Oklahoma City Thunder 102, Phoenix Suns 90 -- The Durant-Westbrook Show

PHOENIX — The NBA is a star’s league such that it often seems like a pair of studs can beat a lesser team 2-on-5.

That wasn’t far from the truth tonight on the offensive end at least, as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook outscored the Suns on their own in the second half to take down Phoenix 102-90 in US Airways Center.

Durant poured in 41 on 15-for-30 shooting and Westbrook a season-high 36 on 14-for-24 to go with eight boards and five assists. After Kevin Martin’s 12 points (all in the first half), no other Thunder player scored more than five points, and in the second half Durant and Westbrook combined for 47 of OKC’s 51 points to best the Suns 47-45 in the half alone.

“We basically lost to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant,” said Marcin Gortat, who joked the only way to stop KD is by breaking his arm or leg. “These two guys were just outstanding and they played great. Just pick and roll between these two guys is just ridiculous. We were not able to stop these guys, that’s it.”

Added head coach Alvin Gentry, “They’ve got two great players in Westbrook and Durant and you can see why. They always put you in a position where you really can’t double team and get the ball out of those guys’ hands the way that they space the floor.”

The rest of the Thunder combined to shoot just 11-of-30 (36.7 percent) and did not make many offensive contributions aside from Martin’s solid second quarter.

It’s crazy to think that two players outscored another NBA team tonight by 19 points, but that says as much about the Atlanta Hawks as it does about how special KD and Russ were on this evening.

As Gentry noted, it’s nearly impossible for any NBA player to stop them one-on-one, and providing adequate help would mean leaving teammates opens for layups and threes.

Westbrook had his mid-range game working, as you can sometimes force into being a volume chucker who doesn’t pass to Durant enough. Not tonight as he hit 58 percent of his shots and still allowed Durant to put up 30 attempts.

Even with the KD/RW heroics, the Suns used a 14-4 run to close the third quarter to go into the final period down by just four at 72-68.

That was the deficit a few minutes into the fourth, when Hasheem Thabeet grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Durant for three. It happened again later in the quarter when down eight with four and a half minutes left Durant missed a jumper, Martin rebounded it and found KD for a back-breaking three in a fourth quarter that saw him tally a ridiculous 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

“We had our opportunities,” Gentry said. “We had a four-point game and we had a good defensive possession and then we don’t secure the rebound and they throw it back out and they make a three-pointer. That happened four times in the game tonight. If you are going to play a team of this quality you have to seize opportunities. I thought we had opportunities that we just kind of let slip on by, and it’s going to be really tough to beat a team of this quality if you don’t take advantage of those situations.”

Durant punctuated the rim with the highlight of the night when he drove past Michael Beasley on the perimeter and exploded to the rim before dunking right in the grill of Gortat. It was a superstar play and the perfect capper on a night the Suns just ran into two of the best players in the NBA on one of their better nights.

“Well first of all, I was looking for my car keys under the basket,” Gortat said. “I was trying to find my car keys because I lost them over there, so I was just looking for it. And Michael Beasley is going to get Krispy Kremes for the rest of the season for sure for me.

“It happens. The funny thing is that when [Kendrick] Perkins was standing under the basket he looked at me and I looked at him, and he said, ‘I know how it feels.’ He said, ‘Guards left you on the island, huh?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’

“Listen, it happens. I am not going to deny that was probably the top three dunks of the year, right? I mean at least I am going to be out there. I mean, I am just going to try to be silly about it. I am not going to cry. It is just part of the game.

“When he took off off one foot, I didn’t even lift my hands up, I already knew what was going to happen. I just tried to get out of the picture, or at least smile. It was bad defense, and then bad rotation, bad help. You can’t do anything.”

That’s about how the Suns felt overall tonight. They actually led 30-23 early in the second quarter over this weary Thunder squad that won last night in Portland before OKC quickly regained control by the virtue of a 22-5 run.

The Suns rolled out an eight-man rotation with Jared Dudley (right wrist strain) and Jermaine O’Neal (back spasms) unavailable. That led Gortat to play 46:27, in which time he produced 19 points and 15 boards and later said he felt like “a Vulcan of energy.”

Michael Beasley “was close to terrible today” offensively (his words, not mine) with 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting, but he also grabbed 11 boards (five offensive) and played with an energy that he often lacks. Since he guarded Durant for much of his 19-point fourth quarter, he wasn’t exactly a stalwart on that end either.

In the end, this game represented more of the same of what we have seen this season. The Suns played very well during stretches, and made this one close early in the fourth quarter.

However, they just never could match the opposition’s stars and ultimately made too many mistakes to upset a team like the Thunder despite how hard they played.

“We fought like crazy, but you have to play almost a perfect game to beat these guys,” Gentry said. “The one thing that I think is great about the guys in our locker room is that we are still playing hard, we’re still competing. We’re not about to quit. We’ll play it until they tell us that the season is over. We’re going to keep plugging away at it, we’re going to keep trying to put ourselves in a position to win games.”

And 1

  • I recently learned that I misread Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ and thought the Suns cannot trade for Eric Gordon for the length of his contract after New Orleans matched the offer sheet he signed with Phoenix this offseason. However, the Hornets are only not allowed to trade him to the Suns for one year, so in theory if his heart is still in Phoenix this summer the Suns would still be eligible to make another run at him via trade.
  • The Thunder have won five in a row in USAC, tying the Heat for the longest active win streak for an opponent in the building. The Suns last beat OKC on March 14, 2009, and man does that feel like a long time ago. The Suns have not beaten the Thunder overall since Dec. 19, 2010.

