New York Knicks 99, Phoenix Suns 97 — J.R. Smith plays hero

Posted by on December 27th, 12:52 am

PHOENIX — For 47 minutes and 14 seconds, the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks played an imperfect basketball game with the Knicks missing two of their best players and the Suns lacking their top dog for the second half.

As so often happens in the NBA, particularly for a Suns squad that leads the league in games decided by three points or fewer, that only mattered to bring us to the final eventful 46 seconds that saw the Suns lose to the Knicks 99-97 in heartbreaking, buzzer-beating fashion.

“We hit that shot or we stop that shot then we win the game and everything’s all happy,” said Suns wing Jared Dudley.

But everything wasn’t all happy because the Knicks’ go-to guy du jour came through in the clutch whereas the Suns didn’t seem to know where to turn in the final seconds.

At least that’s what the headline for this game will scream as the Knicks were able to withstand the losses of their two leading scorers, Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton, to defeat the Suns with some Hero Ball shots from J.R. Smith, who turned out to be a much better go-to guy than anyone on the Phoenix side.

After Dudley drew a foul on James White and canned two free throws to add to his career-high 36-point night and put Phoenix up 97-95 with 34.5 seconds left, the Knicks drew up the ultimate Hero Ball play.

Smith caught the ball at the “S” far beyond the three-point line with six seconds left on the shot clock and about 16 on the game clock with P.J. Tucker right in his grill. Tucker stayed with Smith every step of the way through a spin and eventual fadeaway jumper from 18 feet away … that of course found the bottom of the net to tie the game.

That left the Suns with the ball and 10.6 ticks remaining on the clock in a situation that has plagued them all season long, as Phoenix has made just 3-of-13 shots (23.1 percent) when trailing by five or fewer points with one minute left, three or fewer with 30 seconds remaining or tied, according to the NBA’s advanced stats site.

Dudley was en fuego in this one so he inbounded the ball and was screened by Tucker, Shannon Brown and Marcin Gortat with the end goal being to get him an open shot.

Tyson Chandler switched onto JD on the last screen, which left Gortat free to seal Smith and roll toward the hoop for what likely would have been an easy layup or a foul on Chris Copeland at worst.

Telfair tried to hit Gortat with a bounce pass, but Kidd deflected it back to him, and the worst possible scenario ensued: Chandler pressured Bassy and forced him to step out of bounds with a second left, giving the Knicks one final shot to win it in regulation.

“The play was for me to come off a triple screen on the baseline and get the ball,” Dudley said. “Obviously if they switch, I thought Gortat was open on that. I couldn’t see the pass, but they said he was open so I think J-Kidd did a good job of deflecting it. I think it was out on Bassy. It happened so fast and obviously you want to keep it for the last shot and live with that, but we gave them one second and J.R. hit a big shot.”

It’s unlikely that Telfair would have knocked down the desperation heave in Chandler’s face had he not stepped out of bounds, but by doing so the Knicks had all the opportunity they needed to steal this one in regulation with one second left.

Usually this would be Melo’s time to take a Hero Ball shot, but with him out, the Knicks ran Smith around a Chandler screen that hardly deterred Tucker, yet he drilled a jumper in P.J.’s face anyways before celebrating with a little salsa dance a la Victor Cruz.

“I’m always a guy that you never let the best player beat you, and J.R. was the best player and he definitely beat us with those shots,” Dudley said. “He made a tough shot. P.J. did a great job defensively. You can’t knock that.”

Moments later in the Suns’ locker room, the shots still stung Tucker as he sat at his locker with a towel over his head seemingly distraught over his misfortune.

On the surface, the story is that the Knicks had a clutch go-to guy who nailed clutch go-to guy shots, and the Suns didn’t so they fumbled and bumbled away their crunch time possession.

The way I see it is the Suns did all they could to force Smith to take two tough shots and he was just better than them on this night. I have been writing for years about how I wish teams would actually call a play in crunch time rather than just giving the ball to their best player, so tonight would hardly be a time to contradict myself despite my preferred strategy ultimately failing on this occasion.

