Notes: Price looks nice, rotations a mystery for Gentry


PHOENIX — Personally, I was most impressed with the Suns’ bench unit during the 102-91 win against Golden State. In the first half, the group of Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick and Markieff Morris in the frontcourt, along with Shannon Brown and Ronnie Price at the guard spots, didn’t present much drop-off, if any, from the starting unit.

Offensively, there was solid ball movement that kept Phoenix chugging along with Steve Nash on the bench.

That all starts with Price, who statistically had one of his better games. Nash’s backup scored seven points, grabbed three boards and dished out four assists by the end of the afternoon.

His focus?

“Just not letting the game flow fall,” Price said. “You know, Nash does a great job with his pace, everyone knows he has the best pace in the NBA.”

Price, who showed some flash and emphasis in getting all of teammates involved, said he still finds himself stuck in a Utah Jazz mindset. Getting Jerry Sloan’s brainwashing — no offense, Jerry — out of Price’s head will take a lot of film watching.

“Oh man, I’m telling you, that’s definitely still embedded in me,” Price said. “I’m trying to slowly get that system out. I’m taking it one day at a time, that’s the only way I know how.”

While it might have been his best game from the standpoint of running the offense, Price isn’t one to get ahead of himself. He believes he needs to shore up some things defensively (as does the team in general), and continue to evolve as a Jazz Suns point guard in a Suns offense.

“I’m learning every day and I’m getting better at it every day in this offense,” Price said. “I’m never content with my game. I think there’s a lot of room to improve in this offense.”

Rotations on rotations

In our postgame Vokle show, a reader asked if we thought Markieff Morris would start against Dallas to guard Dirk Nowitzki. It brought up the issue of how Gentry would manage rotations in general, and the answer isn’t one the Suns’ head coach knows himself.

“One of the things about it, and I told the guys, there are going to be certain games where we use certain guys and then there are going to be certain games where the fit is better,” Gentry said. “I don’t think I can mark down any specific rotations in any specific amount of time except for Steve (Nash).”

In the season opener, it was Hakim Warrick being left out of the puzzle. Against the Warriors, Josh Childress was the odd man out, and neither center Robin Lopez nor Marcin Gortat played during the fourth quarter.  For now, it appears Gentry will go with what matchups suit that day’s opponent.

“Everybody on this team understands what their role is on this team,” Gentry said. “It just might not be that every single night. And is that difficult? Yeah. We all have jobs that we do things we don’t quite like doing, but it is the way it is.”

Golden State not leaving the state

Considering the compressed NBA schedule, it was weird though not that surprising to see the Golden State Warriors working out at US Airways Center on Tuesday afternoon.

The Warriors play the Spurs on Wednesday, so I suppose there’s no point in traveling back to the Bay Area just to hop back on another plane to San Antonio.

Redd in action

Michael Redd was practicing with the Suns on Tuesday, wearing his No. 22 jersey.

  • sun-arc

    You know, I love that we have so many decent-to-good players, and the versatility to do all these rotations- but I wonder if it isn’t helping us to be a better team in the end. Remember how in ’09-’10, Gentry tended to keep Barbosa to limited minutes to not mess with the chemistry of our 2nd unit? Will all this rotation keep us from having a real 2nd unit?

    This is a tough one. Personally, I think the chemistry might be better if we stuck with the 2-team rotation like we did that year. But, in a short season, maybe the crazy combinations will work out better in the end in case of injuries. And, perhaps it will actually make the team gel better in the end. I hope the coaches really know best on this.

  • sun-arc

    Oh- and, I really like Price. I like his attitude, energy, and what he says. I hope he does keep improving and ends up being a great player for us- at least until Brooks gets back. And then I hope that Brooks comes back as a “ready” explosive player that can drive teams like the Lakers absolutely nuts with his speed and scoring.

  • Scott

    I like Price / Brown / Dudley / Morris / Frye as a second unit. I wonder if we’ll ever see a Nash / Redd / Hill / Gortat / Lopez first unit?

    Of course, that leaves Warrick, Childress, and Telfair on the outside … about $13 million of contract space … but those guys are also quality plug-in replacements should there be an injury at any spot. (In the meantime, all 3 guys can practice their shooting.)

  • steve

    I don’t think warrick is expendable. He’s proven he can score efficiently, and that’s the biggest thing we’re lacking. I like Warrick as a SF. As a PF, no. But I’d still find minutes for him at the 3 even with hill and dudley on the team.

  • Al

    I liked the 4th quarter line up against the warriors. Morris and Frye were stretching the 4 and the 5 and Warrick at the 3. This makes me wonder how it that squad would be with Brooks at PG instead of Price. Brooks would have so much room to slash to the rim or pass it out to a nearby Warrick. Phoenix better stay a playoff contender until Brooks returns from China.

  • sun-arc

    @ Scott: really tough, isn’t it. I mean, I agree with Steve, Hak isn’t expendable. So- how do we fit it all in.

    I’d say the line ups should be:
    Nash/Redd/Hill/Morris/Gortat
    Price-Brooks/Dudz/Hak/Frye/Lopez

    but, it’s really REALLY hard. Where’s Brown in my line up? He should be playing. Maybe he can get some time between Redd and Dudz at the 2, with Dudz getting minutes at the back-up 3 between Hill and Hak. And I’d say no playing time for Telfair or Chilly at this point.

    Also, Scott- I can’t see Gortat and Lopez on the court at the same time. Not enough court spacing.

    m

  • Scott

    @Al – While I can appreciate that you like Brooks, my sense of it is that he’s not particularly thrilled to be playing for the Suns. I think he’s got a different personality and would probably rather be on a more aggressive team.

    @steve and sun-arc – I figure you guys know I’m a supporter of Warrick. However, his 3s are not falling steadily quite yet, and his defense at SF is a bit underdeveloped at this point. Most of the offense he’s produced this season has been while he played PF. That’s why I put Brown ahead of him in the lineup. But it’s a close call, to be sure.

    As for Gortat and Lopez on the court at the same time … Amare was able to play PF with Shaq filling the paint. P. Gasol and Bynum are able to manage it, as do Randolph and M. Gasol, so I imagine Gortat could probably run pick and rolls with Steve and still score even with Lopez playing center.

    Also, apparently Gortat has talked to Gentry about the possibility of playing him at PF with Robin at C. So Gortat must think it is possible.

  • PennyAnd1

    @Scott
    I agree. If Warrick only knows how to play defense rather than getting pushed around, then yeah we’re talking.

    And I favor Price over Brooks anytime. Yes Brooks is explosive, but Price has better defense and seems to have a better court vision compared to Brooks, which is good for teammeates.

    And I also like the idea of having Gortat & Lopez playing together. Remember the twin towers Tim Duncan & David Robinson?

  • http://h Sun-arc

    @scott & penny:
    Neither gortat nor lopez can dePendably hit an outside shot the way Duncan, Robinson, gasol, or stat could/can. To have two “towers” play together, at least one of them HAS to be an outside threat. That is why I don’t think it’ll work. That and Nash needs more room than most to effectively work under the basket. So win spacing, they both have to play outside of 12′, and to have a working offense, they would have to be able to hit those outside jumpers.

    I also think frye and Morris CAN shoot from outside, providing better spacing in general. It makes sense to me to play one at a time to always have that outside 3pt threat.

    But I’d give gortat and lopez together a shot to see if it worked.