New Orleans Hornets 95, Phoenix Suns 92 – Third quarter meltdown

Posted by on April 7th, 9:39 pm

PHOENIX – For the third game in a row, the Phoenix Suns got smacked in the third quarter. And even against a lesser opponent this time, no fourth-quarter rally would make a difference on Sunday. Lindsey Hunter saw his team lose for the ninth time in a row and a franchise-record, seventh straight time at U.S. Airways Center, this time to the New Orleans Hornets.

Monty Williams’ team was led by rookie Anthony Davis’ 20 points, and Eric Gordon’s 17 points and six assists. That duo most importantly attacked the heart of the Suns’ interior after the Hornets patched up holes that allowed for Luis Scola to score 11 first-quarter points.

Third-quarter collapses
April 7: Outscored 35-19 vs. New Orleans

April 5: Outscored 32-14 vs. Golden State

April 3: Outscored 38-20 at Los Angeles Clippers

“When they started putting their heads down and just started driving to the rim, we didn’t respond at all the way you would expect us to,” Hunter said. “I don’t think we played desperate, I don’t think we had a blue-collar mentality. It showed in spurts.”

New Orleans took 25 of its 29 free throws in the second half as Phoenix’s 11-point first-half lead shriveled.

The Suns led only 43-39 at halftime if only because they scored 13 points off nine Hornets turnovers in the first half. Hunter’s team also held a hapless offense to 37 percent shooting in the first half. A first-quarter charge by Ryan Anderson and a second-quarter burst from Gordon kept New Orleans in contact.

It only got worse for the Suns.

New Orleans tied the game up early in the second half, and consecutive dunks by Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu gave the Hornets a 53-49 lead – their first of the game – nearly four minutes into the third quarter.

Backup point guard Brian Roberts scored twice by dipping past Kendall Marshall upon his entry, Robin Lopez took a dump-off for a dunk and New Orleans finished off the third quarter with a 6-0 run, taking a 74-62 lead into the final 12 minutes. Jared Dudley, who scored 15 off the bench but missed some in rhythm looks at four of his five three-point attempts, said there’s no easy answer for the Suns’ third-quarter woes.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” he said. “Energy is low. We don’t make shots. Adjustments (that) teams are making on us, we have to make on teams.”

Trailing 81-65 with nine minutes left in the game because of a 13-3 Hornets spurt that bridged the third and fourth quarters, the Suns did fight back. The small-ball unit of Kendall Marshall, Goran Dragic, Dudley, Markieff Morris and Scola went on its own run of 17-4 over the next seven minutes to climb within three points.

“Kendall is never going to be stagnant,” Dudley said of the backup guard, who had nine points and five assists. “Sometimes we get a little bit selfish where it’s one pass and shot, a lot of iso. With Kendall, especially in transition, he looks for the three-ball, he looks for guys for slips, bounce-passes.”

The Suns trailed 85-82 with two minutes left but once again couldn’t get over the hump.

“It was too late,” Hunter said. “You have to do it consistently for four quarters.”

Markieff Morris hangs with a stretch 4

Markieff Morris has shown more focus in forcing more attempts in the paint, thereby spending less effort floating around the perimeter. On Friday, he led the Suns with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He hit his two three-point attempts and worked inside-out.

Early on, he attacked rookie Anthony Davis in the post. Though he grabbed only five rebounds, Hunter said it was likely because he was glued to stretch 4 Ryan Anderson on the perimeter.

“The hard part for Markieff tonight was guarding Anderson. He pulled him so far from the rim,” Hunter said. “I think he did a good job on Anderson. He closed out on him. (Anderson) got a couple (shots) in transition but for the most part I thought he did a good job on him.”

Anderson, who came into the game averaging 24 points in two outings against Phoenix this season, shot 6-of-16 from the floor. He scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds – five were offensive – but only hit 2-of-8 three-pointers.

Meanwhile, fellow Suns forward Michael Beasley washed away two strong outings with a 1-of-11 shooting night.

P.J. Tucker earns Dan Majerle Hustle Award

Dan Majerle honored P.J. Tucker with the Dan Majerle Hustle Award before the Suns’ game against the Hornets. Majerle, who is in Atlanta scouting for Grand Canyon University at the Final Four, recorded a video to honor Tucker, who was a standout for Majerle’s Summer League team.

