The old saying tells us to never trust the Hawks, regardless of the circumstances. They’re a team that you can’t trust to lose, or to win. This becomes particularly true when All-Star centerman Al Horford is unable to play, which will be the case for the major part of the season. Even with that lack, Atlanta stands 5th in the East with a 16-8 record, while Phoenix is 12th in the west with a 9-14 record. Yes, things look bleak but the truth is, the Hawks may have trouble against the Suns, given that Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia are no match to the fierce combination of Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat. The Hawks are also on a bit of a cold streak losing to the Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers in their last two home games.
The Suns however, will have to beware the nasty combo of Josh Smith and former Sun Joe Johnson, who are both players that can be described by saying “when they go off they go OFF.” This problem is especially apparent with resident defensive turnstile Channing Frye probably guarding Smith, although if Alvin Gentry is smart, Hill will be guarding Smith, while Frye will be checking Marvin Williams or the tired corpse of Tracy McGrady.
The Suns will be strengthened by the comeback of Jared Dudley, who has been their third best player in the last few games. If Dudley can come back in full strength, the Suns have a shot, especially if Michael Redd provides another stellar performance, this time, off the bench.
So, classically: Can the Suns win? Yes.
Will the Suns win? Probably not.
Do not put Channing Frye on Josh Smith, whatever you do. Grant Hill should be perfectly capable of containing him, why thank you.
Get more balls to Marcin Gortat in the post. Zaza Pachulia is often overly aggressive and might commit a few fouls. Also, the way Gortat has been rolling, my, my, why the hell not?