Los Angeles Clippers 126, Phoenix Suns 101 – No fight between the whistles

Posted by on April 3rd, 10:32 pm

Lindsey Hunter got his wish. Before the Phoenix Suns’ loss to the Pacers this week, he spent a pregame media meeting talking about his personality as a player that made a career as a defensive bulldog.

“I love chippiness. I love playing with an edge,” Hunter said. “I love being on the floor thinking a fight may break out any minute. It’s kind of fun. Not a brawl, but a pushing match.”

The Suns found themselves exactly that Wednesday night — if only they had showed that much togetherness and that refusal to back down in between the whistles and not after they blew. A shoving match cropped up after the Suns had already lost control against the Los Angeles Clippers in what eventually became a 126-101 blowout in Staples Center.

Clippers center Ryan Hollins implemented a fullcourt press on a Suns inbounds pass early in the fourth but put an elbow just below Goran Dragic’s neck to push him out of position. Dragic took offense and locked into Hollins’ body, drawing a foul, then the two became further entangled as Dragic turned.

Hollins seemingly put the Suns guard in a headlock in front of a clearing Suns bench.

Hollins was ejected with a Flagrant 1 foul after the scrum dispersed, but Michael Beasley also got tagged with a trip to the locker room and a single technical foul; likely, that was for moving into the scrum after the whistle was blown.

That 30-second scrum came and went just about as suddenly as Phoenix’s effort Wednesday.

About the only thing Phoenix had going for it in the first quarter was drawing an early technical foul on Griffin, who towered purposely over a fallen Dragic. That drew a confrontation with Suns forward P.J. Tucker, who also received a technical. Meanwhile, the Suns found themselves down 15-0 just four minutes into the game. Hunter’s team, however, responded soon after the second timeout of the game with a 10-0 spurt to gain a tad bit of traction.

The Suns kept it close in the second behind Jermaine O’Neal’s instant offense against the athletic Lob City Clippers. He finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, and both he and Michael Beasley put in 10 points each in the second quarter. But the Clippers’ frontline made up for their poor defense on the other end.

Phoenix trailed 66-60 four minutes into the third quarter when the Clippers flipped the switch. They blasted the Suns with a 27-6 run over the course of seven minutes to put any thoughts of an upset out of reach. During that span, the Clippers turned nine Suns turnovers into 13 points, and DeAndre Jordan took a few lobs for 10 easy points in the quarter.

Jordan scored 20 points, the first time since Nov. 8 that he has eclipsed the 17-point mark.

Chris Paul added 15 points, 12 assists and four steals, and he thoroughly outplayed Dragic, who struggled by shooting 3-11 from the floor to go with only four assists and five turnovers. Markieff Morris reverted to his low-confidence chucking and shot 1-of-10 from the floor, and Luis Scola recorded a double-double but was a major defensive liability against the Clippers’ lobability.

Of the starters, only Wesley Johnson put in any sort of an impressive game. He scored 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, often hitting contested shots by using his athleticism and length to get off his shot with seemingly no airspace.

Beasley was efficient and engaged off the bench for 13 points and three assists. Before his trip to the locker room, he and Dragic exchanged a meaty high-five after the Suns left the scrum with Hollins. That quick moment was a sign that perhaps the only good thing to take away for Phoenix was that the Suns were still looking out for their teammates.

Still, Hunter’s pleas with his team to earn respect wasn’t answered outside of a few minutes here and another few there.

Clipper Eric Bledsoe stole a pass with no Sun in front of him with 25 seconds left in the game and tossed the ball off the backboard for an alley-oop layup. It was Los Angeles’ final points of the game — disrespectful indeed.

So Hunter got his wish for a scrum. And his team got an pricey ticket (dignity-wise at least) out of Staples Center.

Behind the numbers

The Los Angeles Clippers scored 38 points in the third quarter and never less than 28 in any period. Phoenix allowed 56 percent shooting to Vinny Del Negro’s squad, but when it wasn’t a breakdown of effort, it was 21 turnovers leading to 34 points for LA.