The video might’ve been more surprising than the award itself. After being snubbed in consideration to replace former coach Alvin Gentry, Majerle has at least maintained his relationship with the franchise regardless of his feelings about the front office.

How the balls bounced

The Suns got help from the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night. The Jazz beat the Golden State Warriors for only their 12th road victory of the year to get a half-game lead on the Los Angeles Lakers, who fell to the Clippers earlier in the day.

Cleveland, which entered Sunday a half-game behind Phoenix in terms of lottery position, beat the Orlando Magic.

And 1

Jared Dudley on his missed opportunities and how he wishes one of his shots would fall to help morale: “Losses pile up, it can get you mentally. When a team goes on a run, it’s like, ‘Here we go again.’ Myself … I wish I would’ve hit one of those shots where you can pull through and once you get one, you can build on that.”

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: New Orleans Hornets · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Recap

72 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DBreezy // Apr 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    The Scola post-game interview was great.

  • 2 Scott // Apr 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    From Hornets247:

    “Part of the reason the Hornets looked so good through the middle of the game? Michael Beasley. The Suns were so excited in their pregame talking about how he was playing so well and differently from before over the last 4 games. His numbers? 15 points and 5 rebounds. Sheesh. Well, he “came back to earth” from that dizzying height tonight, going 1-11 and doing Michael Beasley type things and guaranteeing the Hornets win. He’s a one-man tank.”

  • 3 hawki // Apr 8, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Cavs -91
    Magic-85
    Great win by the Cavs & now the Suns are solidly in the 3rd spot in the Draft Lottery.

    Charlotte & Orlando are locked in a titanic struggle for the #1 position….both teams have 59 losses.

    Only 3 teams now have a lower than .300 winning percentage.
    Charlotte .234
    Orlando .244
    Suns .299

  • 4 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 1:31 am

    If the Suns get the #1 pick, I still think the funniest and possibly best scenario is to deal, deal, deal.

    It would certainly make draft day more interesting.

  • 5 Azbballfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 2:45 am

    I would only trade the 1st overall pick if it included a salary dump, a young player, and a lotto pick

    for example, 1st overall pick traded to, say, Detroit along with Marcin Gortat for Andre Drummond and the Pistons pick

    that would give the Suns 3 young, cheap studs to build around

    i would only do that though if it was the right deal the Suns have never had the #1 overall pick, and they really need talent

    i wonder if the Bobcats would be interested in our Lakers pick and Marcin Gortat for Ramon Sessions and their pick?

    that would give us a good player off the bench and 2 picks in the top 5

    hmmm i wonder if the Suns would draft Oladipo and Mclmore in that scenario

    Dragic, Mclmore, Oladipo could be really nice trio

    make a trade to get a solid big like Gobert or Dieng or Withey

    we could also do Noel and Oladipo

    Grab Franklin or trade for him

    that would give us a lineup of Dragic, Johnson, Oladipo Morris? Noel

    bench of Sessions, Franklin, whoever

  • 6 mileHighfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I wonder if Slowpez auditioned for ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’ cuz he can surely put on a disappearing act. But Im sure the double doubles were mighty impressive last month :)

    Wow, Im impressed with AD though. Now that is REAL potential heading for stardom.

  • 7 foreveris2long // Apr 8, 2013 at 7:04 am

    A great night from a big picture perspective. Another Suns loss (probably means a promotion or extension for someone) and wins by Clips, Utah and Cleveland made yesterday a great day. We need athleticism on the wing and in the front court We need at least one wing who can score (create his own shot preferably). We need a 4 or 5 who is athletic, can get at least 8 boards a night and block shots.

    I would love to watch the Lakers miss the playoffs and not have a lottery pick. It would make for a great summer.

  • 8 foreveris2long // Apr 8, 2013 at 7:06 am

    DBreezy I missed the Scola interview, help me out.

  • 9 mileHighfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 7:09 am

    I flipped over to the DAL game at the half thinking the Suns had this one.

    [sarcasm]I refuse to be your lucky charm all the time guys!! [/sarcasm]

    Just when you think they can fight out a win, they collapse. Just when you think they are headed for a meltdown, they collapse.

    It used to be that we were settling for moral victories just last yr, now weve settled for ‘great post game comments’…good one Dave.