Particularly since the Suns lack that go-to player, I like the play call. The problem was the execution, particularly Telfair throwing a pass that Kidd could easily deflect before the play went to Hell. If Telfair executes the pass, we’re talking about Gortat’s game-winning dunk and perhaps Smith wouldn’t even have had the chance to be the hero.

On this night the Suns seemed to have a go-to guy in Jared Dudley, who poured in a career-high 36 points, which is the most a Sun has scored since March 27 when Brown scored 32 against the Spurs. No Phoenix player has scored more since Jason Richardson went for 39 on Nov. 28, 2010, at Denver.

Dudley set the tone with 13 in the first quarter and kept it up throughout a night in which he hit 11-of-17 shots, including 5-of-8 threes and 9-of-9 free throws.

“I was open, I was getting up enough shots,” Dudley said. “I was shooting the ball well from the free-throw line. I think that any time any player on our team has it going early like that, Alvin searches for them. I probably had the most plays ever ran for me all season, and I think I rewarded him by knocking them down. For us to be successful I have to be aggressive.”

This was especially true since Dragic missed the second half with hip, wrist and back contusions after being knocked to the ground by Smith on a breakaway layup attempt near the end of the first half.

Dragic landed awkwardly after Smith’s shoulder bumped Dragic’s butt to set him wildly off course in midair. It’s anyone’s guess whether Smith tried to undercut him or if he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time for a foul that looked worse because of the end result.

“J.R., he’s not that kind of player,” said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. “He plays hard and he competes like crazy. He’s not that kind of player. It was an accident, it’s one of those things that happens, but you know, he plays hard and he competes like crazy. … (Dragic) is just going to be really sore. I think his wrist is a little sore. We’ll kind of check it out and evaluate it, and we’ll see in the morning.”

I saw Dragic walking out of the locker room and he seemed to be moving gingerly with something like an ice pack taped to his left hand. But the Suns were still able to throttle the Knicks for a 20-4 run in the third quarter to get back into the game without him.

In the end, Smith hit two incredibly difficult shots on a night he attempted 27 of them but made just 11. Because they went in and the Suns’ final play failed miserably, it’s easy to craft a narrative of Smith as a hero the Suns could not match.

Yet as the Suns sink deeper into the abyss with a vicious three-game road trip staring them in the face, it’s appropriate to note that plays cannot be judged solely by their end result, and on that count the only blame the Suns deserve for their late-game play is in their execution.

And 1

Telfair played the entire second half with Dragic out, as the coaching staff clearly had no confidence in rookie point guard Kendall Marshall tonight. Telfair scored nine points and dished three assists in the half. Dudley and Brown also played the entire second half save for one second for Shannon.

“I gave it my all,” Telfair said. “I am happy for the opportunity, but it is sad to see Dragic take a spill like that. You do not want to see any of your teammates hit the floor like that. Hopefully he will be back next game.”

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Jared Dudley · New York Knicks · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Recap

54 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Fan in Chi Town // Dec 27, 2012 at 2:58 am

    With a chance to win the game, Telfair dribbles the ball off his foot out of bounds, giving J.R. Smith just enough time to beat us with a buzzer heater.

    The Suns are the new Wizards!

    P.s. I was a big fan of the Dragic signing over the summer. I’m a Dragic guy. However, I honestly believe that for some reason the offense runs smoother when he is off the floor. It sounds crazy since I don’t think Telfair can run a team, but dragic is just not playing well, as unfortunate as that is.

  • 2 Sillmarillion // Dec 27, 2012 at 3:37 am

    So the coaches have no confidence in Marshall, because it’s better to give the ball to Telfair who fucked up as usual. I mean, how in the world coulnd’t he make that pass? Gortat was TOTALLY free, there was NOBODY around him. He would have catched the ball, made a dank/layup, possibly on +1 play. I could have delivered this ball with my eyes closed.
    These losses are so frustrating, I can’t tell. Which bothers me the most is that the Suns have no legitimate PG. There are some guys on the floor who can score; they just don’t get the passes.
    Dudley was outstanding, Gortat and Beasley were good (yes, Beasley. I think he played well yesterday). Scola and O’Neal were ok.
    But what about the rest? Brown and Telfair sucked big times, not to mention Morris (what was wrong with him?). Dragic didn’t convince me either in his 18 minutes. Tucker is some weird kind of basketball player who shouldn’t attempt any FGs at all. This can’t shoot, it’s as simple as that.