The Clippers only had six turnovers themselves, and they outscored Phoenix 72-32 in the paint and 25-11 in fastbreak opportunities.

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of AZDesertSwarm.com, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and Pac-12.com.

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Tags: Los Angeles Clippers · Phoenix Suns Recap

34 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DBreezy // Apr 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Heh, heh, heh, look at that S car go….

  • 2 hawki // Apr 4, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Cavs refuse to give up the 3rd spot in Draft…..they’ve lost ten in a row.

    Hope is on the Horizon…..Cavs are home to Orlando on Sunday.

  • 3 Azbballfan // Apr 4, 2013 at 1:15 am

    I love the fact beasley came over and defended dragic, and ended up getting tossed

    it was a meaningless game at that point anyway

    good for to stand up for your team mates

    if only he could channel that engery consistently

    what the heck was ryan hollins thinking?

    he should be suspended a few games for that kind of thing

    What if Dragic had gotten hurt?

    yep come on cleveland, release your death grip on the 3rd seed!

    i see the jazz lost tonight against the nuggets thats ok

    the Lakers have to finish with a better record than them, just getting a tie with the jazz aint gonna be good enough

    by the way i found out that nerlens noel now has two ACL tears in his history, the one he just had, then on the same knee when he was in highschool

    thats gotta worry teams about picking the next greg oden

    if i were the Suns i would do everythng i can to make sure that iif i get him he stays as injury free as possible

  • 4 Azbballfan // Apr 4, 2013 at 1:17 am

    oops i meant 3rd place in the lottery not the third seed

  • 5 will // Apr 4, 2013 at 4:58 am

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  • 6 foreveris2long // Apr 4, 2013 at 7:04 am

    AZBBall, good stuff. I too applauded Beasley for defending Dragic. I hate the Clippers and the Lakers but for obvious reasons I hope the Clips beat the Lakers Sunday. I did not know Noel had a previous tear on the same knee. It may be too big of a risk for the Suns. Just find a way to secure Dieng (trade Gortat) and an athletic wing who can defend.

  • 7 foreveris2long // Apr 4, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Wes Johnson continues to improve on the wing so he looks like a definite keeper this summer. A couple more athletic guys (forward/center and wing) who can defend and score will really set this rebuild in motion. Pay attention Babby, we are going to help you out at no charge.

  • 8 Voqar // Apr 4, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Yeah but as the announcer said, Wes has been scoring 15pts per game for X games and the suns are 2-13 in that stretch. So apparently the defense isn’t there. Willie freaking Green lit up the suns last night. I’d imagine Wes was supposed to be guarding him – or Butler who can barely move and also scored a bunch.

    Anyways…first time I’ve watched the Suns in ages since no matter how big a homer I am, the current product is horrid and I don’t see how this turns around with Sarver owning and the FO we have.

  • 9 john // Apr 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I’ve never understood what people want or are trying to prove when they admit to being fairweather.

    Do you just want something to whine about? Do you want a pat on the back? A cookie? We all know the Suns are bad. We all know that when a team isn’t getting support, bad things typically follow. Do you want us to be happy you have pulled support because the team is bad?

    I’ve said it so many times and I’ll say it again. I’m a native Arizonan sports fanatic who has traveled all over the country getting to know the fanbases of many professional sports organizations across the four major sports. There is no worse sports city than Phoenix, AZ. None. Everyone else cares more. Everyone else cheers more. Everyone else loves their team more.

    Perhaps it’s just the nature of the beast, living in a state with an infinite amount of things to do outdoors and virtually perfect climate during most of the sports year… but as much as I hate LA, their fans don’t seem to have the same problem.

    Sorry for the rant, but I can’t stand the PHX fans who love to piss and moan about how terrible things are when they aren’t even paying attention. You’re the worst kind of fan. At least most of the bandwagoners have the decency to keep their mouths shut while things are bad and then cheer like it never happened once the ship has been righted. You whiners have issues. If you don’t support the team, at least keep your mouth shut.

  • 10 Scott // Apr 4, 2013 at 10:28 am

    @Voqar -

    You might be looking at the situation with too narrow a focus.