  • 10 mileHighfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 7:21 am

    That Shawn Marion still going strong at the tender age of 106. Noone I know gets into quick transition at that age than he. Props for our former Sun with an nba title!!

  • 11 hawki // Apr 8, 2013 at 8:40 am

    @ MileHigh….Sammi…too bad about Gallinari….thought Denver had a chance to go to the Finals ….but now ?

    @ Forever….Counselor….check out Obama v Hedges now being litigated in District Court in Manhattan. It is a monumental case.

  • 12 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:11 am

    @Foreveris,

    I’m paraphrasing as it was fairly lengthy for a postgame interview, but he basically denied all excuses for the season and said that the team simply cannot execute. He said that they could see it in the first week and that nothing has changed since then. He was offered the chance to blame some of it on coaching changes, system changes, rotation changes, youth, etc and basically said that was all bs. He said that he was surprised that they’ve even won 24 games (yeah I know he got the number wrong!) because they did the same things in most of the games they won. Darth Blanks must have loved that.

  • 13 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:16 am

    @Sammi,

    It is what it is at this point. Remember when we all used to debate things like those offseason reviews or future power rankings? Well the future is here and we see what it is, the only question seems to be how long is the way back?

  • 14 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

    @azbballfan -

    I think there’s a number of possible scenarios for dealing should the Suns get the #1. Noel seems like a fine player, but he could easily be the next Sam Bowie or Greg Oden. The Suns are so desperately in need of talented young assets, I think they would benefit more from digging deep into this draft. And no matter how well they do in that regard – even if they pick all the future All-Stars in this draft – the Suns will still be contending for a top pick in next year’s draft because the players are young.

    Anyway, say the Suns get the #1 pick and NO gets the #2. You could deal NO the #1 pick (Nerlens would be good for NO in combination with Davis) for their #2 plus some asset (a protected future pick or Austin Rivers), then go on from there, dealing the #2 for more picks and players.

    If the Suns are picking up quality guys, they have room for at least 6 new players. There’s no obligation to stick with Garrett, Tucker, O’Neal, Hadaddi, Brown, or Johnson next year. Plus, it’s possible Frye could be done, and if necessary Beasley could be traded (maybe to Charlotte for nothing) or bought out. And that’s not even counting trying to move the Morrises, or players with probable trade value, like Gortat, Dudley, and Scola.

    So I’m not saying the Suns need to be quite like Morey last year and plump up to a 28-man roster, but they could take every guy I like in the first round (Oladipo, Carter-Williams, Austin, Goodwin, and Dieng) and still have room for more.

    As for the late 2nd round pick the Suns have this year … that pick is best included either in a trade deal or used to take an overseas player who can be stashed. I don’t see any point in wasting it on a player like Dwayne Collins (aka, “Mr. Irrelevant”) when you could at least take a chance on a developing foreign player.

  • 15 Russell Suns fan // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:36 am

    This draft is so weak that having the #1 pick is a disadvantage. The best pick to have is picks 3-5. No team is going to trade for anyone;s #1 or #2 because those picks carry the same value as pretty much the first 5 picks.

    This draft class at the top is pathetic.

    Next years draft class has 3 real superstars, much better to have the # pick next year.

  • 16 mileHighfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Remember when we all used to…

    Remember when we praised “7 seconds or less” as the Suns entire, most potent arsenal? Now it belongs to Denver.

    Remember when we praised Dantoni for his quote, “Were gonna bust them” to the Spurs? Now hes really busting another team, the Lakers. I feel the same joy either way! At least he followed through.

    Remember when Charles, JRich or Taurasi were getting DUI’s in Phx? Dont know where Im going with that one.

    Remember when the Nash/Amare P’n’roll was the talk of the town, now its Jody Arias.

    Just my tribute!

  • 17 mileHighfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Hawki,

    I love your humor about Gallo ruining DEN’s chances at the finals. He has been a bit disappointing all season.

    They will advance if they draw GS, otherwise, their chances are still the same, 1st rd exit. I love those guys, but I was never all in with the Nugz. I am forced, with hands tied behind my back, to suport them since my ‘home’ team is where sucking happens lately. When I visit AZ again, I should get on the sucktitude scale just to see where I rank. :)

  • 18 mileHighfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

    “Next years draft class has 3 real superstars, much better to have the # pick next year.”

    I dont have much insight to this, but what if they sell their 1st rd pick this yr, and get two next yr? No? Go have a seat Sammi?