Tags: Kevin Durant Marcin Gortat Russell Westbrook

  • azbballfan

    3-17 on the road and 10-10 at home aint gonna do it

    we have something like a 3 tenths of 1 percent chance to make the playoffs

    Yeah, we hung in there, but like always not enough talent to finish the job

    Gortat is our best bigman and he is leaving soon via free agency

    The Suns gotta get real and trade him while he has value, preferably for young players and or picks

    No one is really untouchable on this team, although i would not want to trade Dragic because

    A: who are we going to get for money thats not outrageous thats alot better


    B: You dont make the same mistake twice as a front office and deal him away, again, just because you put him with scorers that cant defend, or people that defend but cant score, or people that cant defend or rebound

    OKC would lose nothing in a perkins/Thabeet and Lamb for a gortat and expiring deal trade

    The Suns already know what happens when you wait for the last possible second to trade franchise players like amare and steve and you get nothing in return

    I know alot of people want Eric Gordon but

    he is injury prone and has a max deal despite not being a superstar

    The Suns have deeper problems anyway that just adding an elite 2 guard wont fix

    and with the new luxury tax CBA stuff kicking in next season, trading for a max player would be almost zero flexibility

    Trade the peices that value that are not in next years plans, like Gortat, rebuild with defense and rebounding and go from there

    clogging the cap with overpayed non superstars would doom this team to mediocrity

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Dragic had one assist in 33 minutes. Really? Why does he even call himself point guard?

  • Michael

    I think trading for Eric Gordon in the off season would be just great given the fact that he wants to play with us and that our medical stuff will ensure he won´t be that injury prone with us. Though I don´t know what we could offer NO in return. I don´t see it coming.

    For the draft, can anyone clarify this MIN/MEM first rounder? I still don´t get what has to happen that we get which one.

    And for the two lottery picks (I really hope so):

    What do you think of going for Trey Burke, possibly with the LaLa pick? For me he seems to be one of the prospects closest to the definition of a future franchise player. I´ve watched him against Ohio, and although they´ve lost, he was quite impressive.
    Pair him with Goran/ Gordon/ McLemore, and we´ll have a very talented backcourt.
    For our Top5 pick, I´d go for McLemore or Bennett right now.
    I wouldn´t touch a C with our first pick, they tend to fail.

    I disagree on azbball and I think our top priority is to look at the SG position.
    The 2013 draft looks to me like a mediocre one, nevertheless with some talent for the guard spots (McLemore, Burke, Shabazz, Goodwin, Smart, …). As long as we don´t have a frachise player like Durant or LeBron (or even like Melo, Smith), we can´t affort having such a black hole at the 2.
    PJ is playing woth great effort and is a nice defensive player, but he doesn´t contribute for the offense. Brown is an absolute nightmare, Dudley is a SF, so Goran has no option giving the ball to a SG, and the opposing defense can concentrate on Gortat/Scola. We desperately need an upgrade at the 2, either by getting another PG/ combo guard to get Goran to the SG position, or by getting a true SG like Gordon. Personally I´d prefer doing both, aquiring Trey Burke, going hard for Gordon. That way we have 3 potent guards, with Goran being able to play both positions and probably coming off the bench where he could really really boost the second unit. A role he has been very comfortable with the last couple of seasons.

  • azbballfan

    Suns are like 27th in rebounding and 28th in defensive efficiency

    i dont think eric gordon and another good player with him is gonna get us a title

    I like Eric Gordon, he has a lot of good attributes but you cant just throw around money at people who are not mega stars, because with this new CBA luxury tax, it cripples your spending power

    We got gigantic holes on this team

    and it doesnt matter if you score well but cant rebound or defend

    the Minny/Hornets pick we get if they make the playoffs and we would have the worst of the picks in the standings between the two teams

    best we can hope for is 14th overall

    Now, could Eric Gordon be worth it, if for example he was getting paid the max but he convinced his NBA buddies to come over here for less than outrageous money? well then sure

    But it would take exactly the kinds of assets the Suns need to have, to get him

    unless new orleans wants to save money and wants expiring deals or something

    Dragic would play better if he had people next to him that could finish a play, and a bigman to draw double teams

    I know the post above me was saying dont take centers, they tend to fail, but unless Gortat wants to stay for cheap, oneal sure as hell aint gonna be the future starter

    Luckily alot of the talent in this draft is shooting guards and Power Fowards or Centers

    I heard the Bobcats might be interested in trading their pick for a productive front court guy to play with Biyombo

    what about Diop and his expiring deal and the bobcats 1st rounder for Gortat?

    Yeah Diop isnt worth much but this season is lost anyway, might as well get as many picks as possible

  • bk

    Playing the way to the top 5 pick is fine. But the coach should give Marshall play time instead of playing Telfair with expiring contract. The coach should also consistently tell Beasley not to shoot 3.

  • Ty-Sun

    I doubt Charlotte would be too interested in a trade for Gortat. Mullens, who is currently out with an ankle injury, is averaging 11.6 ppg, 7.8 rebs and 0.9 blocks. Gortat isn’t a big improvement over that and I think Jordan is committed to rebuild through the draft instead of trades so I doubt they will give up their 1st round pick to anyone this year.

  • Michael Beasley

    I was ballin’ last night yo.

  • john

    @azbballfan & @ Michael

    Eric Gordon is off the table for the Suns, I believe. I’m pretty sure that any team that signs an offer sheet on a restricted free agent which is then matched, that team cannot deal said player to the team that signed the offer sheet throughout the lifetime of that contract (direct trade or sign & trade).

    I think Eric Gordon could find his way to Phoenix through a series of trades (say, NOLA trades Gordon to Boston, Boston decides in a year they want to trade Gordon). But there are time restrictions for how long a player has to be with a certain time before any deals wouldn’t be considered a “sign & trade” any more.

    Hopefully that makes sense to you. It didn’t make any sense to me. :)

    • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

      I was under that impression as well, but Marc Stein wrote in this Weekend Dime that the Suns can trade for him at the one-year mark. I followed up with him about that and he confirmed its veracity. I then followed up with Larry Coon, and he confirmed it as well along with agreeing that the passage in his CBA FAQ that I originally based my thought on could potentially be read either way and said he would clarify it in a future edition. So yes, Gordon could be on the table one year after we went through that the first time.