    In the Clippers game, where the Suns were actually close for a lot of it, here’s how the team was scoring outside of WJ, Beasley, Dudley and O’Neal:

    Tucker 2 of 5 in 30 min
    Markieff 1 of 9 in 25 min
    Scola 3-7 in 30 min
    Dragic 3-11 in 30 min
    Marshall 1 of 2 in 10 min
    Garrett 1 of 2 in 10 min

    So the problem in the Clippers game, aside from generally poor defense (Jordan, 20 pts, and Bledsoe, 17 pts, were top scorers, then Butler, Green, and Paul each chipped in 15 pts.), there was poor offense coming from 4 of the Suns with the most minutes in the game.

    As for Wes Johnson’s play, he’s normally a good defender, but where he starts to lose effectiveness is by having a poor shooting percentage. The Clippers game was actually great for him, in that he shot a good percentage. Hopefully he can keep improving his consistency.

    WJ’s improved play has now finally got his PER up above 9. He’s at 10.5 now, which is still 5 points below average for NBA players. His PPG is 7.3.

  • 11 Forever is2long // Apr 4, 2013 at 10:53 am

    John,
    Having lived in Phoenix 8 years ago and now live in Southern California, I could never understand why the Suns fans were so tolerant of anything less than a championship considering we have never had one and the Laker fans would accept nothing less without yelling, screaming and demanding someone be fired when both areas have a million other things to do.

    Phoenix/Scottsdale is clearly one of the best places to live in the U.S., great climate, beautiful people, restaurants, golf courses, shopping, concerts, a lot of class and some culture. Yet they will have 16,000 or 17000 fans for some home games when the team is 30 games under .500. Personally I am surprised the attendance has not plummeted more this season. I think Sarver knows the Suns fan base is not that demanding.

    With that said the front running fans seem to be the worst. Cannot do anything about it but it is annoying to receive their very limited perspective once or twice a year.

    Scott, way to break down the team’s performance last night. I listened to the Clippers broadcast and they highlighted some very impressive Wes Johnson numbers over his last few games. One of them was he has shot 50% from the 3 point line recently (maybe a 10 game stretch but not certain). Announcer Michael Smith thought he may actually turn out to be a very good player in this league.

  • 12 john // Apr 4, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Agreed, and I should clarify that I don’t mind the whiners who still support the team. If you’re putting in effort to be a fan, I have no problem with you voicing your opinion (whether it’s praise or hate). We might disagree, but at the end of the day, it’s not that big of a deal because we both want the same thing.

    It’s the people who say things like, “I haven’t watched a game since they got rid of Nash, but let me tell you how much I hate everything that’s going on…” Really? You do nothing for the franchise, yet you expect your voice to be heard? You expect the long-suffering fans to care what you have to say? You can’t attend a shareholders’ meeting if you don’t invest in the company.

    The ONLY thing that can be accomplished by abandoning a struggling franchise is forcing its sale, and we all know that with dozens of billionaire owners from all over the world lined up to buy franchises, there are no guarantees when it comes to the placement of your team. I know the chances of the Suns ever being transplanted are 1 in 1,000,000, but I would never consider risking that. Look at Seattle. Look what’s going to happen to Sacto. Those were proud basketball cities once upon a time whose fans probably never thought things were going to change.

  • 13 Tony // Apr 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    @John,

    Unsurprisingly, your argument against Suns fans is entirely misguided for the following two reasons.

    Firstly, a fan can simultaneously root for a team while rooting against their FO for putting together such an inferior team. In other words, as a Suns fan, I root for the players on the team and until Gentry was fired, also for the coaching staff. However, I place the blame squarely on the FO for turning, what was a western conference finalist merely three years ago, into the worst team in the western conference and fourth or fifth worst in the entire NBA. This does not make me any less of a Suns fan than you. To be fair, I recognize that a FO has tough decisions to make and no FO is going to make the right decision 100% of the time. What frustrates me the most, however, is their refusal to accept personal responsibility for their mistakes and for continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again.