  • 19 Forever is2long // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hawk, I am on it. I will look into that case this morning.

    DBreezy, man that was a classic interview by Scola. Apparently Scola and Jermaine O’Neal are cut from the same cloth (no nonsense material). About time we have some players with a backbone to stand up to management. If it takes a season like this to make management accountable, I am all for it. What I read into it when Scola suggest we cannot execute, is the players on this team are not any good.

    Russell, I would go as far as saying there may not be any difference from one to ten in the lottery this summer. J. Franklin or G. Robinson (if he enters draft) could eventually be as good or better than any wing in the draft and Dieng or even Payne could be the best bigs in the draft. I am not really sold on Austin but he does have a nice upside if he can get some muscle on his frame. Since we will be back in the lottery next summer I hope the Suns are not going to eliminate rookie candidates who probably lack the ability to provide immediate help. It should be a long range plan.

  • 20 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

    @Russell -

    I agree that the top of this draft looks weak, but that could be easier for Suns fans to see, because not a single one of these players has the talent to turn the Suns around. Heck, any single one of them probably would not change the Suns wins total AT ALL.

    However, of the top players, Noel looks significantly better than those directly after him due to his size, defense, motor, and youth. If you had the #1 pick, you could deal to a team looking to add a defensive center.

    You never know what other teams think and value, so you try anyway.

    Maybe Cleveland has its heart set on Bennett, to fill in their blank spot at SF. Maybe OKC believes it needs a rare, incredibly long rim protector like Gobert to take that extra step toward contention. Maybe Orlando greatly prefers McLemore over other picks, because they just lost their gunner, Redick.

    And keep in mind teams can go all in on bad choices. Think of Detroit taking Darko (instead of Anthony or Wade), Miami and Beasley (instead of Westbrook), the Wizards and Veseley (instead of anyone else), and so on. If a team gets it into their head that they must have a specific player, the Suns should deal with them, as the Suns don’t have specific needs so much as a need for greater talent at every position.

  • 21 Azbballfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I agree with that

    More than any other team in the NBA, the Suns lack quality young players to build around

    i thought anthony bennett was a Power Forward?

    we lack athleticism, rebounding, defense, and players with the ability to finish at the rim and through contact

    our two most atheltic guys, brown and beasley, have easily the 2 worst shot selection on the team

    one of the great things stoudemire did when he was here was he almost always finished through contact

    thats a very underrated skill and something we really lack

    nobody on this team hardly ever throws down big dunks, makes big blocks, or beats someone off the dribble and gets to the foul line

    i dont even want to know how many layups we have missed this year as a team simply because no one on the team other than dragic gets into the lane, and brown and beasley never go all the way to the hoop

    yeah this draft is weak

    but to the Suns that doenst matter at all

    when your in year 3 of the rebuild and you have almost nothing to show for it other than the odd decent game from your 3 lotto picks

    you need all the help you can get

    literally ever other team is either better in talent or has a cache of young lotto picks

    even the terrible magic and bobcats have good young players

    Moe Harkless, Vucavic, Tobias Harris

    MKG, Biyombo, Walker

    If the front office does not hit a home run in this weak draft with one atleast top 5 pick and one top 14 pick

    how is Sarver and his cronies gonna sell that tot he fan base?

    i think its funny that the morris twins are giving us basically 7 points and 4 boards a game each and kendall marshall is giving us like what 4 points and 3 assists a game on the year

    they passed up quality players each year they could have drafted

    if they screw up this draft even the slightest bit, i dont know how even the most apologizing sarver sycophant

    can defend him

  • 22 Forever is2long // Apr 8, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Hawk, Obama and friends have lost their mind if they think a statute as vague as that one can withstand constitutional attacks on it. At least that is my unsolicited opinion. I think it has a chilling effect on the 1st amendment due its vagueness and being unduly overbroad. It appears journalists could be arrested based on their speech in alleged violation of the law as it currently reads. I am not surprised the federal courts have issued an injunction and U.S. Supreme Court has not lifted it.

