Phoenix Suns notes: ESPN's West grades not a fan of Suns offseason

Professor Chad Ford was not kind on the Phoenix Suns in his evaluation of their offseason.

Ford gave the Suns a D+ for their summer and ranked them ahead of only the Denver Nuggets in the West; Denver got an incomplete with the Carmelo situation still up in the air.

Wrote Ford:

Babby is a respected agent and has been a voice of reason over the years, but his first moves this summer didn’t wow anyone. Turkoglu is a good fit in the Suns’ system but he’s grossly overpaid with four years, $40 million left on his contract. Childress is super versatile, but was he worth a six-year, $33.5 million contract? And did I mention that he and Turkoglu both play the same position as another Babby client — Grant Hill?

Meanwhile the Suns are very thin up front. Frye turned one good season shooting the ball off the bench into a starting gig and $30 million. The team also paid Hakim Warrick $12.75 million over three years to help back him up. Third-year big man Robin Lopez is the team’s only true physical presence in the middle.

Gentry and Nash will still figure out how to get the most out of this squad and maybe even sneak the team into the playoffs — but the direction the Suns are heading is clear and it won’t be long until darkness covers the land of the sun.

After Ford and John Hollinger ranked the Suns 27th in ESPN’s future power rankings earlier this summer, I doubt Ford will be expecting any holiday cards from Suns fans. But was the Suns’ offseason really that bad?

I don’t think so. They avoided overpaying Amare Stoudemire but still made him a respectable offer, which really was the best they could do in this situation.

I don’t think Josh Childress was overpaid (although perhaps when you consider the Dudley factor). Channing got market value in what was an early inflated market for big men not named Lou Amundson, and the big question mark is Hedo Turkoglu.

The Suns needed to roll the dice to stay competitive in the final years of the Nash era, and they did exactly that with the Turkoglu trade.

In reality it’s too early to judge an offseason before it even ends and if Turkoglu flops Ford might not be too far off. The Suns could certainly use a solid power forward, but from where I’m sitting this is the deepest and best-scoring team in basketball, something the Suns managed to become (or should I say stay?) despite the loss of their top scorer.

Judging on any scale, I’d say that merits a grade higher than a D+.

Is Dampier an option?

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix tweeted that the Suns are among the many teams interested in free agent center Erick Dampier, a potential signing Bright Side’s Seth Pollack endorses.

It would not hurt to get Damp for a one-year, low money deal to play the emergency Jarron Collins role, but I don’t see him making much of a difference either.

Dampier is 35 these days and hasn’t made much of an impact since he left Golden State. Sure, he’s not wildly overpaid anymore, but do the Suns really need a mediocre player to add to their rotation? I don’t think so. They already have 10 rotation players, with Earl Clark and Gani Lawal on the outskirts. I do think they should make a move for a big man, but that guy isn’t Dampier.

Dowdell receives camp invite

The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro reported that point guard Zabian Dowdell has accepted an invitation to Suns training camp, and veteran point guard Chucky Atkins is expected in camp as well.

Good for Dowdell. This will be his first NBA camp, and he deserves it after providing solid point guard play for the Summer Suns the past few seasons.

I think he has a legitimate shot at a roster spot, with the Suns likely to take either Dowdell or Matt Janning as their fifth guard. Janning’s deal isn’t guaranteed, so it would not be difficult to part with him if Dowdell beats him out.

I feel it could be beneficial for the Suns to have more of a pure third point guard (Janning is a combo guard) if nothing else to allow Nash to rest more during practice while keeping two natural point guards on the floor. Both guys now have that chance they’ve always dreamed of, and the better guy should break camp with the Suns.

Wrapping up FIBA

As if we didn’t write enough about the FIBA World Championship on this site, here’s one final note (at least until training camp).

Hedo Turkoglu finished the tournament averaging 12.3 points, 4.2 boards and 3.4 assists per game. He made 40.5 percent of his shots, including 41.7 percent of his threes.

Most importantly he was the driving force behind his home Turkey squad that made it all the way to the FIBA finals, and the confidence he inspired in his countrymen cannot be understated. For all the negativity he generated in Toronto, he was and is a rockstar in Turkey. You could tell how much this meant to him and we can only hope that this tournament was more about playing his way into shape for Hedo rather than being something that affects him later on this year.

Goran Dragic averaged a nearly identical stat line: 12.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 4.1 apg. He shot 43.0 percent from the field but did much better on twos (54.0 percent) than threes (27.8 percent).

Dragic helped Slovenia to a 4-1 mark in pool play and a dominant round of 16 victory, but his squad lost three straight from there to finish eighth.

Overall this tournament was very positive for The Dragon as he got reps against top competition as a go-to guy leader of a quality team. That experience should serve him well this season in Phoenix.

Suns announce Treloar hiring

John Treloar, a 30-year basketball veteran, will assist Lon Babby and Lance Blanks “in all personnel decisions and will lead the club’s draft scouting process,” according to a team release, after he was named the Suns’ director of player personnel. Todd Quinter held that role last season; he will be back in the pro scouting department this year.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for John and his knowledge of the game,” Blanks said in the release. “His longstanding track record of consistency and success are admirable. He is a perfect fit for what we are trying to do.”

Added Babby, “We are excited to add John Treloar to our basketball operations department. He brings a wealth of experience and will enhance our ability to evaluate players from all sources.”