  • 3 SHAZAM // Dec 27, 2012 at 3:45 am

    ive never seen this team in such sad shape ..we may have had seasons with a worse record in the past but there was reason for hopes of the future..this incarnation is just sad sad sad…you know its sad when you prefer watching the lakers … wow i cant believe i just wrote that but its true..at least the lakers have the pieces to win and nash is fun to watch…i have searched long and hard and cant find a reason to keep me engaged with the suns..even when they are on tv and for free…of course i wouldnt pay to watch that gaggle of tards…ive never felt this way before about my all time favorite sports team…sad sad sad…the good news is that we are getting closer to a high first round pick…keep losing you worthless pile of trash …thanks sarver

  • 4 azbballfan // Dec 27, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Brutal loss for the Suns

    i feel bad for Goran !

    J.R. Smith his several amazing shots to win this game

    the suns had no execution in crunch time

    they beat us without amare, melo, or felton ugh

    and on a back to back no less

    i looked at the suns january schedule and its basically a guantlet

    this next 3 weeks will basically determine the suns season.

    they could possibly only win 3 games all month of january.

    Anyone know how long Dragic is out?

    The Suns are currently 2-11 on the road so far this year

    they might be 2-20 by february.

    by the way, Robin Lopez had another good game in a win for the Hornets 29 points on 9 of 10 from the field and 11 of 12 from the line great job Suns FO

    the player we traded Lopez for cant even get off the bench

  • 5 Sillmarillion // Dec 27, 2012 at 5:56 am

    RLo had 3 rebounds, not exactly a good result for a center…

  • 6 azbballfan // Dec 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Lopez also had a game last week where he had 24 points, 11 boards and 6 blocks

    How come he didnt do this when he was on the Suns?

    Alvin Gentry needs to start playing Marshall, Beasley and Johnson more

    He barely played any of them this season and they suns are already terrible so really what do they have to lose

  • 7 Iceman // Dec 27, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Am I the only one who feels that JR purposefully made contact with Dragic? The reason I believe this is that I’ve beeen in JR’s position before. You know what I did? I looked back as soon as I made contact and tried to move even more out of the way. He dropped his arms, kept his shoulders square and didn’t look back because he knew what happened.

  • 8 Scott // Dec 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

    BTW, credit to Dudley for having a great game.

    Gortat has really improved around the basket. He’s still not muscling the ball in – and he may never do that – but his footwork and short range shooting is better. If the Suns trade him right now, they might not get full value.

    @azbballfan -

    Actually, when he was with the Suns, Robin scored 30 points in a game against the Lakers, going up against both Gasol and Bynum, in a game where Nash used him in the pick and roll. The Suns never really went back to that.

    Robin is inconsistent, yes, but he’s probably going to improve now that he gets regular play with the starters and some attention from the coach.

    @Sillmarillion -

    Marshall probably isn’t ready for prime time. Yes, he was a lottery pick PG, but he was the last one to go because it was recognized that he would be more of a project. His passing is far advanced over his defense and scoring.

    If Dragic isn’t ready to go for the next game, Gentry ought to start Telfair and use Marshall as backup.

  • 9 Scott // Dec 27, 2012 at 10:24 am

    @Iceman -

    You’re not the only one. I believe JR purposefully made contact with Dragic. I don’t think he intended to hurt him, but he clearly wanted to give him a push to make him miss the shot. However, you just do not do that to a player in the air, knocking their feet out from under them.

    IMO, JR squared his shoulders to make sure he hit Dragic. He could have turned sideways to miss him, but he chose not to do that. You can see he pulls back a little, but then eases his shoulder forward just a bit to make contact.

  • 10 bill.thomas // Dec 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

    We’re a bunch of pushovers. We should have knocked JR or/and Kidd out of the game early. Welcome to Alice in Wonderland.

  • 11 Scott // Dec 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    So … now that Avery Johnson is out of a job, what do you think of him as a potential replacement for Gentry? Good, no difference, bad, turrible?

  • 12 bill.thomas // Dec 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    @Scott: I’d hire him immediately to replace Blanks and Babby. I’d also hire Charlie Brown for the same job.

