3-on-3: Good or bad, Lon Babby’s extension shows Suns will see process through


Lon Babby received a two-year contract extension on Tuesday as Suns owner Robert Sarver gave the go-ahead for Babby and front-office mate Lance Blanks to see their rebuilding process through. While the unscientific analysis of fan reaction to the move appears to be hedging aggressively toward the negative side, I hosted a three-on-three of VotS writers Michael Schwartz, Dave Dulberg and Ryan Weisert to understand their opinions on the decision.

What was your initial reaction to the news of Lon Babby’s extension?

Dave Dulberg: I wasn’t terribly surprised. That’s not to say I liked the move, but Robert Sarver has never really shied way from supporting Babby’s decisions. Also this is not an organization that loves to admit the err of its ways. Letting Babby’s contract run out would basically imply that Sarver thought his three-year tenure was a failure. Whether it has or hasn’t been can be debated, but Sarver is never going to indict himself.

Michael Schwartz: In essence all sports executives work on one-day contracts due to the impatient nature of the business, but to me this extension signaled that Sarver is willing to stay the course and let Babby build the Suns brick by brick rather than feeling the need to make panic trades for veterans to win immediately (cough, cough, Dayton Moore of the Royals). I also feel this was a case of Sarver favoring process over results as although the Suns’ record isn’t where they want it, clearly the owner is on board with Babby’s overall rebuilding plan.

Ryan Weisert: The contract was a year too long. The Suns were right to keep Babby on, but he hasn’t earned a two-year deal. Babby has struggled in his two offseasons. In 2011, he displayed patience and self-restraint by not giving out any bad contracts, but he didn’t build toward the future at all. And 2012 was a mixed bag. Dragic was a quality signing. Scola was a great bargain. But Babby struck out with Michael Beasley and Wes Johnson. Babby may be the man to get Phoenix back on track, but he hasn’t proven that yet.

Do you believe that allowing the front office to see the rebuilding process through is more important than scrapping a front office duo whose decisions — from our perspective — haven’t gone as planned?

Dulberg: From the organization’s perspective I get it. Sports is often a reactionary industry, and the Suns are opting to instead go with a patient approach. From an outsider’s perspective, I’m not convinced Babby or Lance Blanks deserves any more blind faith. This year’s team was theirs. They believed in it. They thought there were pieces to compete for a playoff spot. Suddenly when things went downhill it became a “rebuilding” year. The league is cyclical, sure. However, this rebuilding process is in part because of poor personnel decisions.

Schwartz: Well, not all of them have gone as planned, but did anybody think the Suns would be good immediately post-Nash? I think Babby has pushed the Suns to finally depart the treadmill of mediocrity and rebuild the right way. Babby’s tenure has been building toward this offseason or the next to make that signature move, so I’d rather see the Suns continue on that path than start anew before a critical offseason like they did in 2010.

Weisert: Of course. Dumping the front office now would be a huge mistake. Don’t get me wrong, at this moment the Suns are very bad at winning basketball games. Their record and the general malaise hanging over the franchise are hardly reasons to reward the front office. But the Suns are not destitute. They have tradable assets, draft picks, and most importantly cap room. Babby and Blanks, despite their missteps, did accumulate these assets. Sarver is betting that if they were smart enough to acquire these pieces, they’ll be smart enough to use them properly and return the Suns to their former glory.

What specifically is Lon Babby’s legacy hinging upon as we look to this offseason and beyond?

Dulberg: Now that the Suns are supposedly starting the rebuilding process, he and Lance Blanks need to prove that they have an eye for talent. Those 10 picks over the next three years will define his legacy. The team still isn’t quite sure what it has in its last two first-round picks, but at some point that’s just not good enough. He’s getting a second chance in my mind — those 10 picks are his opportunity not to blow it.

Schwartz: Whether he can land this franchise’s next star. There have been mistakes made along the way, sure, but I feel Babby has done his job in clearing the deck and getting the Suns to ground zero, as painful of a place as that is. Now the question centers around whether he can acquire the kind of frontline talent it takes to be competitive in the NBA. If he does, whether it’s through the draft or a trade, he will leave behind a positive legacy.

Weisert: The draft. Every GM save for Sam Presti has signed or traded for a bad contract. Even R.C. Buford once acquired Richard Jefferson. Babby can be forgiven for some of the terrible contracts he’s given out. But he’s struck out in the two drafts he’s overseen. The list of potential future All-Stars picked after the Morris twins in 2011 is quite long. And Kendall Marshall seems like a wasted pick considering the Suns inked Goran Dragic a month later. The top-five pick the Suns will likely have this June is Babby’s chance to redeem himself and the end the Suns’ decade of draft impotence.

  • Forever is2long

    Kevin, Good article. The interviewees seemed to hedge their opinions between the organization’s perspective and strictly from an outsider’s viewpoint, which I can respect. I do agree with Weisert that the Suns have wasted their last two first round picks which is consistent with Dulberg who indicates he is not convinced Babby and Blanks deserve any more blind faith.