Suns announce broadcast schedule

The wait is over, we now know which channel all 82 Suns games will be televised on.

We have known the Suns’ national TV schedule for a month now, but the Suns released the official broadcast schedule on Wednesday. My45 will air 41 games (36 away) in its 23rd straight season of Suns basketball coverage. Fox Sports Arizona will cover 32 of the games, and everything else will be televised nationally.

Nash to speak at Educare Arizona groundbreaking

Steve Nash will share some words at Brunson-Lee Elementary School, the future site of Educare Arizona’s education and health center, on Thursday morning during the groundbreaking ceremony for Educare Arizona’s early childhood education and health center. The center is expected to provide about 200 low-income kids from birth to five years old in the Balsz School District  “with high-quality full-day, full-year education and care that will set them on a pathway for success,” according to a release.

The Steve Nash Foundation is an Educare Arizona anchor funder.

Tags: Erick Dampier Goran Dragic Hedo Turkoglu John Treloar Josh Childress Steve Nash Zabian Dowdell

  • Brian

    Thanks. Now I don’t have to become an “insider” just to get access to this lame info.

  • martinez

    good article lets hope no that the FIBA is over i say goran and hedo get back here as soon as possible to build that chemistry with the suns

    GO SUNS!!!

  • Mel.

    Yeah, I’d agree that Ford’s overview is pretty weak. I don’t know what the hell the Suns ever did to the guy, but there’s absolutely zero reason why they should get THAT kind of ranking in the West, all things considered. It’s as though the guy took STAT’s departure personally, and made some clandestine decision that there was absolutely nothing that Phoenix could do to recover, regardless of their off-season moves.

    I mean, granted: the jam-packed nature of the Small Forward position is curious, but I doubt those decisions were slammed past Sarver and Gentry by Babby, which seems to be the implication, here. We can clown Sarver all we want for myriad reasons, but arguing that the guy went flinging cash at these contracts without credible reasons (Aside from “my new front office guy says I should”) is reaching.

    Also, Ford’s managing to completely overlook the fact that the Suns mobilized early-on in the FA frenzy; they knew STAT was gone, they knew that there was going to be a ton of money floating around for whoever the hell was available, and they got right into the mix.

    Was Frye overpaid? Maybe.

    Would he have been overpaid by another team if the Suns hadn’t stepped in? Abso-friggin’-lutely, and the same goes for Warrick.

    Ford comes off like these were ridiculous moves, but seems to conveniently forget that this was the WAY THE MARKET WAS GOING at that point. Remember when we all thought Lou would grab five million a year, given other available options?

    The alternative for the Suns in this off-season was to tuck their wallets, let Nash and Grant run out the clock on their careers, and wait around for a personnel move or promising FA contract for next summer (And as we know, nothing says “Come on over, ‘Melo” like a throwaway losing season). They chose not to, and regardless of the Turk situation and what Childress is getting paid, I’m PROUD of them for trying.

    We could have easily wound up like Cleveland or Toronto, all things considered; we didn’t, and Ford’s out to lunch if he thinks that the Suns would have just magically coasted into the playoffs because of Nash and Gentry without them doing so. Talk about a contradiction in logic.

  • suns68

    I'm not a big fan of letting Amare go when we'd finally clawed back into elite status. But nothing the front office did this off-season was as stupid as trading for Shaq (new nickname: The Big Obstacle to Winning).

  • Hersey

    No one can see the future. We can only speculate. I welcome our new players and will watch every game. Go Suns!

  • AZ retiree

    I think the same “experts” that predicted the Suns to miss the playoffs last year had their ego’s damaged by a very good and entertaining team emerging from the Arizona desert. I have a feeling these same sports writers are biased and have a secret crush on the so-called elite teams in the league and their star performers. To have Phoenix rise up and show that these pretenders in the media are really sports morons hurt their pride. The only way for them to regain any credibility in their knowledge and judgement is for them to repeat their ascertion that the previous season was a fluke for the Suns and hope Phoenix falls on it’s face. They can then try to claim some sort of expertice on basketball. I am afraid they will be once again disappointed when the Suns become “The Greatest show on wood!” The fans will sell out arenas across the nation because basketball fans will want to see them play. These “experts” will be naysayers to the Suns’ success while trying to explain why the Miami Heat turned out to be a flop inspite of a mix of Super Stars in the lineup. They will never accept the fact that they are so wrong and blinded by their own hype. We Suns fans can only sit back and continue to enjoy Nash and his guys perform as long as it lasts and hope that management makes good decisions to replace the rotation as needed instead of “re-building”. Let’s pray that there is a smooth transition from Steve to Goran in the next season or two. Never expect Arizona to get respected by the know-it-alls. They love to hate on us: The Suns, Cardinals, Sheriff Arpaio, SB1070 and on and on. They are so clever. Go Suns, put egg on their faces, again!

  • jon peterson

    in my opinion, i think that the suns will be an even better team this year. sure the team has almost completely changed, but in a great way. The bench is better and the suns will have a better defensive team without stoudemire. i have a feeling that this year it will possibly be a suns- celtics finals. once the finals come, the rest will have to come along. other than that, i wish the best to the phoenix suns. GO SUNS!

  • Bilal

    I think its completly stupid to rank the suns so low, My guess is they are going to be 3rd in the west and will be in the conf finals. I think losing stoudemire for warrick n turkoglu is not as bad as people think i think this might work out better than it with stoudemire and lets not forget that nash makes his teammates better