    Secondly, because the very source of the Suns current problems exist not with the players or coaches, but rather with the front office, supporting the team as a fan requires a more indirect measure to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the franchise’s direction; namely, not to purchase tickets to Suns games until management figures out how to clean up their act and put out a quality product (team), or, better yet, can no longer afford owning the franchise and must sell it. Once again, fans, including myself, who refuse to spend one penny that will go into Sarver’s wallet, are just as much, if not more, Suns fans.

  • 14 john // Apr 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Yawn.

    Tell me, how do you root for the players when you’re not watching the games and you’re not going to the arena (if you’re watching the broadcasts or going to USAirways, you’re giving money to that FO you hate so much, so I assume you aren’t doing either of those)? Are you sending positive energy to them with your mind?

    The fact is that you wouldn’t be complaining if they were winning, even if this same FO was in place. If the Suns magically went 60-22 next year, I guarantee you wouldn’t be griping about this FO, even though it’s the same one that has seemingly destroyed your entire purpose in life over the past few years. You don’t hate them. You hate that the Suns are losing, and because they’re losing, you choose not to support the team. It’s not a matter of siding against ownership. It’s a matter of, “Things aren’t going the way I want, so I’ll find something else to do with my time.”

    And that’s all fine and dandy. Sports aren’t the end of the world. I’m not saying it’s wrong of you to be a bandwagoner. There is nothing wrong with that. Sports are not the reason for our existence. You can be a bandwagoner if you’d like, and I would never insult you for that. I just call it like it is.

  • 15 Luka // Apr 4, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Lon Babby is nothing more than a glorified personal accountant/PR spin doctor for Sarver. He has no business being in charge of basketball operations.

  • 16 foreveris2long // Apr 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Agreed Luka. At a minimum he should be held accountable for this mess.

  • 17 Eric // Apr 5, 2013 at 8:02 am

    @John
    You said your Nativie Arizonan and Suns Fan… if so you should be Upset at the Decisions the FO has made in the last couple of Years! Suns have played for 43 years and have had 13 losing seasons during that span, including this year, This fornt office has been invovled in two of those 13 losing Seasons… And it doesnt seem like its geeting better! Dont you think theres a problem with this? Its the FO fault that the Suns are losing!

  • 18 john // Apr 5, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I’m not happy with the FO, but when I ask myself, “what plausible alternatives would have turned the situation around by now,” I can’t think of any. Winning in the NBA requires some combination of extreme athleticism (see denver) and superstar talent (see Miami). The Suns had no shot in the past three years to improve on the “superstar” front. There simply aren’t enough of them and none of them have truly been available. Athleticism, sure, I would have liked to see them draft Faried, trade Dudley, forego Marshall, etc, but I’m not going to lose sleep over those things.

    I’m not happy with the FO. I don’t want to give that impression. I want to be level headed, and that leads me to believe that judgment should be withheld until they have the time to make their first big splash. That should be this offseason.

  • 19 Ty-Sun // Apr 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

    It’s actually kind of interesting that Sarver and the Phoenix FO have done pretty much the same thing to the Suns as Mark Cuban and the Dallas FO have done to the Mavs. In the name of staying out of paying the luxury tax and clearing cap space to pursue free agents, they have turned formerly great teams into a shell of their former selves. Yes, they aren’t as bad as the Suns are but they are also a year behind the Suns in their “rebuilding” process after they dismantled their championship team.

    I’m NOT trying to defend Sarver. He’s pretty much universally seen as a bad owner (and I agree with that assessment) but Cuban was – at least until recently – always seen as one of the best owners. Since Cuban and the Dallas FO seems to suck at rebuilding almost as bad as Sarver and the Suns FO, I’m at least a little less inclined to scream for Sarver, Babby and Blanks heads on pikes.

    Besides, it just isn’t worth it to let myself get pissed off over anything that I have no control over. If I did that, I would just stay pissed off all of the time! Life’s too short for that and – honestly – it’s just a game.

  • 20 Scott // Apr 5, 2013 at 11:39 am

    DX has a draft video up now for Jeff Withey. He’s a player I’d mentioned months ago, as a possible late first round draft pick. (DX currently has him at #21, and he’s not moved much on the board.)