    Thanks for the info. I cannot wait for the ruling by the Supreme Court on California’s constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriages and the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Ok back to the Suns. There is an article from the Courier- Journal that discusses Noel’s injury history. Per the article, Noel fractured his growth plate in his left knee 5 games into his high school sophomore season. According to his basketball coach John DBiaso, Noel was told by his doctors to rest his knee throughout the following summer. However again according to his coach, he played spring basketball with his travel team instead of resting it. If the Suns are in a position to draft him, I hope they thoroughly investigate whether this alleged prior injury and the alleged lack of suggested rest has compromised the integrity of the knee.

  • 23 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    @azbballfan -

    Anthony Bennett looks like this year’s Beasley or Derrick Williams. He plays PF in college, but he’s 6′ 7″ and roughly 240 lbs. So he has the weight of a PF, but the height of a SF, meaning he’s probably a dreaded tweener that can’t manage larger PFs and can’t stay with faster SFs.

    Advocates will say that Bennett’s large wingspan (7′ 1″) will help him defend PFs, and that may prove to be the case. His main NBA trait is advanced offense, shooting nearly 40% from 3 and finishing through contact in the paint. However, at this point Bennett doesn’t care to defend, he is typically just jogging back in defensive transition, and he’s inconsistent with rebounding.

    Like many players, if he fixes the holes in his game he could be very, very good. But you do have to wonder where his head is at, and if his game will translate from college to the NBA.

  • 24 Ty-Sun // Apr 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    At this point, I really don’t care who specifically the Suns draft. I don’t really think this is a weak draft but it isn’t a very strong one. By that I mean that I don’t see anyone in this draft that I would call a franchise player but there are are quite a few players that could be very strong NBA players in this draft.

    Unfortunately, these aren’t the kind of players who could turn around a team by themselves but, if the Suns get the Lakers’ pick in addition to their own, getting two solid young players from the draft would be a good start. The one thing that I do hope for is that they draft strong, athletic defensive players.

  • 25 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I think this draft appears weak at the top, but the middle and beyond seems normal and is it really weak at the top or is this just another evolution of the draft? More and more in the one and done era it seems like it’s going to take multiple years for the All-Stars in a particular draft to really show themselves unlike the ‘good ol days’. The good news is that I bet an overwhelming majority of said players will be guys who scouts have had high on their boards for a long time finally coming into their own.

    The bad news is how do you identify which ones have the will to match the skill and make it, and will you as a drafting team be around to reap the benefits? Especially if you don’t have a strong front office and/or other agendas are at play. Do Babby and Blanks take the long view on prospects when they likely have 2 seasons at best to get things at least headed in the right direction? How does a team that openly lamented lacking a marketable player earlier this season prioritize that when it comes to player personnel decisions going forward?

  • 26 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Foreveris,

    I do hope the Suns would do their due diligence on Noel or anybody else’s injury history, at some point I’d like to see them leverage their medical staff where it counts more. They can get scared to death about picking a guy like Nerlens, PJ3, or Sullinger but are usually all in on min salary ex-all star guys in their mid-late 30′s when it comes to the staff like JO, Hill, and Redd. I’m not saying go all in on Bynum or Eric Gordon with big money, but we’re talking guys on rookie deals here.

  • 27 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    @DBreezy -

    I do think the Suns should try to acquire Sullinger. He might be more available now that he’s out for back surgery (as predicted by scouts).

  • 28 hawki // Apr 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    @ MileHigh….Sammi

    “my hands tied behind my back”

    you bad girl :)

    @Forever….Thanks for the input….will be looking for the Calif. decision.

    @ DBreezy….that’s the constant problem with the draft these days…projecting who is going to be good 3-4 yrs from now. IMO if Noel is available than he must be the pick unless the Suns staff think his knee is beyond repair. The risk is worth it because the Suns MUST get a defensive presence in the middle.

  • 29 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    @DBreezy -

    We may see this draft settle more once all the declarations have been finalized and those who were going to pull out, pull out. There’s still time and opportunity for the consensus to change on who the top players are, and some of the foreigners might drop into the 2nd round while relative unknowns might rise.

    Brandon Paul, for example. He’s been buried in the late 2nd round on DX’s board, but he sounds like someone who could go as high as the late first round. (And don’t forget, players with 2 first names are always good, like Chris Paul, Paul George, Brandon Roy … they just need to have Paul or Brandon in there, and they are surefire All-Stars! heh)

  • 30 Ty-Sun // Apr 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    @DBreezy – I agree totally. Since players are often drafted after only one year of college these days it’s much more difficult to see how well their skills will translate into the pro game.

