Two words that describe what we’ve seen from the Suns in their home preseason debut perfectly. I won’t be telling you a story of shots made or missed, but I’ll be, as always, noting things, first, the ugly.
Ugly no. 1. Ball handling
When was the last time Steve Nash had 5 turnovers? I can’t remember. Granted, Andre Miller has done a heck of a job defensively, and George Karl made sure the Suns’ guards won’t be able to freely come up to the arc to start set plays. Kudos to him for that. Maybe it’s just the preseason mentality speaking, though.
Ugly no. 2. The Lack of Marcin Gortat
It’s official. Marcin Gortat might just be the 2nd best player on this team, and the most important guy on it at that. And it’s not only about his defensive prowess and rebounding. Gortat’s offensive presence is often disregarded, after all he’s just the recipient of Steve Nash’s perfect passes, right? Well, no. Robin Lopez can’t set a screen. Just can’t. This Suns offence runs on the pick-n-roll, and while Gortat is one of the very best roll-man out there, Robin Lopez is awkward, immobile and slow-footed. It’s like watching Shaq in Phoenix all over again, but you know, without the post game or size. Now, the chances of Marcin playing in the opener are pretty high, especially that the guy’s insanely tough, and he’s already played a lot through the injury in the first preseason game. The splint might cause some discomfort, but I doubt it will affect him that much.
Ugly no. 3. Channing Frye’s passivity and bad shooting
Where’s Channing Frye and what have you done with him? Frye opted out of a lot of open threes, shot up a few midrange bricks, and ended with 2 points on 0-6 shooting, thus destroying what was left of Phoenix’ damn near legendary spacing. He better get his confidence together before the 26th, or this is going to be a long ride.
Ugly no. 4. The Floors at US Airways Center
Seriously, half of Nash’s turnovers was him slipping on the floor. You better fix that.
Bad no. 1. Robin Lopez
Robin Lopez is not consistent, takes silly fouls, bad shots… Where have we heard this all before? By now Lopez’s only real upside is his good offensive rebounding that brought the Suns an amazing total of… 4 points in the 22 minutes he played on the floor. If this proves anything, it’s that Gentry’s going to need Gortat to play through pain… A lot.
Bad no. 2. Steve and Grant’s shooting takes a day off.
Once again, no reason to panic over this preseason bad shooting night, but still. Hill and Nash went a collective 2-17 from the field. Hopefully, it’s just a preseason thing. (this is starting to be repetitive)
Bad no. 3. Markieff Morris’ foul trouble
Morris played a great game (more on that later) but he fouled out for the second preseason game in a row. Gotta be a little less aggressive when in foul trouble, kiddo.
Good no. 1. Markieff Morris
As I said, Markieff played a stellar game. In the 19 minutes he stayed on the floor he managed to score 12 points, grab 7 boards, get 3 blocks and a steal. If he can contain his fouling ways, Channing should start fearing his starting spot.
Good no. 2. Hakim Warrick
Maybe Hakim read my post where I suggested he’d be amnestied. Or maybe he just decided it’s time to get better. Whatever the case, he netted 15 points straight off a 14 point performance last time out, and most of those points came from midrange J’s. I think the Suns might be smart to play big ball with him at the 3 in some configurations, that’s how good he was.
Good no. 3. Jared Dudley
I love Jared. He scored 17 points, played an all around game, all while missing only one shot. If there’s hope for the Suns future, it’s him and Marcin.
Good no. 4. Shannon Brown
While Laker fans try to convince me that I’ll be hating him soon enough, Brown seems to be pretty damn good. He scored 14 points and didn’t commit a turnover in 22 minutes of play. If he keeps this up, I’ll be absolutely glad to have him.