    To the credit of the front office they have acquired decent assets in the form of draft picks. We are going to trust Babby and Blanks to make proper use of the picks when we know who they recently drafted, two guys who are probably permanent reserves. They keep Gortat and trade considerably younger Lopez when both of them as starters are similarly productive with both averaging 11 points a game this season with similar blocks/ Gortat is averaging 3 more rebounds a game. We also traded Earl Clark under Babby’s watch who has played well for the Lakers this season and was a starter for about 20 games. He played exceptional defense on Dirk last night.

    I am more closely aligned with Dulberg in that I too am not convinced Babby deserves any more blind faith. We draft two guys who will likely never be relied on to be everyday starters and we trade two young guys who have shown they can be everyday starters. A more aggressive President of Basketball Operations would have traded Gortat last summer and kept the younger Lopez.

    Some people reference the last three seasons as a transition period while others want to see it as the start of a rebuild process. In my opinion it does not matter what label you place on it as today the Suns are probably the least talented team in the NBA and someone should be accountable for that, not rewarded with an extension.

    Thanks for the article.

  • Scott

    Keep in mind with the Markieff pick, the Suns were not yet in rebuilding mode, and they were looking for a player who was already mature, who had an NBA body, and was not a project in need of development. They wanted a guy at PF who could come in right away, spread the floor like Frye, defend, and rebound. Unfortunately, Markieff’s shooting has been awful since he joined the Suns. If he was confidently nailing his shots from all over and pulling down 11 rpg like he did in college, this pick would seem a lot less wasted.

    As for Marshall, the Suns picked him because they had by that time already decided to drop Nash but had no one else at PG except Telfair. Having dealt away Dragic and Barbosa, and having utterly failed at finding other PG or combo guard solutions over the years, the Suns decided to pick up Marshall. It was only after they had him that they found they could also sign Dragic. Remember, Dragic was widely expected to re-sign with Houston, and it surprised everybody that he came back to the Suns … and for less money than Houston was offering, to boot.

    Having said all that, it should be noted that the Suns were backed into making these draft picks because they’d done such a terrible job in free agency the last several years. If they had wanted Beasley, they could have picked him up cheap when Miami was trying to unload him at firesale prices. Instead, they picked Warrick and Turkoglu. For that matter, they could have picked up Al Jefferson cheap, when Minnesota wanted to unload him. JJ Hickson and others have been available as well.

    The Suns under Blanks and Babby have done a horrible job in free agency and compounded that with their draft choices. Unless the plan really is to fail for years, like the Clippers did, Sarver is muy loco to stick with the “process,” because Bill and Ted would do a more excellent job than these guys.

  • Scott

    Pretend I’ve edited the above to say, “because they’d done such a terrible job in *trades* and free agency.”

    The only good thing they’ve done in trade so far is to get rid of Turkoglu and get Gortat, and I’m beginning to wonder if that was entirely accidental … just luck.

    The only good thing they’ve done in free agency is to re-sign Dragic.

    As for Wes Johnson … the Suns should probably have kept Lopez, got rid of Gentry earlier, and picked up Wes Johnson after his contract with the Wolves expired.

    As for Warrick, he could have just been given to the Bobcats, which is what I mentioned on this board and which is what the Hornets did after they got him. (Warrick has since been cut by the Cats.)

    And as for Mayo … it was clear Memphis wanted to unload him while he was still on his rookie contract. The Suns, needing a scoring combo guard, should have picked up Mayo way back when instead of signing Shannon Brown.

  • mileHighfan

    “We draft two guys who will likely never be relied on to be everyday starters and we trade two young guys who have shown they can be everyday starters”

    Forever,

    In Marshall’s deal, Dragic signed with Phx with the promise of a starting job, which is what he wanted more than anything. A-n-d…lets not forget they gave up a 1st rd pick to HOU for him. I say they almost had to honor that.

    So as for Marshall not starting, I give the Suns credit for going after Dragic, he is a better PG. But if one compares Marshall to other draftees from 2012, majority of whom also arent starting, due to D-league dismissals or injury, or having to backup a good PG already.

    Just glad we dont have Austin Rivers who lost his starting job and suffered a broken bone, Jeremy Lamb seems more like a D-league lifer than an nba star, or Im glad Marshall doesnt have an anxiety disorder like the Royce White dude.

    Hes not the sexy pick everyone wanted thru no fault of his own, but hes been injury free for the most part, and with Gentry’s struggles as coach, any coach would want to stick with Dragic anyway.

    And Slowpez is only starting becuz look who they have on their roster. If memory serves me correctly, he also wanted to be a starter, and he gets to on a lowly team. Sure hes posted good stats against teams who have their starting center out who lack a serious post game themselves. Still glad hes gone.

  • john

    I agree about the mindset the Suns were in when they took Markieff. They wanted another stretch 4 (which I think is a TERRIBLE idea, btw) to go along with the Nash system. Two guys I had on my board that were *easily* ranked ahead of either Morris (and especially Markieff) were Kawhi Leonard and Kenneth “All I Do Is Dunk” Faried. I know very little about college basketball, but that was an easy call.

    This draft, this offseason. That’s where I would make my judgment. If things are still a mess with little upside at the end of next season, I’d cut Blanks loose and pay Babby to leave.