    And even though the NBA has no strong reason to try to encourage players to stay in college more than one year, I’ve really lost interest in collage b-ball because many teams have so much turnover every year. And I think it makes current freshman college players even harder to evaluate since the best freshman collage players of the previous year leave for the NBA.

  • 31 john // Apr 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Am I missing something? Why is everyone so interested in court decisions?

  • 32 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    @Scott,

    IIRC the early entrant deadline system in the NCAA has been moved up a lot this season, so I expect that we’ll have a pretty good idea of who’s in and out fairly quickly after the tourney ends. At least on the collegiate side that is, as the international players will still be on the standard NBA deadline. I suspect the lottery order will also have a little more influence on things at the top than usual as well with so many teams feeling that players won’t be starters, possibly some go more for positional need over best available-a term that’s much more debatable at the top of the lottery than it usually is. Btw, from what I’ve read the Celts like Sully and have no interest in moving him.

    @Ty-Sun,

    The NBA has an incentive to want players to stay more than one season in college, they just have no interest in putting their money where their mouth is. A yearly stream of better developed, and more prepared to contribute players would be huge for the NBA in terms of quality of play and also in their attempts at parity. Right now teams on the fringes like Charlotte have to wait so long for a chance at a franchise changing talent as so few are available-and that’s if they don’t make any drafting mistakes. Yet unless they figure out some way to alter the rookie wage scale system that is at the heart of why most kids leave early, nothing will change. The players will keep leaving early, the colleges will continue to over recruit in anticipation of it forcing guys like Goodwin into the draft, and the NBPA has little incentive to talk about it either.

    @Hawki,

    I had to laugh today looking at the latest mocks from NBADraft.net and DX. I see that Shabazz is currently projected to be in the range of the Thunder who have the Raps pick from the Harden trade. And they’ll take him there too, despite all of the negative talk. Can’t believe these guys may go to the finals two years in a row, lost a young, big time All-Star in Harden and still will be able to put out a bench that includes Lamb, PJ3, and among others. If the Suns don’t get it together that bench may beat us in a few years!

  • 33 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    @John,

    Foreveris is a lawyer, the talk goes back to the AZC board days. Wish a few more of our characters from over there would migrate here so we could have even more voices.

  • 34 Forever is2long // Apr 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    DBreezy, OKC, though they probably will not win it this year, with the guys you mentioned as well as Reggie Jackson who looks like a really good point guard, they seem set for another decade. They drafted Reggie Jackson I believe when they already had 2 very young point guards. They draft based on upside not necessarily need. I love that approach.

  • 35 Forever is2long // Apr 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    DBreezy, Hawk does G. Robinson throw his name in the draft? I think he is a lottery pick but interested what you guys think. Watch he goes 0 for 12 tonight and everyone rags on me for such a stupid idea.

  • 36 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Foreveris,

    I didn’t forget about Jackson, I lumped the others together because they all had more attention going into the draft, before the same machine that built them allowed them to slip to unexpected places in the draft. If Presti didn’t ignore the noise, there’s a solid chance that Harden would have dropped much farther than he should have as well.

    As for Robinson, I think the way the system is setup, it may be hard for him to return especially if he has a solid game. Too bad too, as I don’t get the sense that any of Michigan’s players necessarily thought they absolutely had to come out this season heading into the tourney.

  • 37 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Here’s the dates for the draft, early entry, and so on …

    April 10: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Application Deadline

    April 15: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Response Deadline

    April 16: NCAA Early Entry “Withdrawal” Deadline

    April 28: NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 pm ET)

    May 2: NBA Draft Early Entry Candidates Released – Underclassmen Contact Permitted

    May 15-19: NBA Draft Combine (Chicago)

    May 21: NBA Draft Lottery

    June 17: NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline (5:00 pm ET)

    June 27: 2013 NBA Draft

  • 38 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks Scott, so we should know a lot more in 8 days or so on the collegiate side. On a different note, I know you’ve been talking a lot about trades and assets lately. What do you think the Suns will/should do with the Morris twins this fall as far as picking up their 4th year options?

    Teams tend to pickup those options almost automatically, especially for guys they drafted, but should the Suns here? I doubt either one of these guys will ultimately be offered an extension by the team, at best they will be allowed to test the rfa market after next season with the Suns having the option to match. But that requires giving them a qualifying offer. The new cba makes that offer a larger number than before, meaning a bigger cap hold and also increasing the chances of a player simply taking the qualifier if they don’t like what they see on the market.

