The ValleyoftheSuns staff got together to discuss how Saturday’s big trade affects the Suns’ chances of reaching postseason play this season and whether it was a good deal for the franchise.
Dump Hedo Turkoglu? Check. Acquire a legitimate big? Check. At the cost of a player in Jason Richardson who may not have been extended and Earl Clark, who likely was gone at the end of the year as well, the Suns were definite winners in their deal with Orlando.
The Suns needed to acquire size to give their outstanding wings and point guards a chance, and Gortat will provide just that while Carter can replace much of J-Rich’s scoring. This deal makes the Suns a solid playoff team that should finish in the Nos. 6-8 seed range in the West.
Before the season began I predicted the Suns would finish 40-42 and miss the playoffs because of two all-important weaknesses – defense and rebounding. Now that the Suns have become at least average in the two areas that equate to championships, it only makes sense that Phoenix is now a legitimate playoff team.
Marcin Gortat gives them a chance to hang with the Pau Gasol’s and Tim Duncan’s of the West, while Mickael Pietrus could evolve into Phoenix’s top perimeter defender, if he sees enough action. The Suns obviously lose some offensive firepower with Jason Richardson in Orlando, but Phoenix’s training staff will give Vince Carter their anti-aging treatment, and the 33-year-old should thrive next to Steve Nash in Phoenix’s free-flowing offense. The Suns definitely have some ground to make up, but the pieces are in place.
My initial thought about this trade was, “The Suns got hosed.” After a little time to consider it, I have moved away from that and feel that it’s more of a wash. The Suns replace Richardson with a more fragile scorer in Carter, which could be a disaster.
However, there is no denying the team has improved its size dynamic with Gortat. The team’s defensive presence may get a boost as well. Ultimately though, I don’t see this trade adding more than a few wins, but, with the nature of the Western Conference, those could be the difference between an eighth seed and watching the playoffs from home.
The trade obviously makes them more competitive with the bigger teams in the West. If the Suns end up scoring five less points per game but improve significantly on the boards and in the paint, then it’s a good deal.
I think the biggest question is how long it will take for rotations and the continuity between everybody to be worked out. If it’s sooner rather than later than I expect this trade to vault Phoenix back into the competition for the seventh or eighth seed in the West.