    I tend to compare draft prospects to players already on the Suns’ team, and Jeff Withey is basically Gortat as he was when he was drafted, except Withey is older. He’s going to need several years of seasoning, like what Gortat had, to provide what Gortat provides now.

    Withey has the basic height and length to cover the C spot; he’s the same height and weight as Gortat. His wingspan might be slightly greater. He has good timing and can block shots. He can defend without picking up fouls.

    His weaknesses are basically the same as Gortat’s. His focus tends to fade in and out, he’s not very offensively minded, and when he is, his scoring comes off soft righthanded lay-ins from a pass. He can mentally fade on rebounding too, even if he has boxed out. He does not have a midrange shot yet; or if he does, in college he was not allowed to use it. He is a slightly better FT shooter than Gortat. He doesn’t use his left hand on offense yet. He lacks lateral quickness as well as lower body strength, so he can’t be rotated to play at PF. He has no back to the basket game.

    A question mark raised about Withey regards his strength. He’s a senior, age 23, and the college program he’s in emphasizes building up strength. You’d think he’s developed a NBA body by now. Yet he lacks the strength exhibited by other college centers and is easily pushed around. Can he continue to get stronger?

    Because of their experience with Gortat, the Suns should recognize what they’d be getting with Withey, They’ll need to keep in mind that Gortat was developing for roughly 5 years (only a couple spent in the NBA) before he came to the Suns in trade. Also, Gortat was taken in the bottom of the 2nd round in 2005, yet in this weak draft, Withey is projected to go in the late first round.

  • 21 Scott // Apr 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Let me just add as an estimate … being optimistic, it might take Withey two full seasons in the NBA before he plays as well as Gortat plays now. That’s assuming he can build greater strength and adapt to the greater speed and athleticism of the NBA.

  • 22 Tony // Apr 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    John, John, John!

    Seriously, are you this dense when it comes to other areas of your life? I sincerely hope not.

    Of course I watch the Suns, but on the internet and through any source that provides a revenue stream to Sarver. But that’s not the point. Although TV contracts are the main source for owners to secure the greatest profit from their investment in a sports franchise, merely turning off the TV does not have the impact similar to what kind of message an empty arena sends to its respective FO. It’s embarrassing to a FO when their arena is half empty during their teams’ home games, especially if the game is aired on nationally.

    Next, as Eric so deftly pointed out, the Suns have had only 13 total losing seasons in their 45 years, two of which have come with the current group in the FO. Moreover, this is not a case of mere correlation, but rather, of causation. Neither are injuries to blame for the Suns dreadful record.

    To repeat what I said, the Suns will likely finish with their 2nd worst record in franchise history! Combined with the fact that they still don’t have a young player to build around, leads, or should lead, any reasonable person of ordinary intelligence to recognize where the fault lies. Make no mistake about it, next season the Suns will most likely be in the same position, if not worse, than they are now. When that occurs, if memory serves, it will be the first time in the Franchise’s history that they have gone four straight seasons without making the playoffs!

    “I’m not happy with the FO, but when I ask myself, “’what plausible alternatives would have turned the situation around by now,’” “I can’t think of any. Winning in the NBA requires some combination of extreme athleticism (see denver) and superstar talent (see Miami). ”
    “The Suns had no shot in the past three years to improve on the “superstar” front.”

    What absolute lunacy!! John you must be somehow related to Sarver. First of all, “winning” is NOT limited to championships. In fact, a “winning” record simply refers to a team that has at least a .500 record.

    Secondly, the Suns FO had ample and plausible alternatives to avoid putting the Suns in their current position. For example, not trading Kurt Thomas and two 1st round draft picks in 2007 just to cut salary would have been a much more beneficial to the Suns future. Or, instead of hiring inexperienced people to be GM or Team President, such as Kerr (When he initially was hired as GM), Babby and Blanks, paying a little extra for better and more experienced FO personnel would have also been a more attractive alternative.