    Seems to me that the Suns should decline to pick up either of their options. I think that makes them much more attractive as trade options next season as expiring contracts where the other team doesn’t have to assume the liability for the qualifier and rfa which is nice in a world of increased luxury tax penalties. Worse case scenario they blow up next season and the Suns can resign them as unrestricted FA’s as they’ll have the cap room and their Bird rights-not that they’d receive a long new deal, but they could sweeten the raises in any offer to beat out someone else if they had to in a bidding war. That’s far from likely, but you always keep your options open.

  • 39 mileHighfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    As Forever tries to display ‘white’ manners… his poor Michigan-like-or-mizzou-like-whatever-she-calls herself-SueB-who-hates-Pitino-who-doesnt-have-a-clue-what-shes-even-talking-about-but-idiot-Forever-still-is-infatuated-with-a-married-woman-type of discussion last yr….which only makes him look like a total a__wipe…like he doesnt do any better job by himself as it is…

    Much congratulations to Michigan. But better and more congrats to Louisville!!

    Now I have finally said my peace.

  • 40 mileHighfan // Apr 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    You can finally ban me now. Im ok with that.

  • 41 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    While I will never fully understand the depths of the drama you and Foreveris have had Sammi, I don’t think you’re anywhere near the ‘knowledge’ that Bill Nelson has dropped on us around here. Gonna have to work harder to get banned, see you around!

  • 42 foreveris2long // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    It is always the one with the least to offer that yells the most. Sammi is begging for attention. There is zero substance to her rant and she is likely the dumbest person on the board. However I am flattered that she is thinking of me.

  • 43 foreveris2long // Apr 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Trey Burke may be the best player in the draft. Someone on this board had previously recommended the Suns draft him with their own lottery pick but I am not sure who it was. While I doubt the Suns go the point guard way because of Dragic and Marshall but I think Burke’s upside could be really high.

    What a great game. I would have no problem passing on Noel and getting Dieng with the Lakers pick if it is in the lottery or trading Gortat to get a late lottery pick to secure him. However he could elevate his draft status to top ten.

  • 44 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    @DBreezy -

    Do the Suns make the extension offer to the Morrises in the fall? If so, that should work out perfectly.

    By then the Suns should know 2 things: 1) whether or not the Morrises have improved their shooting to where they are reliable scorers with go-to shots, and 2) how much of a role the Morrises are going to play with the Suns the next season.

    If the twins aren’t hitting their shots, don’t extend them. If the team has deepened to the point where the twins will be nailed to the bench, don’t extend them. Otherwise, yes, extend them.

    I think extending the contract could make the Morrises more attractive to teams, in that they’d be guaranteed cheap salaries. Teams that are looking for expiring contracts are usually looking at larger salaries, not ones in the $2m range (though in this case we’re assuming a team takes both Morri, I suppose).

    Also, any team wanting to cut either Morris could buy out their tiny contracts, so no big deal if they are expiring or not.

    For that matter, if the Suns aren’t going to outright cut Tucker, they should give him a $1-1.5m 2 year contract, 2nd year team option, so he can be traded evenly for some other team’s rookie.

    I think there are teams out there that would take Tucker for their playoffs run in exchange for a rookie who’s looking like more of a project or a possible dud.

  • 45 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    I don’t have updated scouting on Trey Burke yet, but here’s what is available now.

    He’s 6′ with a 6′ 5″ wingspan, and 180 lbs, so he has average size and good length for his position (PG). He has advanced handling skills, a good shooting stroke, some ability to create for others (not a pure playmaker), he is athletic, and he is an aggressive scorer.

    Burke is effective shooting both from spot-up and off the dribble. He shoots 5 3s a game and makes 2 of them. He can shoot midrange shots. Possibly due to his small size, he finds it difficult to finish in the paint against quality opposition.

    Burke scored 18 ppg, shot 81% from FT with 4 FT attempted per game, 7 assists per game (which is fairly high), 1.6 steals, 2 TOs.

    Where Burke may suffer is on the defensive end. He isn’t the toughest or most dedicated defender, doesn’t keep his man in front of him, and often seems to be going at half-speed on defense.