  • Tony

    “Well, not all of them have gone as planned, but did anybody think the Suns would be good immediately post-Nash?.” Excuse me Michael…, did Babby not say at the start of this season that the Suns 2012-2013 roster was more talented than last season’s?? Apparently you must have forgotten this bit of news. Moreover, there actions speak louder than words. By signing Scola and O’Neal, it’s reasonable to infer the Three Stooges led by Chief Stooge Sarver believed this roster would compete for the playoffs.

    Now, every national NBA analyst predicted the Suns to be among the worst teams in the NBA; but, the local media, including certain writers on VOTS, believed otherwise-that they would compete for the playoffs.
    I don’t know what’s wrong with the Phoenix sports media, but there is no reasonable justification for believing that extending Blabby Babby’s contract was good for the prospects of the Suns future.

    Essentially, you guys must believe that failure should be rewarded by more failure. This season’s team is the worst Suns team in 40+ YEARS!! As I said previously, Lon Babby was quoted as saying this season’s team was more talented than last season’s! Unlike the Lakers, who’s failed expectations were mostly the result of injuries to critical players, the Suns didn’t have any major injuries to key players through most of the season. They were already in last place in the western conference when Gortat was injured, so that doesn’t really count.

  • Ty-Sun

    John makes a good point about why the Suns picked Morris in the draft. They were, at that time, looking for the best player to fit in the Nash driven offensive system which wasn’t necessarily the best player overall. I think that was also the problem with some of their past FA decisions.

    With Nash and Gentry also gone, it will be at least interesting to see the direction of this team next season. When Hunter took over, he really had little choice but to take Gentry’s system and just try to tweek and tinker with it, the lineups and rotations. Under the circumstances, I doubt Hunter was prepared to do anything else. With a full off-season and training camp to work with, Hunter will have time to devise and install his own system (if they decide to retain him as head coach).

    The FO has a lot to prove to Suns fans. I truly hope that they can surprise me and finally get it right but I’m not optimistic.

  • Tony

    “I agree about the mindset the Suns were in when they took Markieff. They wanted another stretch 4 (which I think is a TERRIBLE idea, btw) to go along with the Nash system.”

    Another ignorant comment from an ignoramus! This is not the pre-2000s NBA. Most of today’s pfs are stretch fours. Gone are the days in which the pf position was defined by strength and ability to score in the post. The same goes for the five as well.

  • Tony

    @Ty-Sun,

    no, John’s point is not a good point at all. It would be a valid point of yesterday’s NBA, but as of now, most starting pfs are multidimensional in that they can shoot from range, not just score in the post. The NBA is a faster game than it used to be, and good floor-spacing offensively is more critical today than in the past. The most obvious example of how much the NBA has changed is demonstrated by the two NBA Finals Teams of last season. Neither had, and still don’t have, dominant post players. Bosh and Ibaka have the ability to stretch the floor and create spacing for James/Wade and for Westbrook/Durant respectively, and that is one of the reasons why those teams are so effective.

  • john

    Guys who are not (or not ONLY) stretch 4′s, listed by PER (highest to lowest):

    Tim Duncan
    Blake Griffin
    Amar’e Stoudemire
    Anthony Davis
    Paul Millsap
    LaMarcus Aldridge
    David West
    Dirk Nowitzki (this is the FIRST player on this list who could qualify as a “stretch” 4, but Dirk does the vast majority of his scoring from 16 feet and in, so he also counts as a non-stretch, in my book)
    David Lee
    *Ryan Anderson* (the first true stretch 4 on the list coming in at number 10)
    Serge Ibaka
    Kevin Love (falls somewhat into the Dirk category. Most of his attempts are at the rim, but once you get beyond the rim, his shot selection is mostly 23 feet and beyond)
    Zach Randolph
    Ed Davis
    Carl Landry
    Marreese Speights
    Derrick Favors
    Amir Johnson
    Carlos Boozer
    Kyle O’Quinn
    John Henson
    Jason Smith
    Luis Scola
    Greg Smith
    Tyler Hansbrough
    Tristan Thompson
    Patrick Patterson (you might count him as a stretch 4 if you wish, but he’s attempting 1.6 3′s per game in about 22 minutes. He’s a jump shooter, for sure, but I wouldn’t lean toward calling him a “stretch” 4. Just to give you the benefit of the doubt, I’ll count him as a pure stretch 4)
    Pau Gasol
    Andrew Nicholson
    Elton Brand
    Antawn Jamison
    Chris Wilcox
    Chris Andersen
    Glen Davis

    That’s every PF in the NBA with a PER over 15. There are 34 names total on that list. Of those 34, two were dedicated “stretch” 4′s (including Patrick Patterson, which, let’s be honest, is very generous), two were hybrids, and 30 were traditional 4′s.

    I don’t know why you have to resort to insults, but at least let’s be factual. The 4 position in the NBA is still VERY much a power position. If a 4 can’t score in the post, I don’t want him.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Tony,

    MY point was that the Suns were making bad decisions based on trying to draft, trade for and/or sign FAs based on which was the best available player to fit into the Nash driven system. Period.

    I have no argument with your points about today’s game and how it differs from the past.