      The Suns will either get a first-rounder from MEM or MIN in the next four years based on a series of complicated rules (if none of them are satisfied it converts to two seconds thereafter). The MEM pick is lottery-protected and the MIN pick is top-13 protected the next two years and top-12 protected the two years after that.
      If both picks convey in a given year, the Suns get the worst of the two.
      If the MEM pick only conveys, the MIN pick will roll over to the next season and then only that pick will be in play.

      So essentially what I think the Suns should be rooting for is for MIN’s pick to be among the top 13 selections so that the MEM picks conveys and the selection the Suns get rolls over to next year, at which point they will likely get a mid-first rounder whenever MIN makes the playoffs.

  • Cody

    I don’t get the point of having Dragic, he brings the ball up and then passes to the high post to Scola , cuts through then proceeds to just stand in the corner, of course he’s not getting assists, he’s not gettting into the flow of the game. If that’s what the coach wants then hey, whatever but I just feel like that’s kind of wasting what he does best in penetrating and either scoring or dishing out. That was just what I saw last night. Then in the 4th when he was in with all the reserves he had no part in the offense at all, I don’t get it, but he did miss a huge rebound that gave the Thunder a big 3 that pretty much sealed it.

  • Forever is2long

    Absolutely Gortat should be on the block as he does not want to sign an extension in Phoenix. However as appears to be the norm, management seems to have missed the boat on this one. They had a chance to sign Lopez (who is younger and having a pretty decent season) for $5m/year and trade Gortat last summer for a lottery pick and or young talent. Now when we trade him we will have a void at center.

    I begged the Suns to trade Gortat last summer but I guess they thought he would be instrumental in us securing a 2013 lottery pick so they kept him. In my opinion that is just dumb by management. It is not surprising we are where we are with our last 2 lottery picks being lifetime bench players and Earl Clark the one time Suns, is playing out of his mind in LA.

    Anyway I am with you on trading Gortat.

  • azbballfan

    Hey John

    I used to think Gordon could never be a sun, but larry coon on espn CBA faq says he cant play for the suns until after atleast one year, then the Suns can get him via trade if new orleans is willing

    someone else on one of the suns sites pointed this out so i just found out about it

    I totally forgot about Mullens, but now that you reminded me, yeah 12 and 8 is great for a player they traded a 2nd round pick for

    Mullens is good on offense and can rebound but plays the worst defense in the league

    i stil think they could use Gortat, as thier other bigmen not named Biyombo either dont have any offense like Diop or are up there like Haywood and give you like 5 points and 5 boards a game.

    I wish we would have kept Garrett Siler on the team

    I think this draft is not looked at fondly by some teams, and if i was the Suns i would call every team thats 1-13 slot seeing what they want for their pick

    The Bobcats have been trying to dump Tyrus Thomas contract on someone i think it has 2 years and 16 mil left

    they would probably give up their pick for that

  • john

    “They had a chance to.. trade Gortat last summer for a lottery pick and/or young talent.”

    I’m curious, where’s your source for that claim? I never heard anything about someone throwing a lottery pick on the table in exchange for Gortat. I also never heard any potential deals involving his name. Not calling you a liar, as I don’t really keep up with that sort of thing. I’m just curious if those things are true or if you’re just throwing out some conjecture without qualifying it.

    Btw, there is still plenty of time to trade Gortat. There’s still one more year on his contract after this season. If the Suns would get a second-rounder in exchange for Gortat at the moment (which seems likely to me, as I wouldn’t give up any more than that for Gortat if I were a GM), what reason do the Suns have to trade Gortat? It’s not like they need the picks, let alone second-rounders. Gortat provides modest value on the court, his expiring contract will be more attractive next year, and giving him a year to work out his Steve Nash withdrawals might work out in the Suns’ favor (imagine if he starts figuring out how to play basketball again and averaging 15/12, then he’ll get far more than a second-rounder in return).

    In blaming management for everything that goes wrong with the franchise, you can’t just assume that there was a better deal on the table that they passed on every single time.

    And regarding Earl Clark, I believe it was purely coaching that led Earl Clark into obscurity in the Valley. He needed to be reined in, but the Suns’ offense is one that encourages bad shots (16-23 jumpers, which is where Earl took most of his shots while in the Valley). In his second season in Phoenix, Earl was taking 3.3 shots per game, 1.9 of which came from 16-23 feet. That’s a ridiculous ratio for someone of his size and athleticism. Not only that, but only 2/3 of his made shots from 16-23 were assisted. The Phoenix Suns were encouraging Earl Clark to take iso jumpers from 16-23 feet. Where were the coaches?

    In Orlando, he bumped his 16-23 feet number under 50% of his total shots. In LA, that number is well below 40%, and he’s being assisted on 100% of his shots from 16-23 (so, when he is taking those shots, it’s likely to be in rhythm and wide open, rather than what he was chucking up in Phoenix).

    Phoenix coaches make me so angry. They consistently give green lights to guys who need to be locked into a more conservative game, a smarter game.

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  • john


    I checked out Coon’s FAQ just now because you got me curious. Here’s what it says at the tail end of question 43:

    “If the team matches an offer sheet and retains their free agent, then for one year they cannot trade him without his consent, and cannot trade him at all to the team that signed him to an offer sheet.”

    Based on that wording, I’m thinking that whoever said the Suns could acquire Gordon was misinformed. Maybe we can get someone else to give an opinion who has a little expertise on the subject…

    • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

      Yes, as Stein explained to me and Coon corroborated, that means the Hornets cannot trade him to the Suns at all for one year and they cannot trade him to any other team without his consent. The wording does make it sound like either scenario is possible, though.