  • 13 wilfred pacubas // Dec 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    phoenix suns management need to address these situation NOW 1.) point position needs to be upgraded 2.) center position is very weak offensively and defensively. How about this line up PG Brown, SG Dudley SF Beasley PF Morris C ONeal. Seriously center requires immediate attention. Lastly Coach Gentry should change his play book too.

  • 14 Ty-Sun // Dec 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Replacing Gentry with Avery Johnson would probably just be a side-step. I doubt he could do any better with the roster that the Suns have than Gentry has.

    Brown at point guard?!? I don’t think so. Moving Dudley back to SG would also be a mistake as would starting Beasley at SF which he’s already proven he play poorly at. Starting O’Neal over Gortat might not be too bad an idea if Gortat wouldn’t sulk and stop trying to play when he was brought off the bench (which he probably would). While I like Morris I don’t think he’s ever going to be more than a quality backup in the NBA and has no business starting in front of Scola. There really are no internal upgrades on the team. Upgrades will only come through trades and the Suns’ few trade assets won’t bring back the impact player that they need.

    I’ve been reading rumors that the Suns might be interested in a trade with Chicago to get Rip Hamilton. He’s not a season changer but they could use more help at the 2 spot and his scoring wouldn’t hurt if he stays healthy… IF. If the Bulls for some strange reason were willing to trade him one for one for Beasley I wouldn’t mind (and that trade works according to ESPN’s trade machine) but I think the Bulls would probably prefer Wes Johnson’s expiring contract for him (which also works in the trade machine).

    I’d rather the Suns look elsewhere for help at the 2 this season but Rip’s contract is only for this season and the next, he does provide some potential scoring punch and he could be at least a passable “go-to” guy when the team needs to score. The real problem that I see with adding him to the Suns is that He might be the difference between the Suns playing poorly without him and getting a high draft pick (1-10) or being just good enough to draft between 10-15 again.

  • 15 Polish_fan // Dec 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    center attention? nice joke;))
    i agree that Dragic is playing not very well… he is a shooter first and thats the reason.

  • 16 Scott // Dec 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    @Ty-Sun -

    I can’t see any way in which a trade with the Bulls for Rip ends up fitting with the long range plans for the Suns. They’d have to include a pick, I think, and I can’t see why they’d do that.

    Somehow, the Suns have to find and acquire players they can trade for emerging players.

    For example – and I don’t know if this specifically would be a good move – but the Suns could try to trade Scola to Boston this summer for Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, and a 2nd round pick. Those two players are too young to be all that useful for the aging Celtics’ core, but Scola would fit right in.

    @bill.thomas -

    Hiring AJ as a GM? That’s an interesting idea. However, I suspect he’d come out a lot like Isiah Thomas.

    The Suns need someone who is excellent at judging the value of players (in dollars and years), who can plan a few steps ahead, who understands the nuances of a player’s game and how to fit players together to make a team, and who can speak well and get along with people. It’s possible Avery Johnson could do that as a GM, but I just don’t know him that well.

    Ced Ceballos said that you’d have to be a winning athlete to be a good GM, but offhand I can’t think of anyone who has played in the NBA – and who had success – that would also have the mentality to be a good GM.

    I also can’t think of a winning coach who would be a good GM. I think you have to be some combination of huckster, shyster, and statistician to get the job done, and I doubt you can play past high school or college and still have those sorts of abilities. It’s more like you have to be a skilled entrepreneur who understands basketball.

  • 17 Scott // Dec 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Is Dragic struggling? I think he struggles in some games when his team isn’t playing with the right tempo and aren’t getting to their spots. It could also be that he’s not very good at improvising when creating for his teammates yet, or something like that.

    If Dragic was to be traded, who would you want in return? The only other PG I can think of wanting at this point is the oft-injured Kyrie Irving.

    IMO, the way the Suns are presently composed, it makes all the sense in the world to start Telfair at PG and Dragic at SG. Have Dragic be the go-to guy at the end of games. I know Dragic was hired to be the PG, but right now the team has no one better than him to be the closer, and it’s too hard for him to be PG all game and then close it too.

