rebounds. He has crazy leaping ability and somehow seems to extend the length of his arms. I swear every time he takes off for a dunk he turns into Inspector Gadget. He appears to be too far from the rim but simply shouts, “Go-go gadget arms,” and extends his arms to complete the play. His contract is going to turn into a real steal.
I’m sure it’ll take a little more tinkering from Gentry, but eventually this team will figure things out. The talent is there. The Suns are in good shape. No worries, despite the rough start.
I just want to briefly comment on Jared Dudley’s contract extension. This was obviously the right move. Dudley clearly wanted to be here, and the Suns wanted to keep him. I’m very impressed with how the Suns front office was able to get this done. Hats off to Lon Babby, Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver — this is a solid move for the future.
Suns go green
Tonight the Suns will go green when they host the Memphis Grizzlies. US Airways Center will be powered by renewable energy courtesy of APS. The energy saved will equal the amount of energy required to power 3,000 Arizona homes for a week. Throughout the night, various videos will play during stops in play with the Gorilla giving tips to fans on how to go green.