  • john

    @Michael Schwartz

    Thanks for the clarification. I’d say that Marc Stein and Larry Coon qualify as having a little “expertise” in the area of CBA-speak. Thanks for bringing that to my attention, @azbballfan.

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  • Scott

    It was nice to see Beasley actually get into a defensive stance last night. It didn’t look like he knew what to do after that, but it was good to see him finally get into the stance.

    I still believe that if he wants to get his offensive game going, he needs to practice his defense and step it up. He’s trying to skate by on minimal effort.

    Beasley says he’s working out longer than anyone else. Well, judging by the results, if that’s the case then he’s working out on the wrong things. For example, I’ll bet he’s not applying himself at all on practicing defense.

    As for player development … I’m with bk on the idea that once the playoff hopes are confirmed dead, the Suns should take the rest of the season to develop their younger players. Dragic can still start, but serious time has to go to Marshall and Garrett over Telfair and Brown, and while Dudley and Scola can start, Johnson and Beasley need to get the lion’s share of minutes.

    If Blanks can make a favorable trade that brings some talented young players to the team, that would be great. I’m okay with trading all the Suns, but – as usual – the hardest spots to fill are going to be PG and C, so special care needs to be paid to any trade involving those two spots.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see a whole lot of opportunities, mainly because a key trade for the Suns would likely involve Gortat, and the Suns need to get back a young center as well as other pieces in exchange for him.

    A trade like what I’d mentioned before – Gortat and Morris to Orlando for Vucevic, Nicholson, and Harkless, plus a distant pick – would be ideal, as it would net the Suns quality young players, give them the rest of the season to develop, and still keep the Suns in the hunt for a prime lottery pick.

    As far as that Orlando deal goes, the Suns could even offer to take one of the Magic’s larger contracts back. If you replace the pick with Harrington, that would work, and it would probably be more enticing to the Magic.

    Telfair could also be added to that trade, as Orlando could stand to give him a trial run, and the Suns should prefer to develop their young guys anyway.

  • Scott

    BTW, the above trade that adds Harrington and Telfair still allows for a trade with Memphis involving Dudley (and expirings) for Gay.

  • azbballfan

    Lon Babby told Gortat a few years ago at the draft that he was not being traded to Minny for Derrick Williams

    I know atleast a few Suns sites have said that

    I would love a Gortat back to Orlando deal

    The Suns have almost no money put into this team 3 years from now, so might as well get a future center, otherwise the Suns are gonna have to get one in the draft

    I think this season is lost, i mean come on we have lost 16 of 20 and dont do anything consistently for 48 minutes

    which reminds me, the Bulls took out their anger on the Hawks last night and won 97 to 58 after losing to the Suns

  • Scott

    @john -

    I agree about the current crop of Phoenix coaches. I think it goes back to D’Antoni, who quite honestly wanted seasoned veterans in his system, not young guys lacking sense and discipline.

    I think McMillan would be a better head coach for a rebuilding Suns team than Gentry, because he’s had success with getting young guys to play right. At one point the Suns might have thought Gentry had that ability too, coming from his time with the Clippers, but this affair with Beasley – and whatever went on with Dragic regarding his trade – shows that Gentry maybe isn’t realistically what the Suns need.

    Like D’Antoni, I think Gentry would prefer to coach an experienced team filled with Nashes and Hills.

    If Gentry was let go by the Suns, I suspect he’d get an assistant job next season with either D’Antoni in LA or Doug Collins in Philly.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Here’s a quote from rotoworld:
    “Marcin Gortat has his seventh double-double in his last nine games against the Thunder on Monday with 19 points and 15 boards, adding one assist and one block in 46 minutes.
    The 46 minutes were a season high for him and he got some extra playing time with Jermaine O’Neal dealing with back spasms. Gortat has really come on strong in 2013, shooting 54 percent from the field while averaging a double-double with two blocks per game in those eight contests. He’s a must-start player right now.”

    And some guys here say all you can get for Gortat is a second rounder? Come on, what are you talking about? He is worth much more than that!

  • Keith

    And that CBA language is why we have lawyers, lol. And stop talking about getting Vucevic from ORL. That isn’t going to happen. He is beasting and playing arguably better than Gortat while being much younger. They aren’t going to trade him, especially to acquire a guy they already shipped off who could easily leave. Other than that, I can’t wait for the day Gentry is gone as he is a horrible coach for this type of team. As someone said, he’s a decent coach if you have veterans. Nate McMillian, I would support. We need to get someone who can reach these guys. As for FA, I think Reddick and Millsap are our main targets….

  • john

    I wouldn’t throw more than a second-round pick or two out there for him. I’m a big fan of Gortat, but guys like Gortat are a dime a dozen.

    He’s a #4 option on a good team, a guy who would be best served by being a hustling garbage man, but doesn’t like doing the dirty work.

    Look at his numbers. Any way you shake it, Gortat is about the 20th-best C in the league by statistical measures. He COULD be better, but he doesn’t like to do the dirty work a player like him NEEDS to do in order to be successful.

    Basically, he’s replaceable, and his contract, while favorable, is short. When the time comes for his next payday, he’s going to want somewhere in the neighborhood of $12M, which will absolutely obliterate any notion that he is a good bargain (right now he’s making $7M, so his production is a fairly good value). The ONLY teams that would be interested in a Gortat deal, as far as I can see, are teams that believe Gortat is their franchise center for the next five years (aka, nobody), or teams that believe Gortat is is missing cog to a contending piece, and that list is extremely short. Most contenders have the C-spot on lockdown or don’t view it as a necessary piece for success (the Heat, for instance).

    It’s not that I think Gortat is terrible, it’s just that I don’t believe he’s a special player who would absolutely demand a killer package in order to acquire him in a deal. Before he got exposed due to his lack of hustle and production early in the season, I’d say he could have netted a top-10 protected first rounder. After he took 20 games off and has put up very average numbers on the season as a whole, I think I would be a fool to buy high on him. Btw, he was the 57th pick in his draft. A second-rounder could very well turn out to be equal or greater value.