  • john

    Btw, in case you forget why I posted that, here is your comment:

    “Most of today’s pfs are stretch fours.”

    MOST.

    Also, here are a couple more excerpts I want to say something about:

    “This is not the pre-2000s NBA.”
    “The most obvious example of how much the NBA has changed is demonstrated by the two NBA Finals Teams of last season.”

    1. Michael Jordan won 6 championships in the ’90s with no dominant post scorer.

    2. The majority of NBA championships from 2000-2010 were won by teams with dominant post scorers as the main catalyst for that championship.

    The truth is that dominant players are what leads to rings no matter what the position.

  • Forever is2long

    MileHigh, I think you are confused. The Suns gave up a first round pick to convince Houston to take Dragic off our hands and in return we got Brooks. We signed Dragic as a free agent this past summer. Are you suggesting we gave Houston another 1st round pick last summer?

    As for Lopez, do not take my word for it but do your own research. The last time Lopez played against Marc Gasol (a few weeks ago) he recorded a double double which I think included 23 points. He also had a double double against Dwight Howard post the allstar break. So much for the opponents not having a good center. You just can’t ramble Sammi, you have to have some substance to support your contentions.

  • Forever is2long

    Look Gang, I do not know why the Suns took Morris but choosing him because he complimented a 37 year old point guard when the team was no where near being a championship contender, just makes no sense. Maybe it was their thinking but it defies logic that a decent GM would make a decision like that. We were a bad team with a very old point guard and we drafted someone to compliment that. Maybe but that is not flattering to those who made that call.

    We can question motivation or logic behind certain moves but like I said above, we have the most talent restricted roster in the NBA and someone should be accountable for that.

  • mileHighfan

    Forever,

    Some things never change with you. Since youre starting it, how does an old guy like you still get personal on these forums? Dont answer, I’ll take somewhat of a middle road this time.

    No confusion about the 1st rd pick, I put two separate thoughts into one sentence there trying to highlight the surrender of the 1st rd pick as a mistake involving Dragic. that was supposed to make mgt look bad. Sorry for being inarticulate.

    So you only post the two games where Slowpez had double doubles, which are nearly a good month apart? Where are the rest of the games in between? I wouldnt highlight his low games that illustrate his inconsistency either. Besides, that Lakers game that you are so giddy about, like a teenager who just got asked to prom for the first time….Monty Williams sat Davis so Slowpez had mop up duty, Dwight still tore it up in the majority of the game though.

    But I agree that Dwight is still a good center, when healthy, so is Marc Gasol.

  • Forever is2long

    Sammi,
    Did I attack you personally? How? You cannot be so sensitive. Because I corrected you on your assertions and asked you not to ramble, you thought I was attacking you personally? Did I say something about your weight, age, being ugly or anything like that? Come on MileHi, stay with the script.

  • mileHighfan

    Forever,

    For a simple bball discussion, you sure can talk down to people. First you say Im confused for replying to your comment, then you say Im rambling, my comments have no substance, and now Im sensitive? Presumptuous much?

    You did not correct any assertions, all I see is you throwing shade over a couple negative Slowpez comments and acting high & mighty over it.

    I find plenty of hilarity in your ridiculous behavior old man. Good example of how not to act when one starts fossilizing. I dont like Slowpez, dont take it so personally and you’ll be fine.

  • foreveris2long

    MileHi, I am fine with or without you. Get a life.

  • Rich Anthony

    You guys are kind of twisted now. We all know that Nash’s final 2 seasons here, the Suns did everything they could to acquire players that could work in a Nash-driven system. They would have NEVER picked Leonard or Manimal. They didn’t have a role in that offense. The Suns were not drafting the best talent available. They were trying to find parts for the Nash machine.

    Can we stop acting like we’ve forgotten about that?

    Nobody should still have a problem with this season. This season was planned, and executed beautifully. It’s “REBUILD 101″ – I’ve been waiting on it since Amare left.

    - eradicate everything that has ties to the Nash-driven system.
    - keep, and acquire non-cap damaging contracts that can either be banished of traded from the team once the season ends, (Scola, Wes, Brown, Dudley, Garret, Haddadi, Morris twins, ETC)
    - experiment with the youth on small contracts and evaluate who could retained and play a role moving forward, (in effect since the all-star break)
    - acquire at least one stud this year, to start rebuild with, (DRAGON)
    - acquire as many draft picks as possible for the next few years, (done)
    - ensure at least one top-5 draft pick this off-season, (done-just-about)

    The demolition and reconstruction of a foundation to build from will be finalized once this season ends; then we get to see how the FO plans to begin stage 2.

    They’ve got to nail it. They’ve nailed year 1 of the rebuild process. Ill give them a bit of leash.

    The only real mistake was Beasley. That one was very annoying. He’s bad. Has been bad. Oh well.

    I dont mind the Marshal pick. He tweets too much about stupid stuff, but I’m cool giving him a chance to develop in PHX. He needs freaky athletes to run with and I believe they’re on the way. He also needs more experience. Let him have it.

    Lets put the pitch forks away until after the draft.

    They better nail the damned draft.

