Game Thread: Suns (42-35) at Hornets (48-29)

Suns 105, Hornets 100










So this is how the other half lives.

Fans of teams like the Clippers and Thunder have already been in ‘wait til next year’ mode for months, salivating over draft prospects and taking a look at how their young players fit together.

When the Suns visit New Orleans tonight, instead of thinking about their playoff push they will begin their preparations for what should be a franchise-altering offseason.

As Phoenix enters such a critical time in the future of the franchise, it’s essential that management gets a good feel for young players like Jared Dudley, Goran Dragic, Robin Lopez, Lou Amundson and even Alando Tucker.

Many of the players on that list would be considered a bust as things stand today, but the opportunities have not been there for them much of the season.

Maybe not tonight with the playoffs still technically a possibility, but sometime down the line I wouldn’t mind the Suns starting this lineup and playing them starters minutes to see how they handle such a situation because aside from Dudley of late these players rarely come close to touching even 30 minutes.

One of the things I was most excited about concerning Lopez was his pick-and-roll defense. Here we have an athletic seven-footer who adeptly chased point guards around in the Pac-10 last year.

The Suns have lost six in a row against the Hornets the past two years in large part because Steve Nash and bigs like Amare and Shaq have no chance of even slowing down Chris Paul.

What about the Dragic-Lopez defensive combo? Can Lopez give the Suns at least passable pick-and-roll defense?

These and the kind of questions I want answered as the Suns essentially enter a five-game slate of Spring Training.

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