  • Scott

    @Keith -

    You could well be right … I haven’t been watching Orlando games. Also, since I first proposed that trade, Vucevic’s PER has climbed and Gortat’s has dropped, so now they’re essentially even.

    I would not be surprised to find that the Suns fail to make any trade this year.

  • azbballfan

    Like any Suns player, Gortat will put together a good streth of games and then go back to the average

    12 and 9 and 2 is not untradeable super star numbers but they are great role player numbers.

    If Gortat wanted to stay, for a reasonable pricce then i wouldnt trade him

    But this is a rebuilding team and a team that really needs some talent

    If your best guy isnt gonna stay you might as well get something for him.

    I think Gortat could help a team like Charlotte that is building for the future, has a need for a center, and Gortat has finals playoff experience, something no one on the Bobcats have.

    Besides the Bobcats would be giving up likely a top 3 pick and a expiring deal

    I dont know how you wouldnt pass that up if the season is nearly lost even from a mathematical chance perspective.

    Even if we get Thomas instead, his deal should come off the books when the next free agency period thats worth anything comes around.

    Yeah we got 2013 Summer but thats filled with restricted FA who are not gonna come to a rebuilding team like the Suns most likely

    I dont see D-12 and CP3 joining forces on the Suns, hey that would be great but it aint gonna happen

    We gotta be realistic and plan for the future

  • Ty-Sun

    If Gortat had Scola’s offensive skill set then he would be one of the best centers in the NBA. But his bread and butter is the PNR, not improvising/creating he own shots. While I don’t believe he’s only worth a 2nd round pick, I don’t see anyone giving up more than a low 1st rounder (below #20) in a trade to pick him up.

  • john

    and @Sillmarillion

    I should note that I’m not trying to pretend every GM in the league should agree with me. Crazier things have happened than someone thinking a player like Gortat is worth a first-rounder.

    However, I think the Suns are in a shopping mode, and at the very least they’re in a position where they must be listening to any and all offers for their players simply because they need to blow things up so badly. If the Suns actually had received an offer of a first-rounder for Gortat, I’d have to believe they’d jump on it (or at least there would have been some rumblings). The fact that Gortat (or any player on the roster) hasn’t been circling the trade rumor mill tells me there isn’t much interest from other franchises in anyone on this team (and rightfully so). In my mind, no interest means no value. No value means, “I’ll throw a second-rounder on the table to take this pain in the neck off of your hands for you.”

    Just my thoughts. Maybe there’s a GM out there who will give the Suns a borderline All-Star and a non-protected first-round pick for Gortat. Is David Kahn still around?

  • azbballfan

    i think he is sitll around

    How about Derick Williams and a future 1st for Gortat?

    Williams was 2nd overall a few years ago and rumors have been swirling for a while he would be moved.

    Plus Gortat could replace Pekovic who is playing so well they seem to think he will command alot of money as a restricted FA this upcoming summer

  • Ty-Sun

    I agree with john. There’s no one on this team that any other team is salivating over a potential trade for. Gortat is the most valuable trade bait we have but I see him as being more attractive to a contender (or near contender) to which Grotat would actually be an upgrade at the 5. With that in mind, I think the most likely trading partner for the Suns in a trade involving Gortat would be OKC… at least they are the team that would most likely give the Suns at least fair trade value for him. The bad thing is that the Suns would have to take back Perkins as part of the trade but there are various combinations that also bring back Jeremy Lamb as part of the deal. And a deal like that will OKC is just a “maybe” depending on whether they might think that having Gortat instead of Perkins at the 5 could increase their chances of winning the championship this year. I think it would but I’m not them nor can I read their minds.

  • Ty-Sun

    Derrick Williams… a “tweener” 3-4 who so far has struggled to live up to his potential and being the #2 pick in his draft class.

    Sound a little familiar?

    The first time K. Love broke his hand the T-Wolves started Dante Cunningham over Williams at the 4. Not only do I not really want Williams on this team, now that Love has re-broken his hand Minn isn’t likely to trade him unless they can get another 4 as part of the deal because they need him again.

  • Tony

    I see nothing much has changed, John and Scott are once again absolutely wrong.

    For instance, although nothing materialized this past off-season in regards to trading Gortat, that’s because the Suns FO never made any indication that they were pursuing trading him for another draft pick or to try and move up in last season’s draft by offering Gortat in a potential deal. They didn’t even announce they were willing to accept offers for him. So, it’s no surprise that Gortat remained a Sun.

    As far as Earl Clark is concerned, he’s currently playing in basically the same system as he did in Phoenix, so as far as coaching differences are concerned, the similarily of coaching styles and systems between D’Antoni and Gentry precludes the suggestion that it’s somehow Gentry’s fault for not properly utilizing Clark.

    Earl Clark’s sudden resurengence with the Lakers probably has most to do with his maturation as both a person and an NBA player. Also, unlike with the Suns, Clark’s under no pressure with the Lakers because he’s not expected to be a factor. He benefits from just the fact that opposing teams’ don’t gameplan against him or otherwise focus their attention on him. Thus, a critical reason for Clark’s sudden improvement is that he gets to play with Nash, Kobe, and Howard, thereby not considered a focal point for the opposition to guard against.

    Dragic is similar to Clark in this regard. With the Rockets, there were no serious expectations of him. Yes he played extremely well in 20+ starts, but he was still relatively unknown and not considered a critical component for the Rockets success. Now, however, as a Sun, he’s expected to produce as the team’s best player and leader. It’s a totally different dynamic and one in which so far Dragic is struggling to embrace. But this is not necessarily his fault, he’s just now a key player opponents’ focus on when they play the Suns.