  • mileHighfan

    Forever,

    I got a life thanks. You act stupid, you know it. take your geritol and relax for once.

    I was talking basketball the whole time. Stay with the script, theres no need to start the mean spiritedness, which I am very good at. Your welcome!

  • foreveris2long

    I love you Sammi, is that better? I am not sure the basis for the age reference but if it makes you feel better, roll with it. I am not mad at you. We are on the same team.

  • foreveris2long

    Rich, Let’s assume for the moment the Suns were trying to build around Nash and deliberately passed on better players who did not fit the Nash system. Building around a 37 year old point guard to the detriment of the team’s future when the team was going no where fast with or without Nash, is something most NBA teams would not do. Take for example the Lakers who I hate, went and got Dwight Howard who is not a Nash type player because their future with Howard trumped their present even with Nash on board. If they were not going to have a good year, they got a young superstar in the fold whether he was going to be good with Nash or not.

    So while that may have been the Suns thinking, it was a really bad move to try and build around Nash late in his career and deliberately pass on better young players in the draft or young talented free agents who would not be Nash type players.Needless to say if that was the plan, they failed miserably.

  • john

    @foreveris2long

    I don’t think anyone was trying to argue that it was a good move that they were trying to build around Nash with the ‘Kieff pick. I’m certainly not. However, I see very little, if any, reason to believe there was any other motive behind that pick. If they truly had ‘Kieff ahead of Kawhi and Kenneth Bernard Faried Lewis, God help us this summer.

  • foreveris2long

    I am with ya John. I simply have no idea why no one is being held accountable for those mistakes including the trading of a 1st round pick plus Dragic. Instead we reward Babby with an extension..

  • john

    I’m bummed that Tony didn’t respond. Maybe I should take the silence as a chip in his Berlin Wall of Stubbornness?

    /trolling for trolls

  • Ty-Sun

    Yep, no one said that trying to build a team around Nash after Amare left was a good idea. That’s just the way it was.

    After that great run to the WC finals, I believe that the thinking was that the team needed a suitable replacement for Stat and could at least get close to that success again. The FO (or maybe just Sarver) held on to that idea way too long. Not only was there no one even near Amare available, the FO dismantled a great bench unit that could have helped that Suns back into the playoffs even with a sub-par substitute for Amare in the starting unit. But that’s all old news.

    For two years the Suns tried to rebuild on the fly around Nash. It didn’t work. This year they started rebuilding for real. Yeah, the FO said they thought that this year’s team could make the playoffs but what else did you expect them to tell the fans? “We’re probably going to suck this year but we hope you’ll still buy tickets for the games!”

  • Forever is2long

    Ty I do not think it is only what they said, it is what they did. I think Tony is right by referencing the signing of Scola and and maybe O’Neal as being inconsistent with a team trying to rebuild. New Orleans looked like a team trying to rebuild when they let their center Kaman (I think 30 years old) walk as a free agent and signed 24 year old Lopez. The Suns kept their near 30 year old center and let the younger and cheaper one walk.

    Therefore it looks like New Orleans had a true rebuild when the Suns gave the appearance of acquiring talent to be playoff relevant and when it failed everyone wants to say this was their rebuilding year. I understand those who are buying this as a rebuild year but I am not one of them.

  • Ty-Sun

    Even rebuilding teams try to sign good talent when they can. Scola was/is a rental who the Suns would have never gone after if they couldn’t have signed him cheap because of the amnesty. O’Neal is playing for the vet’s minimum one year deal. Rebuilding teams don’t deliberately sign the worst players they can find. If they did, I would be playing for the Suns this season.

    Of course the FO hoped that this team would be better than it has been. Teams don’t have to hit rock bottom to rebuild. I’m sure there was some hope that things would come together this season and the rebuilding process would be less painful but obviously that didn’t happen. The Suns have mostly rid themselves of bad contracts, opened up cap space and are in a good position to move forward. Now it’s up to the FO to actually USE these things to make the team better. If they do, great! If they don’t, I’ll be one of the people leading the mob screaming for their heads to be stuck on pikes outside the arena.

  • Ty-Sun

    BTW, the Hornet’s probably let Kaman go because he had a history of being injury prone. That’s also one of the reasons that the Suns let Lopez go. Sure he was younger than Gortat but Gortat out played him. And Gortat just turned 29 in Feb. He’s no spring chicken but not an old man yet even by NBA standards. Right or wrong, I seem to remember that there were a LOT more people wanting to get rid of Lopez around this time last year than people wanting to trade Gortat and keep Lopez. The Suns couldn’t afford to keep both and resigning Lopez would have involved another long-term contract to a player who wasn’t suddenly going to blossom into an NBA super star. Neither is Gortat but his contract only lasts through this season. Neither of them have ever shown that they are players that a team can build around. Trading Lopez and keeping Gortat was the lesser of two evils IF the Suns’ FO is really looking toward rebuilding.

  • Tony

    @]ohn,

    “I’m bummed that Tony didn’t respond. Maybe I should take the silence as a chip in his Berlin Wall of Stubbornness.”