    If the team can’t survive 2nd unit play with Marshall or Garrett at the helm – a situation that probably would not happen all the time – you can always stagger the minutes so that Telfair, Dragic, and Brown share all the guard minutes (32 min each).

  • 18 azbballfan // Dec 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I know Lopez had one game with the Suns where he had 30 points and 12 boards.

    Its good to see Lopez doing well even if the Hornets are worse than the Suns record wise right now

    I dont know of any experienced, respected former GM that would want to come over to phoenix

    I still dont understand why the Suns picked up Scola if Morris wasin their future plans

    i heard somewhere the Suns shopped him at the deadline last year

    We need a new front office team next year

    we cant keep swinging and missing by either drafting the wrong players or not playing players we drafted.

    I gotta thinik that babby and blanks will make a trade if the Suns are way out of the realm of competitive ball by the all star break

    unless a miracle happens, i would say they already are

    anyone know a priest that can bless the suns front office or something?

  • 19 bill.thomas // Dec 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    @Scott I always find your thinking robust and interesting. I was totally joking about AJ but I do think he would make a much better exec than either of those two. However, being a coach he might 2nd guess Gentry to much.

    I think Gentry is at most 5% of the problem with this team’s performance.

  • 20 Tony // Dec 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Folks, forget thinking Sarver will pay for a top quality GM. How much more evidence do you all need before accepting the reality that Sarver will never pay for a quality GM? This Suns franchise will NEVER be relevant again so long as Sarver is the principal owner. Our best hope is that he finally sells his majority ownership in the near future.

    I was one of the few Suns fans who was not sold on Dragic to replace Nash. So many of the dummies on this site just assumed Dragic would come in and produce just as much, if not more, than all that Nash did as a Sun. Yet the result, as I expected, has so far proven that Dragic is incapable of leading this team. Firstly, he doesn’t have an alpha-personality to be a natural leader. Secondly, he doesn’t command a level of respect from teammates or even from the referees that comes from already being an established player. Lastly, unlike Nash, Dragic seems to deal with adversity by yelling at his teammates instead of trying to lead them by remaining calm and encouraging his teammates even when they make mistakes. Because he hasn’t shown an ability to lead this team, his teammates don’t seem to trust him.

    Regarding Dragic’s skill level, he’s a scoring pg and doesn’t create opportunities on a consistent basis for his teammates. The problem with his skill set is that no one else on this team can consistently create their own shots, so as a result, the Suns offense struggles.

  • 21 Ryan // Dec 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    GM’s that were great players and GM’s…….anyone ever heard of the Logo?

    As far as the absurd post reguarding the Center and PG position, this team needs an overhaul top to bottom with PG and C being two of the better spots. SG IMO (along with others on this site) is the most obvious hole or perhaps a go to SF.

    Dagic would be better served to be around different personel. It’s true he’s not an alpha, but as a second or third he’d be a really good piece to a puzzle. Having said that, any player on the Suns that they can sell high they need to, because no one on this team is a player to build around. No one! If a team wants Dragic for the right price, the Suns should do it with no hesitation.

  • 22 Bill-in-Tokyo // Dec 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    To help the Suns offensively Dragic must be more selfish. He should aim more to shoot first or score on drives. Gentry’s demand for more ball movement takes this out and makes Dragic less of an offensive threat.
    Perhaps all this analysis is still too early. This team is still learning about itself. Morris lost last season so he still in a partial sense a rookie. And the summer trade additions are a bust. The bright spot is that in next year’s draft, the Suns can do all the dumping you want for higher draft picks.

  • 23 melon man // Dec 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    even if gortat got the pass id bet there wouldve been no dunk. a lay in or finger roll but not a dunk.

  • 24 bill.thomas // Dec 27, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    @Ty-Sun: I can’t imagine why we would pick up Rip Hamilton, who has plantar fasciitis and will be 35 by the trade deadline, now that we are rebuilding. If we could get Meeks for next to nothing it would be worth it. Also Travis Leslie of the Santa Cruz D league team was the best player on the court by far in Marshall’s D-league debut and would be worth trying.

    @Tony: Interested in your thoughts on who we should have picked up at the guard position in lieu of Dragic or additional to him. I think he was the best available out there.

    Also, Dragic is giving a good effort, people shouldn’t be calling him names.

