How does the trade impact the Suns' playoff chances?

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.

Michael Schwartz

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.

Mike Schmitz

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.

Tyler Lockman

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.

Tyler Emerick

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.

  • Bad Lieutenant

    Bottom line is this: the Suns got better.

    Carter/J-Rich swap is a wash offensively. J-Rich is a better 3-pt shooter, but Carter can create his own shot with the clock winding down, and Carter’s not a slouch 3-pt-wise either. Defensively, it’s a slight upgrade – at the very least, you know Carter’s going to box out Ron Artest.

    Gortat is a major upgrade defensively and rebound-wise over Turkoglu, no contest. Offensively, while Turk _could_ have been an offensive juggernaut, the fact is that he was averaging only about 9 ppg playing for the Suns, and Gortat will surely see about that same amount of ppg now that he’s playing pick-n-roll with Nash.

    Pietrus is major offensive upgrade over Clark, no question, and defensively it’s probably a wash.

    Releasing Barron was an upgrade overall for the Suns, since he was only hitting shots 25% of the time anyway, and Gortat gets more rebounds than Barron.

    So what if Carter’s per game average is slightly less than J-Rich’s. That difference is offset by the fact that the opposing team will get less offensive rebounds per game and more scoring thanks to Gortat and the addition-by-subtraction of Barron. It also allows Gentry to add a lockdown defender on the wing in Pietrus without having to sacrifice 3-pt shooting or any other offense (Clark). Lastly, it allows Gentry to play Frye at the PF spot alongside RoLo/MaGo, which will be necessary against LA. (Nash/Hill/Frye/Lopez/Gortat starting against the LA Kobe’s? Yikes.)

    Now, with Childress actually playing well like the Suns are paying him to do, Warrick seems to be the odd man out, since Childress can play the 4 against the opposing team’s bench PF and is a better defender and rebounder than Warrick.

    (If only Warrick would bulk up more, he could set some monster screens and be more of a threat – right now, opposing defenses are going right around his screens, making it difficult for Nash or Dragic to find him.)

    If there’s another trade to take place, it needs to be for a PF upgrade over Warrick.

  • stephanie

    Are you out of your mind?? No way Vince Carter is going to fill the gap. He is a has been and can’t do it any more. It’s a major loss to the Suns to trade Jason Richardson- don’t know about Turkoglu. Jason has always been a great scorer for them- just look at his performance in the play-offs last year. But what is significant is that both these players are opening for the Orlando. They know they got the good end of the deal. Phoenix is doomed- they never should have traded Shawn Marion either. Sour grapes…..