    Haha, clever John, I was just busy working on a legal project. With that said, sorry to disappoint you, I remain steadfastly resolute in my opinion that (1) you are a knucklehead;) ; (2) MOST of today’s pfs are stretch-fours; (3) the list of players you provided serves only to bolster my assertion and makes me wonder if we just have different definitions of what constitutes a “stretch-four”; and (4) your general opinion of Suns fans’ is entirely misguided and fails to properly distinguish the team with the actual source of our frustrations-(i.e., Suns FO).

    Now just to clarify point # 3, what is your definition of a stretch-four? I hope you do realize that shooting the 3-ball is not a necessary component of defining a stretch-four. All it means is the ability to have a multi-dimensional offensive game. In particular, at the minimum, to be able to shoot from mid-range. The benefit to having such a player on a roster is two-fold; (1) to pull the opposing big away from the paint so your ball-handler, whether it be a pg, sg, or sf, has more room to maneuver inside the paint; and (2) usually forces the opposing big to defend on the perimeter, a task many bigs are uncomfortable doing.

    Therefore, in using your list of players, the following can in fact be qualified as stretch fours: Nowitzki, Amar’e, Duncan, West, Love, Lee, Ibaka, Scola, Boozer, Ryan Anderson, Antawn Jamison, Millsap, Speights, and Randolph. Again, having the range to shoot from three is nice, but it’s not essential to having the ability to be a stretch-four. Moreover, just because a pf has the ability to play as a stretch-four does not necessarily exclude them from scoring in the post.

    Regarding point # 4, see relevant article….

    @Rich,

    you are the only one that is ‘twisted.’ Try repeating this to yourself: “Not all white people are the devil.” That may be of some help.

    Frankly, if you call adding Dudley, Childress, Morris, Shaq, and essentially replacing Amar’e with Gortat, as players that are somehow conducive to the Suns “Nash-system” then try repeating this phrase over and over to yourself: “I know virtually nothing about basketball.” The only true legitimate player that was added to fit the ‘Nash-system’ was Frye. That’s it!

  • Tony

    @Ty-Sun,

    the point you are missing is that in the two previous seasons, the FO was already in the process of shedding salary and etc., to rebuild, and urged the fans to be patient for THIS (2012-13) season. They didn’t say have patience until the 2013-14 season. There’s a reason why they didn’t-because this upcoming draft is extremely weak and there are no legitimate superstar free agents to sign. The previous off-season was the optimum time to really jump-start the rebuilding process, not the upcoming off-season.

    My point is that you should already be “one of the people leading the mob screaming for their [FO] heads to be stuck on pikes outside the arena,” because the Suns FO failed to live up to its promises for the 2012-2013 season that were made during the two-previous seasons.

  • john

    I hate to break it to you, but if you’re going to define “stretch 4″ as “A power forward with a multi-dimensional game,” those have been around for ages and ages. Basically, by your definition, you’d have to be a Dennis Rodman type of player in order to not be considered a “stretch 4.”

    Let’s just take a walk through history, shall we?

    Some notable 4′s who could do more than dunk and shoot hooks by decade:

    ’90s

    1. Barkley
    2. Malone
    3. Coleman
    4. Webber
    5. Clifford Robinson
    6. Grandmama
    7. Vin Baker
    8. Danny Manning
    9. Juwan Howard
    10. Tom Gugliota
    (I’ll cut it off at 10 simply because I know you won’t care how right I am anyways. I’m just doing this because it’s a fun trip down memory lane)

    ’80s (excluding guys already listed in another decade)

    1. McHale
    2. Worthy
    3. Nance
    4. Thorpe
    5. Perkins
    6. Bird
    7. TC
    8. Cliff Robinson
    9. Let’s throw Len Bias in the mix just because I like bringing him up
    10. Buck Williams

    ’70s (This is stretching the limits of my knowledge, so it will be my last decade for that reason and because I know you won’t care anyway)

    1. Elvin Hayes
    2. Maurice Lucas
    3. Issel
    4. Barry
    5. McAdoo
    6. Tomjanovich
    7. Sidney Wicks
    8. George McGinnis
    9. Spencer Haywood
    10. Bob Kaufman

    And just for history’s sake, let’s mention a few older guys who could ball at the 4 spot way back when

    Bob Pettit
    Dolph Schayes
    Maurice Stokes
    Bob Boozer
    Dolph Schayes
    Bailey Howell

    I don’t think you get my point, but I’m pretty sure everyone else does. When the object of the game is “put the ball in the hoop,” most players who are good enough to play the game professionally will be able to do that from a variety of places. Translation: People have been able to shoot forever in the NBA.

  • john

    Some names I can’t leave off and forgot about until Google reminded me.

    Harry Gallatin
    Tom Heinsohn
    Clyde Lovelette
    The Hawk (I consider him more of a 3, but whatever)
    Debusschere
    Elvin Hayes
    Jerry Lucas

    Btw, congratulations on being the world’s first 15-year-old lawyer. Your mom must be proud.

  • Forever is2long

    Ty, I respectfully disagree with ya on two counts. One, signing Lopez did not mean they would have to sign him to a long term deal as he only signed 3 one year contracts with New Orleans having the option to renew after each season. Therefore Lopez essentially signed a one year contract that can be renewed 3 times only if NO chooses to do so. Two Gortat’s contract is not over this summer as he is on board until next summer. Therefore Lopez would have been the lesser of the perceived two evils.