  • 25 bill.thomas // Dec 27, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Dragic functions better with smarter and more unselfish players around him–like Scola, Kevin Martin, Chandler Parsons and Courtney Lee.

  • 26 Scott // Dec 27, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    @Ryan -

    You propose hiring Jerry West as GM? I would be fine with that. Why didn’t I think of that? :)

    @bill.thomas -

    I was musing about AJ as GM, and then I remembered how when he transitioned from being a player at Golden State to being a coach at Dallas, he used his influence to get former GS teammate Erick Dampier traded to Dallas … and though he wasn’t a GM, that was not a good GM move, and an inauspicious start if he was to head in that direction.

    Of course, he may have learned a thing or two since then. I guess the main thing is a GM has to be disciplined enough to see what “is” with the players he’s looking at, and not be too focused on trying to “make” them be something.

  • 27 Tony // Dec 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    @bill.thomas

    don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Dragic, but I think Suns management and fans overrated his abilities. He plays more like a 2-guard than a pg, and because he’s not consistently able to create for his teammates, playing him at pg has disrupted the Suns offensive flow and limited team chemistry from developing.
    The other disappointing part of his game has been his perimeter defense. I overestimated that part of his game.

    But this is not to say that he isn’t a good player. Dragic is a pretty good player, but in no way should he be a team’s number 1 or 2 player. Moreover, at this point in his career, I’m still not confident in his ability to lead the Suns offense.

    I still think Dragic was a good pickup, so I have no issue with the Suns signing him. With that said, I thought people were foolish to accept the FO’s sales job about Dragic being the Suns savior, especially since he only played exceptionally well in Houston for about 28 games, hardly enough to warrant placing so much faith in him.

  • 28 Scott // Dec 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

    @Tony -

    I think you heap too much praise upon yourself for seeing that Dragic would not be the savior of the team. All I can remember anybody saying was that he’d have better defense than Nash, and he was younger. On all other counts he was not going to be as good as Nash. He was not going to deliver as many assists, he was not going to have as high a shooting percentage, he was not going to make everyone around him better, he’s not a natural leader, and he was not going to orchestrate the offense like an experienced 2-time MVP.

    All Dragic was going to be was a bigger, younger, and hopefully better PG than Telfair. And while Telfair is playing better at PG this year than I’ve ever seen from him, he’s still got a PER of 10.88 compared to Dragic’s 18.32.

  • 29 Scott // Dec 28, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Here’s a weird idea for GM … Jeff Van Gundy. He’s witty, and though often outspoken he can speak to the public in appropriate tones, and he knows basketball. He’s not too young or too old. He’s also a friend of Suns owner Steve Kerr and Suns Ring of Honor member John MacLeod.

    The question is: can he accurately evaluate talent and contract value? I can’t think of any relevant anecdotes. All I can remember is him on the court during the brawl, hugging Mourning’s leg. ;)

  • 30 SHAZAM // Dec 28, 2012 at 1:32 am

    easy scott..in between praising himself and belittling others tony makes really good points..you just have to over look his commenting style flaws .. can you imagine if tony didnt do those 2 things?…why he would be ….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McvWodRXA7k

  • 31 Sillmarillion // Dec 28, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I would love t osee van Gundy in Phoenix. He is a great coach and I think Gundy/Gortat could come along very well, since they know eachother from Orlando.
    I really don’t understand how some guys here can complain about the 5 spot in the Suns roster. With Gortat they have one of the better centers in the league (especially when he’s motivated, vide last games) and O’Neal is a nice backup (although it seems to me that his production level has fallen down a bit). In my opinion the 5 is the best position in this Suns team.
    Wtih Dragic you have the 2nd possible quality player but I agree with you folks, he is not a PG. The rest of the team is mediocre, although I have to say that I like Dudley very much. I am afraid that he won’t be consistent, though.