    Regarding Amar’e, I don’t have a problem with not resigning him for the max because he was uninsurable and ran a very high risk of ending up with another severe injury. However, instead of bringing in Warrick, Hedo and Childress, the latter two being former Babby clients, the Suns had a shot with David Lee or even Boozer. Either of those players would have been plausible and a substantial upgrade over Hedo, Childress, and Warrick.

    Trading the older Gortat at the end of last season and resigning the 3-year younger Lopez would also have been a much better alternative. At this point, all indications are that Gortat will not resign with the Suns once his contract ends after next season. Additionally, trading him now, when his value is at its lowest, will not bring nearly as much in return for him had they traded him at the end of last season. Consequently, Gortat will probably sign elsewhere and the Suns will get nothing in return, or, the Suns trade him for less than his value.

    How about not trading Dragic and a 1st round pick for Chris Rock’s twin? Yet another dumb decision. Or, not signing Beasley??!! If the guy could not play for two coaches, both of whom considered are great coaches, was it really reasonable to expect Beasley to suddenly turn his career around? No, it was unreasonable.

    Lastly, and for the sake of time and sanity, I will just quickly mention the three most current mistakes. Drafting Marshall, hiring Hunter, and extending Babby’s contract for two additional years. Regarding Babby, I still would not have liked it, but I could understand Sarver giving him a one-year extension so that both Blanks and his contract would end at the same time, especially considering that they are close friends, but giving him an additional year beyond Blanks’ was just foolish and made absolutely no sense. Essentially, Sarver rewarded Babby for failing.

    In sum, my advice for you John is to step outside whatever fantastical bubble you’ve been in for obviously quite sometime, and also for your own health, at least temporarily stop associating with Sarver and Babby!

  • 23 Tony // Apr 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    @Ty-Sun,

    While I agree that Cuban should be chided for his management of the Mavericks since they won a championship, his decision to gut the Mavericks championship roster are far more understandable than Sarver’s. Cuban was trying to clear cap space so that he could sign Williams and Howard during the off-season. He took a big gamble and it failed. However, if he had succeeded, and it wasn’t that unlikely either of those guys would have signed with the Mavs, he would still be regarded as a great owner. Sarver, on the other hand, had no intention of clearing cap space to sign a max player or two. In fact, he was doing the opposite-i.e., trying to rid his players deserving max or near max-contracts with the intention of replacing them with cheaper and less-talented players. So unlike Cuban, whom failed to realize his plan, Sarver ended up succeeding in his. Unfortunately for Suns fans, Sarver’s success in this regard has resulted in a directionless and awful team full of role players and, at least as of this moment, no one to rebuild around.

  • 24 DBreezy // Apr 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I have to agree that Cuban had a solid plan, it just didn’t work out. Not knocking their free will, but the Mavs were one of a couple of victims of Howard and DWill. Every succesful team manages the cap and luxury tax efficiently for their own situation. That could mean shrewd, underrated moves like the Spurs, Thunder, and championship Pistons made or smartly managing your ability to pay the luxury tax like the Lakers and Mavs have done for years overall.

    Cuban hasn’t changed his desires, but he’s changing his methodology due to the new cba. He still clearly plans to spend big, but intends to be more judicious about how and when he does it. I think he sees a situation like the Nets and wants to avoid paying years of luxury tax to stay in the mix like he used to, only to be faced with the repeater tax by the time he developed the right mix. For whatever reason, Dallas seems to draw more serious interest from the truly marquee free agents than Phoenix, so I can’t argue with that strategy and they seem to have a fairly solid talent evaluation crew out there.

    Sarver’s ideal situation seems to be more in the OKC or SA mold and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to have the front office personnel to pull it off and they never really have. You could say that Babby is the closest they’ve had in terms of ability to not overpay on contracts, but they seem way off in terms of evaluating potential players and often overvaluing the players they do have.

  • 25 Scott // Apr 5, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I think the Suns are intentionally aiming at double-dipping deep in the lottery … both this year and next.

    Instead of holding our breath, we’ll just have to hold our nose and continue breathing.

    In terms of the coming draft, this helps put the emphasis on picking high potential players that will need 2-3 years to fully get their legs under them.