    Lastly, as far as Gortat is concerned, he’s not only the Suns best trade asset, but he’s also the team’s best player. The team’s offensive-schemes are the root cause stiffling his development because it doesn’t utilize his best attribute, scoring off the pick and roll. Dragic has done a horrible job passing off screens, and most often he simply looks to score when he’s freed off a screen. So Gortat is not getting enough opportunities to score off of pick and rolls. In fact, it seems to me that Telfair is the only Suns player that has shown a willingness to pass to Gortat off the pick. Or, at least he’s been the most adept at doing so.

  • Ty-Sun

    Yeah, Earl Clark is most likely playing well – WELL not great – for the Lakers because of all the reasons Tony mentioned plus the fact that he spent time being coached by Stan VG. I wouldn’t object at all if Phoenix were able to bring in SVG if they decide to let Gentry go this season. It’s very unlikely but I think that this Suns team could benefit from a more… “forceful” coach. McMillian is also high on my list. And I’m not saying that the Suns really need a coaching change but it looks like they are headed that way.

  • john


    You’re a funny guy. I like that. It takes a lot of effort to make a 443 word joke, but you did it with ease. I applaud you, sir.

    “the Suns FO never made any indication that they were pursuing trading him for another draft pick or to try and move up in last season’s draft by offering Gortat in a potential deal. They didn’t even announce they were willing to accept offers for him.”

    Everyone is always on the block. It’s a well known fact in every sport. Everyone has a price. If a team comes out and says, “Hey, everyone, we’re trying to get rid of Player X,” what exactly would they be hoping to accomplish? Lower the market value of their asset? If other teams know you’re selling, they’ll buy low. At least that’s what smart people would do, and most people who have seven figure salaries are fairly smart people.

    “As far as Earl Clark is concerned, he’s currently playing in basically the same system as he did in Phoenix, so as far as coaching differences are concerned, the similarily of coaching styles and systems between D’Antoni and Gentry precludes the suggestion that it’s somehow Gentry’s fault for not properly utilizing Clark.”

    Playing in the same system and fulfilling the same role are completely different stories. For instance, Steve Nash is playing in the same system he’s played in for the past decade, but his role is extremely different. Surely even you can’t deny that Earl Clark’s responsibilities and freedoms are far different than they were in Phoenix (either that, or he has simply gotten smarter and stopped taking awful shots).

    “a critical reason for Clark’s sudden improvement is that he gets to play with Nash, Kobe, and Howard, thereby not considered a focal point for the opposition to guard against.”

    I was unaware that Clark was a focal point of the offense when he was in Phoenix. Thanks for pointing that out.

    “With the Rockets, there were no serious expectations of [Dragic].”

    He was the best player and the catalyst of a team in the middle of a playoff race. NBD.

    Seriously, I commend you. 443 words, completely dry. I bet you didn’t even crack a smile when you were typing that. I wish I had that kind of poker face.

  • Cam


    I disagree on your Dragic/Rockets statement. He may have been the catalyst of that team in the midst of their playoff run, but he was not the best player on that team. Even though Lowry was out, the Rockets still had Courtney Lee, Kevin Martin, and Luis Scola. Like Tony stated, there were no expectations on him. His only job was to facilitate and get those players the ball. Thus he was able to play with less pressure, and thus more freely. I am a Dragic fan but sometimes it seems like he is trying to hard, forcing things, because the pressure is on for him to produce. Go Suns.

  • john


    Here’s a glance at a couple of numbers of those players you said were better than Dragic from last season.

    Courtney Lee – 12.6 PER, 0.087 WS/48
    Kevin Martin – 16.5 PER, 0.125 WS/48
    Luis Scola – 15.4 PER, 0.080 WS/48

    Dragic (and I’ll even count the WHOLE season, not just the part when he was playing out of his mind) – 18.0 PER, 0.139 WS/48

    Are you sure Goran wasn’t the best player on that team?

  • Ty-Sun

    Lol… as just another point of view…

    We all just offer our opinions here.

    Opinions are never right or wrong. It’s only after opinions become decisions that they can be judged as right or wrong.

    My opinion often differs with other posters here but the odds are that we are sometimes BOTH wrong.

    All I and everyone else here can probably agree on is that we all want a winning team that can bring an NBA championship to Phoenix.

    How we eventually get there is very much still up to debate. That’s why sites like this exist. :)

  • Cam

    I don’t think he was the focal point, nor do I think he was the player teams focused on stopping. In my opinion, teams didn’t come into games against saying, “if we can just stop Goran, we can win”. I think teams this year, although they may not believe stopping Goran will net them a win, are focusing on stopping him, Gortat, and Scola. Without a legitimate scorer on the team, by stopping them, you stop the team as a whole.

    On another note. I know that many of us have been disappointed with Goran so far this year but here are his number right now v. Deron Williams: 14.1 ppg, 6.1 apg, 2.9 rpg, 17.44 per v. 16.8 ppg, 7.7 apg, 3.2 rpg, 18.34 per. Goran has a better shooting percentage, they are even money on threes, and his FT numbers are a little lower. Goran is making 10 million less/year. I will take those numbers any day from a PG at that price. If The Suns get a legit scorer and Goran can find a way to put up a 15ppg, 9apg, with a per of 18 over his contract I would say the Suns got great value. I think we are all just spoiled because we have been blessed with the chance to watch one of the greatest point guards to ever play and Dragic has been stuck being compared to him since day one of signing his contract with the Suns.

  • Cam

    Go Suns.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Gortat has better stats than:
    Robin Lopez

    similar stats to:
    Garnett (less points, but more rebounds and blocks)
    Marc Gasol

    and worse stats than:
    Brook Lopez

    In other words, he is much better than 14 starting centers in this league, is at the same level as 8 starting centers and only worse than 7 starting centers.

    Gortat is a top 10 center in this league.

    Plus, many of those who statswise are in front of him are better on one category only: scored points. Looking at Gortat’s FG% it becomes clear that he could put up these numbers as well if Phx used him as a scorer more often.