  • 32 Sillmarillion 2 // Dec 28, 2012 at 3:53 am

    The Suns are supposed to be in rebuilding mode so these losses are supposed to happen against good team like NY.
    One of the problems I have is we including most of the expert on the media is Kendal is a good fit for the Suns coz he is a great playmaker back at college level but this kid can’t shoot. He is supposed be Nash 2.0 for our team this season but I guess he needs time to develop his game.
    I guess with with the Lakers struggling and we own their First Round pick next draft expect it to a very high pick and maybe a lottery if we are lucky so guyz lets just wait and see what happens in the future. XD

  • 33 Sillmarillion 2 // Dec 28, 2012 at 3:57 am

    *we including most of the expert on the media thought that Kendal is a good fit for the Suns*

    too bad can’t edit post

  • 34 azbballfan // Dec 28, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Im in favor of Jeff Van Gundy for GM as well

    All lon babby did when he became GM was to bring in his former players he had when he was an agent

    then, swing and a miss on two straight lotto picks

    now to his credit, he did say he knew nothing about evaluating talent and he wanted to hire someone he thought was a genius.

    So we got Lance Blanks. Maybe its all on him with this roster, Sarver has made it tough to tell who to blame with the current state of the suns (other than, fans blaming him of course)

    One of the things ive noticed on this team is the lack of finishers

    no one hardly ever drives the lane and finishes or makes a post move that ends in a dunk

    how many layups have the suns missed this year?

  • 35 Sillmarillion // Dec 28, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I have a question to the admins of this site:
    How is it possible that another random guy takes the same nick as mine (Sillmarillion) and can post comments which look like they were written by me?
    The two posts above me (also written by a “Sillmarillion”) are not mine (I guess admins can check this via the IP) and I wouldn’t ever make a tripple post on a board/forum :/

  • 36 john // Dec 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

    How is it that two guys both spell silmarillion oddly on the same basketball site? That’s what I want to know. :)

  • 37 Michael Schwartz // Dec 28, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Ha, not sure what’s going on there, but yes I can see by the IP and email you guys have to enter that it’s a different person so I added a 2 by his name to differentiate you guys. Anybody can write in any name they want, but not sure why somebody would want to pretend to be you!

  • 38 Keith // Dec 28, 2012 at 10:09 am

    “not sure why somebody would want to pretend to be you”

    Ouch. lol.

  • 39 Michael Schwartz // Dec 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Haha I swear I didn’t mean it like that!

  • 40 Luka // Dec 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

    When you hear rumors that the Suns are trying to acquire Rip Hamilton, it just shows you how clueless this orginaztion is. They’ve learned nothing.

    This front office has played it safe for over two years, and we’ve gone nowhere.

    Babby is so much on “pride”. Yet he should’ve been focusing on getting the best deal for Nash before his contract year.

    They’ve botched the draft by continuing to draft by need and not by best talent available.

    Whenever they finally get cap space their philosophy is to divvy it up on role players instead of going for one or two star players. Why not sign a few guys to the veteran’s minimum?

  • 41 Ryan // Dec 28, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Understanding every idea we throw out there as far as trades or new GM has a nill chance of happening, here’s what I’ve come up with this morning.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=d8a78nu

    I know some on here are against trading for Cousins, but I think it’s worth the hail mary in this case. I also think this trade makes sense for all teams involved.

    First you have the Suns who may be able to hit the reset button on the Beasley signing here. I think pairing Cousins with a vet mentor type like O’Neal could be just what the young talented player could need. Plus the Suns have a better veterans and the right talent surrounding him much more so than the Kings anyway. Millsap would be a rental of sorts and the Suns could gage how much money they’d be willing to spend on him ( as we all know they’re not actually going to sign anyone with a big name this offseason). I also think he would be a good fit on this team. Taking Courtney Lee is more to do with the Kings not wanting his contract. Plus side for the Suns here is we know how well he played with Dragic last season. He also allows for Brown to go back to the bench and create for himself on the second unit(which is what his game is more suited for)

    For the Kings they get two producing low maintenence players in Bradely and Sullinger, and Melo as a Center project. This trade is about addition by subtraction in the locker room more than anything.

    For Utah they wont sign anyone with the money that comes off the books from Millsap, so why not get a player(Morris) that does most of the same things at a lower price while also allowing Favors to be in the starting lineup. Also with Williams injured and in a contract year why not get Jimmer a local favorite who also happens to be doing pretty good in the time he’s on the floor. Pair Jimmer with a rim protector like Favors and that could be a pretty good combo. As far as Beasley the Suns will probably have to throw in the Memphis pick at the very least to make that worth the Jazz time.