    As far as the ratings go between Dieng and Withey, I’ve always put Dieng higher, and that’s now reflected in the draft order on DX (Dieng had been trailing Withey earlier).

    Dieng is the same age as Withey and the same height, but slightly heavier, longer, and stronger. He seems to have better IQ / focus / motor, as well, though I’m going to wait for an updated and more comprehensive scouting report before I commit to that. His stats are roughly similar to Withey’s, though Withey is a slightly better scorer, FT shooter, and blocker.

    Dieng has more potential for development, as he hasn’t been in a basketball program as long as Withey, and he appears to be more driven. Dieng could contribute at C off the bench in his first year, though I wouldn’t expect much scoring from him till he’s been to the Olajuwon school of dreamshaking (which is where I’d send him directly after summer league).

    As for who Dieng is like … I’m not sure. He has a bit of star quality to him, I think. He’s kind of like a cross between Joakim Noah and Serge Ibaka …? And he can hit a midrange jumper at about Scola’s range.

    Weak as this draft is, I could see him going higher (DX currently has him at #20), and – barring misfortune – I wouldn’t be too terribly surprised if he wound up with a better career than virtually everybody in front of him.

  • 26 Scott // Apr 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    BTW, since I just noticed that Steven Adams has declared for the draft (no doubt hoping to place higher due to the weakness of the draft) … from the information I have at hand, I’d put Dieng over Adams.

    In fact, at this early stage in scouting, I’d put Dieng over all the center prospects except Noel. And Noel only gets the nod because he’s 18 and doing what he’s doing before he’s got a NBA body.

  • 27 Scott // Apr 5, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    After Dieng I would pencil in Isaiah Austin as #3 C. He can defend and shoot out to the perimeter. He’s 7′ 1″, 19 years old, and s k i n n y like Noel. He comes in 3rd because his motor / focus is a bit inconsistent.

    Instead of sending him to the Olajuwon school, I’d send him to the Kareem Abdul Jabbar school of being a tall skinny scoring center.

  • 28 Golden State Warriors Blog And Forum | Warriorsworld.net » Blog Archive » Inside the Scope: Golden State Warriors x Phoenix Suns // Apr 5, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    [...] (50-26) was for the most part par for the course at this point in the regular season. The Clips blew them off the floor and even took some liberties with their [...]

  • 29 Scott // Apr 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    ^^ Wow. It did not take Golden State fans long to climb onto their high horse.

    Stay classy, Oakland.

  • 30 Ty-Sun // Apr 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    All this really stems from Sarver’s decision NOT to sign Stat to the max contract that he wanted. If Sarver had been willing to do that (and keep the bench mob relatively intact), the Suns might have made it back to the WCFs or even to the championship game the next season. Although Stat stayed healthy enough to play in 78 games in his first season in NY, he’s played less than that in both of the following seasons which gives at least some credit to the worries about giving a max contract to a player they thought might have future injury issues.

    But all that aside, the biggest failure of Sarver and the Suns FO was to have no real plan as to what to do post-Stat. A lot of those failures happened during a FO transition which happened at the same time. Perhaps that was part of the problem but former GM Steve Kerr wasn’t that great either. He engineered the trades of Marion, Diaw and Bell, brought in Shaq and then traded Shaq away for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic. To his credit, Kerr did also bring in J-Rich and Dudley but at best I would give Kerr a “C” grade as the Suns GM.

    The Babby/Blanks duo gets a “D” grade… barely. If I knew for sure that Sarver was completely a “hands-off” owner then they would get and “F” but I don’t know that for sure.

  • 31 Ty-Sun // Apr 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    @Tony

    I think that, no matter what else we might have differing opinions on, we can both agree that Sarver is an idiot and should sell the Suns to – hopefully – a better owner. If we disagree on the reasons why Sarver is an idiot and a failure as an NBA owner, that’s really a small thing IMHO.

  • 32 john // Apr 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    You shouldn’t use words you don’t understand, Tony. It’s not becoming of the world’s first 15-year-old lawyer.

    Look up correlation and causation, write me a five-sentence paragraph correctly using the two terms. We’ll meet back up next Tuesday to discuss.

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