    Gortat remains one of the best rebounding and shotblocking centers in the NBA. And that’s what you would trade away for a second round pick? Do you really think that a second rounder could put up these numbers? Come on, let’s be serious. Even our first rounders here in Phoenix are far away from that.

  • Forever is2long

    John, you questioned my source that the Suns could get a lottery pick last summer for Gortat. two things I base that statement on, one they got a 1st round pick for restricted free agent Robin Lopez and most importantly two, Babby or Blanks commented I believe right after the 2012 draft the Suns had the opportunity to move into the top ten lottery picks but chose not to. The only player in my mind that could have gotten them a top ten pick was Gortat.

    Sillimarillion I absolutely agree with you that Gortat will easily get you a better 1st round pick than the Suns got for Lopez. I have no idea how John thinks the Suns would get more for Lopez than they would receive for Gortat.

    As for Earl Clark, I definitely agree with Tony he has matured as a person and a player. I think when you draft someone 6’10″ who is athletic, can defend the perimeter very well and has good ball handling skills, you have to be really patient before essentially labeling him a bust and shipping him out. While I also think he is benefitting from the attention Kobe and the gang gets, he is playing because he can defend the perimeter which the Lakers badly need. Now his confidence is growing and he looks like a totally different player.

    Either way, when you consider the Suns were going no where fast, they should have exhibited extra patience with Clark and Lopez. Now they are both playing better elsewhere and the Suns may soon be without a young promising center. Shame on the Suns.

  • Luka

    I wouldn’t mind keeping Gortat around. But in typical Suns fashion, they lowballed him on a contract extension. To even offer him an extension this early into the game just speaks to how stupid this front office is.

    If I’m the Suns I’d look to make a draft day trade to move up. They will likely get the 4th or 5th pick by default. They’ll also likely get the 12th pick if LA fails to make the playoffs.

    There’s a good chance the Suns can package Gortat, Marshall, Morris and their 12th pick to a team like the Bobcats for their #3 pick. Charlotte can kick us back Brendan Haywood so at least the Suns have a back-up C available.

    Then I’d use that third pick for Shabazz Muhammad. Use the 5th pick to draft Nerlens Noel if he’s available.

    Use a medical waiver on Channing Frye.

    Then with the remaining cap space go and sign Paul Millsap, and Tony Allen.

    Then hire Nate McMillan as head coach.

  • john


    Without any actual numbers, I have no idea how you’re coming to those conclusions.

    Among NBA centers, Gortat is 26th in PER and 36th in WS/48. Do you have some different numbers you’re looking at?


    So, you don’t have a source. It’s pure conjecture.

    Your conjecture might be right. You should just qualify your statements to avoid confusion.

    And, by the way, saying that the Suns must be able to get a first-rounder for Gortat because they got a first-rounder for Lopez is fallacious. Again, it might be TRUE, but logic and truth are often different things.

    And lastly, but certainly not least, Robin Lopez is outplaying Gortat this year, PLUS, he was worth a lottery protected pick, which gives virtually no more surety of success than a second-rounder. Picks in the 30-45 range yield almost identical results as far as “success” to those in the 15-30 range in any given year.

    If you guys want to say Gortat could net a lottery-protected first round pick, I’m not going to say you’re crazy. Someone might go for that. But it’s only marginally better than a 2nd round pick (if at all), and that type of a deal still isn’t going to turn any heads.

    My point isn’t that no GM in the world would offer a first round pick for Gortat. My point is that Gortat is not a blue chip headliner of a blockbuster deal. In a 1 for 1 deal, you’re probably not going to do better than a lottery-protected first round pick, and if you do, you’d better jump on that deal in a heartbeat.

  • Forever is2long

    John, I told you it was either Babby or Blanks, i just do not remember which one. I believe it was written in a Paul Coro article as 99% of the articles I read on the Suns were written by him. I cannot be much more specific than that and that is far more than conjecture.
    My point is I absolutely guarantee you Gortat will net the Suns a 1st round pick and it would have been a better 1st round pick last summer after he had just played with Nash but the Suns chose not to trade him. And yes the prior summer there were articles of the Suns trading Gortat to Minnesota for the number 2 pick in the draft.

    While Lopez is playing well this summer, last summer Gortat had the numbers and was a hotter commodity. In fact only New Orleans wanted to trade for Lopez. I have always wanted the Suns to keep Lopez and trade Gortat which is why I recall so much about both players.

  • azbballfan

    Yeah its kind of amazing that guy in babby that was a agent for like 30 years would go ahead and lowball nash and gortat when babby became a GM or director of player personnel or whatever

    I dont think the Suns can be the Mavs and get a title with Trades, and trades, and some free agent signings

    The Front Office has a better chance to win if they lower the expectations and actually develop their own people

    unless aarver and the front office want the Suns to become a farm team for the rest of the league

    if the Suns keep losing they will have a shot at the highest pick they have had since 1987

    We got the 2nd pick and took Armen Gilliam

    the only other time we had a pick near that was when we drafted Loul Deng at #7 then traded him to Chicago for nothing

  • Jeff from Jersey

    i feel i have a unique perspective on some of the struggles Beasley is going through. for the last few years i have been a habitual smoker of marijuana but recently i have given up the habit. i play basketball just about everyday and participate in a league, and since i have quit, my game has become quite stagnant. i find myself overthinking rather than letting the game come to me, and often even stumbling on attempted drives rather than my usual smooth motions to the hoop. my jump shot is also not as good as it usually is and it is really getting to me as i am used to being able to carry my team scoring wise. now even when i smoked, i never did it before a game, rather the night before. but i think the overall relaxing tendencies given off by it is really negatively affecting my game.

  • Jeff from Jersey

    *correction*But i think missing the overall relaxing tendencies given off by it is really negatively affecting my game.