    Boston would get Gortat, who would be devistating with a guard like Rondo to PnR and big like Garnett to space. Gortat is short term as well just what the Celts window is anyway.

    Like I said this has no chance of happening, but it’s always fun to play imaginary GM when what the Suns have is nothing short of incompetent.

  • 42 Luka // Dec 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Utah is going to re-sign Millsap. The Suns would have a better shot at Al Jefferson, but Sarver is too stupid to give anyone good a fair contract so that won’t happen.

    As for Cousins, I agree a change of scenery might help. The guy is a monster in the paint and has the potential to be the next Zach Randolph in this league, maybe better.

  • 43 Ryan // Dec 28, 2012 at 11:02 am

    @Luka

    Utah wants to build around Favors, only speculation here but I don’t see Utah wanting to resign him at what he’ll be asking. They chance him leaving for nothing at this point. Being the imaginary GM that I am I’d be willing to give it a shot and inquire.

    Totally agreed on the Randolph comparison.

  • 44 Luka // Dec 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

    @Ryan

    I don’t think Utah knows what they are going to do. They have an insane amount of cap space, but really no one to spend it on this year.

    Al Jefferson is a great player, and his stats are solid this season. But can Utah bring themselves to offer him max money?

    Millsap will be more affordable, and Utah can still go get Tyreke Evans.

  • 45 bill.thomas // Dec 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    @Tony: OK, so you agree with me, Dragic was the best point guard or combo guard on the market and available to the Suns. Jeremy Lin was the only comp, and he had even less history to go on, and also benefited from Stat and Chandler being on the floor with him.

  • 46 bill.thomas // Dec 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    @Luka: We should get Tyreke Evans. Utah has more and better bigs, but Phoenix is a better destination. If only this FO will pay and will avoid insulting him in the visit.

  • 47 Luka // Dec 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Evans would fix a lot of problems on this roster. The million dollar question though… Does Robert “Bozo” Sarver want to pay him his worth?

  • 48 Ryan // Dec 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Wait, what is Evans worth…..I hope if he is offered a contract it isn’t all that much. Evans has not shown himself to be worthy of much more than a mid level salary at this point.

  • 49 bill.thomas // Dec 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    @Ryan: Considering what we’ve paid for Dragic and Beasley, I think the least we could offer Evans and have a chance of getting him would be 3 years at $7 million a year. I think at that point Utah or someone else would outbid us and we might have to go higher, but its a start.

  • 50 Ryan // Dec 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    @bill.thomas,

    I’m agreeable to that idea as 7 million is in line with not being much more than mid level money. If other teams want to outbid, so be it Evans isn’t worth the risk. As far as what Beasley is paid, it’s a good comparison as Evans and Beasley both are high risk high reward type signings.

  • 51 Voqar // Dec 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    After two bad losses I was thinking, gee, maybe with 2 Knicks starters and their best player out, we could get a win.

    But no.

    Gotta say, knicks are pretty loaded. Of the aged vets out there, you can always count on Kurt Thomas and especially JKidd to continue to deliver.

    Even without melo and felton Chandler and Smith were going wild and trying to guard them left JKidd to hit shot after shot.

    Just brutal.

    Doesn’t help when the Suns revert to miss wide open shots mode.

    And I like Gentry but his substitution patterns are maddening at times.

    “We should get Tyreke Evans”

    Because what this team needs is another or a different ball hog with mental issues. Please, no. Probably will happen just because it’s as bad as an idea as Beasely was. But please, no. No more team cancer for a while.

  • 52 Luka // Dec 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    @Voqar

    I’d be just fine if they moved Beasley for a defensive SG/SF like Gerald Henderson.

  • 53 bill.thomas // Dec 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    To think we could have had Mayo for $4-5 million a year for 1, 2, or 3 years at our choice. Ah, exhale. Someone on TNT said last night that he’s 3rd in the league in 3 point shooting this year–I don’t know if that meant % or total made, but in either case we’d be much better off than w are. I’m wondering if this year is a “stealth tank” for the FO.

  • 54 bill.thomas // Dec 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    @Michael Schwartz: A Sillmarillion–is that a protected species?

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