    You are right in that most of the fans on the message board wanted the Suns to keep Gortat but that is because they for the most part lacked foresight. Gortat was in a huge way a product of playing with Nash but the fans were blinded by the stats. The really good GMs can look behind the stats. If they had kept Lopez and traded Gortat they would have saver $2m this year and next if they chose to keep Lopez and he only turned 25 3 days ago..

    You can only speculate that New Orleans let Kaman walk due to injuries as opposed to his age but when you consider they signed someone 6 years younger who has a history of injuries himself in Lopez, my bet is the decision had more to do with age than injuries. It makes no sense rebuilding around a 30 year old center if it is likely going to take 3 or 4 years to become playoff relevant. While you are right 30 is not old but if your other key players are 25 or 26 and under, a 30 year old center generally would not be preferred.

    To add further fuel to the fire the Suns wanted to extend Gortat this season. Thank goodness Gortat refused. Extending a 30 year old center when you are technically trying to rebuild baffles me.

  • john

    @Forever is2long

    You can’t assume Lopez would have signed the same deal with PHX. Any man with something resembling an ego would take an offer like that as a slap in the face from a team you just spent the last few years of your life dedicating your time and effort to. He wanted to test free agency, and he found that Phoenix was right in line with 28 other NBA teams in thinking that he wasn’t worth much at all. Good for NOH that he’s turning his career around, but there’s no reason to believe that 1) he would have signed the same deal for PHX and 2) he would have played this way for PHX.

    Gortat’s game pre-Nash was not centered around the PnR, and he was very effective. He was a garbage man (essentially what Lopez is now), and he did it very well. Before Nash, Gortat was good (otherwise Dallas wouldn’t have thrown so much money at him back when he was an FA the first time around). The fact that Gortat has regressed to badly is not due to his lack of talent. It’s due to his lack of willingness to adjust to a new system and/or the team’s lack of willingness to work with his strengths. It has nothing to do with Lopez being better than Gortat or Gortat being a bad player.

    Finally, Gortat is still the more tradeable asset. He’s a more polished player and his contract is bigger (which means he will return more value, regardless of whether or not he should. Big, tradeable cap figures are a very good thing to have in today’s NBA).

    I understand the arguments for wanting to keep Lopez, but they operate under a couple of assumptions I simply can’t make. Not only that, but we still haven’t seen how this whole Gortat thing will play out. If Gortat helps the Suns land Kevin Love in a trade (long shot, yes, I know, but let’s just say something along those lines happens), I don’t think there will be a single Suns fan wishing they had kept Lopez instead.

  • john

    And I just caught that I mentioned a couple of guys more than once. Oops. I think you get the point still. :)

  • Forever is2long

    John considering he signed that deal in New Orleans, there were not a lot of teams knocking on his door and Dragic had signed with the Suns whom Lopez had played very well with and they were buddies on and off the court, it is a safe bet had the Suns indicated they were trading Gortat so Lopez could start, he would have stayed.

    I definitely disagree about Gortat’s game not being centered around the pick and roll. Nash made him look like an allstar. Yeah Dallas was attracted to him before Nash but they could only guess what they were getting. Clearly his best days as a starter were with Nash and his worst days as a starter were post Nash. I never said Gortat was a bad player and I never said Lopez was better. My only point was Lopez was younger, cheaper and in my mind Lopez has a higher upside, all which seemed to be consistent with a team rebuilding from the ground.

    As for Kevin Love , I refuse to speculate about Love leaving Minnesota to join the worst team in the Western Conference. There is no incentive for Love to do something like that.

  • john

    You refuse to speculate about Kevin Love joining the Suns but you insist on speculating that Robin Lopez would have joined the Suns…

    Yeah, that sounds fair. I can’t win this game, so I’m quitting.

  • foreveris2long

    Good idea John. Your concept defies logic. At the time of the Lopez signing the Suns were better than New Orleans. You just can’t make stuff up and ask people to speculate about it.

  • john

    “You just can’t make stuff up and ask people to speculate about it.”

    *scratches head*

    Are you really that obtuse? Was there some confusing wording in my comments?

    Let’s go through the facts.

    You made something up (that Robin Lopez would have signed with the Suns on a similar deal to the one he signed with New Orleans) and asked me to accept that speculation.

    I made something up (that the Suns might use Marcin as a trade chip to land a big fish, doesn’t have to be Kevin Love, that was just throwing any old name out there) and asked you to accept that speculation.

    So was the following rebuke meant for me or for you?

    “You just can’t make stuff up and ask people to speculate about it.”

  • foreveris2long

    John now you say it does not have to be Love. Let me make it simple for you. Do you agree Lopez would have likely stayed if the Suns had offered him a 2 year deal at $6m/yr and traded Gortat so he would be the starter?

    The confusing wording was just taking a name out of thin air and suggest he would want to come to the worst team in the Western conference. I was hopeful you would at least be credible. I guess I was expecting too much.