  • DBreezy

    Should be an interesting couple of weeks as I’ve never seen a team this bad record wise at the midway point, have a front office still think they can get into the playoff race without something like prior injuries or coaching changes giving the hope. Yet listening to Gentr y’s comments to Bright Side,it seems that’s how they feel.

    Sarver needs to have a pow wow the troops and after collages are done, he needs to make it clear what he wants. Otherwise the trade deadline might be a disaster and the front office may be in complete transition ahead of the the draft and free agency, which can’t give anyone a warm and fuzzy. I expect the search to to take as long as the ones for Babby, Blanks, Porter and Turner possibly longer as the team is in worse shape now. Perhaps they’ll find someone who isn’t impressed with himself because he got a RFA to take money in order to get themselves the best deal.

  • Tony

    It’s apparent that John has acquired the title of “Knucklehead,” replacing Steve, whom was the long-time receipient of this distinguished honor.

    Now let’s take a glance at John’s assertions, which have about as much validity to them as Babby promising promising to extend a Suns player’s contract.

    Firstly, regarding Dragic, no he was not the Rockets best player last season and no, he was not the main focus of opposing teams’ gameplans. It’s hilarious how you resort to listing only those selective statistics to bolster your claims, even though the majority of Dragic’s stats were far less worthy of grand appreciation. For instance, last season he only shot 46% overall, only 33% from 3-point distance, and only started in 28 games with a season total average of about 26.5mpg.

    Next on the list conerns Gortat and his status with the team. I concede to you that anyone is potentially tradeable, that is, unless they are marked as untouchable. But that doesn’t mean every player is being aggressively shopped around the league by their respective front offices in an effort to trade them. In fact, during the tail-end of last season, I believe it was Blanks whom, when asked about trading Gortat, said that they were not looking to trade the franchise’s first legitimate big. Last season Gortat averaged a double-double, (14.5ppg and 10rpg). Do you really believe that had Babby and Blanks pursued trading him last season that there would have been no offers from teams’ willing to give up draft picks to get someone of his value at his reasonable contract?

    Lastly, Earl Clark was drafted by Kerr with the Suns 14th pick and came to the team with the expectation that he would be the team’s next Shawn Marion. He was wonder pressure to prove that he could fill that role, but obviously failed at doing so.

    Coming into this season, Clark was an after-thought, with no expectations whatsoever. Playing with Nash, Kobe, and Howard, along with the lack of any pressure or expectations of him and his natural development as a person and player are all critical reasons for his recent success.

    Anyway, I don’t have anymore time right now to argue with you John. Just take solace in the fact that a broken clock is right twice a day. I’m sure one of these days you’ll be right about something…..

  • john


    I think it’s great that you go through so much effort to bring a smile to my face. Laughs are often the best medicine. Let’s recap:

    “no he was not the Rockets best player last season” – So, I have the two best and most widely accepted metrics for overall player efficiency agreeing with me, and you have… nothing.

    “when asked about trading Gortat, said that they were not looking to trade the franchise’s first legitimate big.” – So, you would rather have them say, “Hey everyone, we’re looking to ship out our whole team. Everyone is on the table. Make an offer for Gortat. We don’t really plan on keeping him.” Yeah, because that will bring in the big offers. If you want a good return for your players, just make sure that EVERYONE knows you don’t want them any more. *belly laugh*

    “Do you really believe that had Babby and Blanks pursued trading him last season that there would have been no offers from teams’ willing to give up draft picks to get someone of his value at his reasonable contract?” – If I had to guess, I’d say the Suns wanted multiple first-rounders at the minimum and didn’t get it, but what’s the point in guessing? You’ve got the guessing front covered.

    “Lastly, Earl Clark was drafted by Kerr with the Suns 14th pick and came to the team with the expectation that he would be the team’s next Shawn Marion.” – I’m failing to see any empirical evidence or objectivity in your statements. This made me grin though.

    “Playing with Nash, Kobe, and Howard, along with the lack of any pressure or expectations of him and his natural development as a person and player are all critical reasons for his recent success.” – Not to mention the fact that he isn’t jacking up bad shots any more. That could play a part as well. *uncontrollable laughter*


    Ah, I see. I must have missed that reference the first time I read your post. I’m still a little skeptical that any of this reached any deep stages of development.

    For instance, after googling “Gortat trade second pick Minnesota,” I got zero results on the first page that actually had anything to do with the scenario you mentioned (Gortat to Minny for D-Will). As I remember, Nash was involved in those discussions, but I never remember Gortat’s name being thrown around (just as an FYI, if you replace “Gortat” with “Nash” in my search, you get relevant results, confirming my suspicions).

    Regardless, 2011 is 2011. Marcin doesn’t have the same perceived value he had then. He was on the upswing then, poised for a major boost in production with 4 years remaining on a favorable deal. Now he’s on the downswing, he’s pouty, his offensive and defensive efficiency is suspect, just barely above average, and his deal isn’t quite so sweet. 1.5 years of Marcin is all you would get on his current deal, and you know he wants a big payday at the end of it and probably doesn’t deserve it.

    I think it’s safe to say things have changed for the worse as far as his trade value is concerned. And again, I think the lack of rumors surrounding him support my thoughts. If people wanted him, you’d be hearing about it. If nobody wants him, what motivation would anyone have to offer more than a second round pick?

    I don’t think we’re that far off from each other on what we think Marcin’s worth is, in the end. You say mid first-rounder, I say early second-rounder. Either way, I think we both agree he isn’t worth a whole lot on the trading block.

  • cdubbb

    Everybody calm down…. Ive got it figured out

    Gortat and Johnson to OKC for Lamb, and Perkins.

    Thats just the foundation of the deal. Now with Babbys silver tongue, he may be able to get a draft pick thrown in, or convince Thunder that they should throw in Nick Collison as well.

    Its a no brainer Gortat would help them alot more then Perkins does. With Gortat they actually have a legit chance at beating Miami in the finals.

    Gortat is def one of the top 10 Centers in the league by almost every measure.