  • john

    Nope, I don’t believe Lopez would have signed that deal. Based on Lopez’s comments through his agent, I believe he was seeking $5M-$7M on the open market, and that was the offer he was going to accept from the Suns. No less.

    You’re saying a professional athlete would hold out for more money, get shrugged off by your own team and DARED to try the open market, fail miserably when he tried, and then come crawling back to his old team on THEIR terms? I think you’re grossly overestimating the humility of professional athletes. I think once the Suns didn’t give Robin the new deal he wanted on his terms, he was done with PHX. And honestly, that sounds far more reasonable than your alternative scenario. How often are guys allowed to hit the FA market and then sign with their previous team? If that ever happens, how often do they re-sign with the previous team at a DISCOUNT?

    Now, I admit, I’m speculating as much as you are about the Lopez situation, but let’s be honest here. Whose argument holds more water?

    “I was hopeful you would at least be credible.”

    Credible means “offering reasonable grounds for being believed.” I’m not sure if that’s what you meant to say, but here are my “reasonable grounds” for saying Marcin Gortat could be used as trade bait to land a big fish. Big trades involving mid-level guys like Marcin Gortat as one of the centerpieces are made virtually every season. If the Suns have a C like Marcin Gortat on an expiring deal, that is a much more tradeable asset than Robin Lopez on something like his NO deal (team option after each individual season). The Suns have four trade pieces that could be used as the catalyst for a blockbuster, by my count (Dragic, Dudley, Gortat, and Beasley). Keeping Gortat over Lopez allowed the Suns greater flexibility for trades than keeping Lopez would have, and since the future is all the Suns are planning for, don’t you think they should have kept their future trade options more open?

    I know which side of the Lopez fence you sit on, and there are pros and cons to each side of the argument. I’m not trying to say the Suns should have done this or the Suns should have done that. What I’m trying to do is point out the pros of the Marcin side, because you seem to be completely oblivious to them.

  • john

    And to clarify on my first paragraph, I believe that’s the offer Lopez would have signed BEFORE the Suns allowed him to hit free agency. Afterward, I think he was done with the Suns.

  • foreveris2long

    John we will agree to disagree because I cannot have a discussion with you when you wish to dream Gortat who averaged 11 points a game this season and is near 30 could net the Suns a premier power forward like Love. Yes I think Lopez could have easily stayed with the Suns when the only condition he mentioned was he wanted starter minutes. I will add I spoke to someone fairly well connected to the Suns front office who spoke with Lopez before he signed with New Orleans and it was relayed to me he did want to stay but only if he got starter minutes. He also wanted $7m/yr but indicated the minutes were more important than the money. This came to fruition when he accepted $5m/yr to play for NO.

  • john

    Ugh. Your reading comprehension skills are beyond abysmal. This will be the last time I post.

    I did no say Love for Gortat straight up. That should have been obvious. I figured you would be smart enough to know that.

    I spoke to my grandma’s cousin’s uncle who happens to be Robert Sarver’s dad. Well, he said that his nephew spoke with Robert three days before the deal went down, and Robert told him at that time that Lopez’s agent’s assistant wanted $6.5M in year 1 with max raises guaranteed for four years.

    Yippee.

  • Watty

    I read most articles and seldom comment, anyway just a few thoughts here.

    As far as a decision between keeping Lopez or Gortat I think it was a no brainer that the Suns made the right call. Most saying it was a bad call will cite that Lopez was 24 at the time Gortat what 29…..Big deal, you are talking about a 24 yr old that had not produced, and more importantly with the excuse of lost athleticism.
    Two points here, 1) Lets look at how and when he lost this athleticism, a bulging disc in the midst of a wcf run. (yeah that’s a good problem to have at that age)
    2) He lost 8″ on his vertical, and didn’t fully recover for 2 seasons, and sucked(therefore showing he does rely on athleticism). In sum, you got a 7 footer at 24 yrs old, who at the age of 22 in the midts of a wcf run gets a bulging disc. The proceeds to be next to worthless for the next two seasons. So what if he’s had even a descent year in NO. If I were a FO I would let that go for a first round pick and a flyer on a fmr lottery pick. For all we know, the training staff may have had something to do with not resigning him. Maybe some big question marks about the long term health of that back.

    Overall I will only be disappointed in this signing of Babby if he lets Blanks sign J Smoove or some other similar move that blows an opportunity to suck and land a primo pick in next years draft. I mean no number 6 seed cieling. This is a rare opportunity for this franchise to get a franchise changer through the draft.

  • Forever is2long

    John you are an idiot.

  • Forever is2long

    John One final thought I am not sure what you meant to say but where in my comments did I say Gortat for Love straight up? Please tell me where I made this comment. Finally you previously commented free agents typically do not stay with their own team. Well just last summer Jordan Hill stayed with the Lakers and Gee with Cleveland. It happens much more frequent than you suggest.

  • SkyBill40

    Not a fan of Babby’s extension, but I doubt it would make any difference if a new face occupied his position as whoever that new face might be, they’d still be taking direction from $arver. Babby is only a small part of a much larger problem that can only be resolved by the sale of the team and a thorough housecleaning.