    So, in a way, he’s like Jimmer Fredette, in that he has a great offensive game but the questions about him pertain mostly to being able to play sufficient defense in the NBA.

  • 46 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    A comparison of Burke and Carter-Williams:

    MCW is 5 inches taller, but he and Burke have the same wingspan.

    MCW is 21 and Burke is 20.

    MCW plays both guard spots. Burke really only has the size for PG.

    Burke weighs 180 lbs while MCW is only 175 (too light, would be better at 190, but can he add weight to his frame?).

    Burke is a better scorer, both by number of points per game and by shooting percentage, including 3 pt attempts and FTs.

    MCW gets very slightly more assists per game than Burke.

    Burke is ball-dominant while MCW is not.

    MCW commits slightly more than 3 TOs per game, while Burke has only 2 TOs.

    MCW is better as a spot up shooter than off the dribble, while Burke is good at both.

    MCW gets nearly 3 steals a game, about twice what Burke gets.

    Both players can lose focus on defense.

  • 47 Scott // Apr 8, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I should add that as skinny as Garrett is, he’s listed at 190 lbs. So MCW is about the same height as Garrett but 15 lbs lighter.

  • 48 DBreezy // Apr 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    @Scott,

    I’m only talking about whether or not the Suns pick up the options for the twins final season under their rookie deals, similar to the situation that Johnson was this season. Imo neither of the twins will ever receive extension offers. Beyond the on-court reasons why that is unlikely, extension offers have certain numbers and lengths that I cannot see the Suns voluntarily locking themselves into for what the twins bring to the court.

    As far as what the team will know by the fall deadline to pickup their 4th options? They pretty much know it all now. Odds are that they aren’t going to play on the SL team and they’ll probably work out largely on their own for the bulk of the summer. The team may get a glimpse in late offseason workouts and camp time before the option deadline, but that’s it.

    Imo, extending their contracts down the line or picking up their 4th year options this fall makes them less attractive in trade. Sure their salaries are small, but you have to look forward at the league under the new cba. Contract values and lengths of non-star players have and will continue to plummet in general. That’s part of what makes Dudley an unattractive contract for some teams despite a deal that’s basically at or just below the old MLE. The other part is that he cannot be stretched because he signed under the old cba.

    It’s easy to call a 2m contract no big deal for a luxury tax team when the total contract cost is 4m, not so much when it could be 8M. That’s a pretty big potential savings to a team doing an in-season trade since the LT is calculated on year-end salary. Cost-certainty is becoming a new buzz word in the league which is part of why draft picks aren’t being traded as freely as before and why expiring deals, even small ones have value. Add in the fact that a couple of million can be the difference in what you are able to offer/accept in trades, MLE vs Mini-MLE, and general free agency roster filling and you can see why deals for smaller expiring contracts may generate interest that they didn’t previously.

    As for buyouts, I do not believe that you can buyout or stretch a rookie deal no matter what cba it originated under. Even if you could for a team up against the LT, they’d probably rather have a deal completely off the books reaping all of the roster management benefits vs taking a reduced LT hit and possibly not being able to manage your roster the way you want to because of the cba.

  • 49 john // Apr 9, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Ah, that explains some of the problems with the legal system. And then you throw Tony into the mix, the world’s first 15-year-old lawyer, that’s a recipe for disaster. Note to self, stay out of legal trouble for fear of incompetent lawyers.

    @milehigh – If Tony hasn’t been banned yet, you have no shot. :) In all seriousness though, the only thing so far that I’ve seen that has gotten a rise out of the VotS mods is incessant use of foul language and using homicidal/genocidal maniacs as user names.

  • 50 Forever is2long // Apr 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

    I see John, the village idiot has arrived.

  • 51 john // Apr 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

    And regarding Burke, I know I can’t speak definitively because I’ve watch him play about 20 minutes of basketball (and the guy I’m going to compare him to I’ve watched about 35 minutes), but I don’t see anything world shaking about him. He has good skills, and he will clearly have a place at the next level for quite some time, but I don’t think he’s significantly better than a guy like Jahii Carson, and I don’t think Jahii Carson has much of a future in the NBA outside of warming benches. Burke is probably the best PG in the draft, but last year Marshall was probably the “best” PG in the draft as well. Best PG in the draft can be pretty far down the list of overall players, and I think that’s the case this year. If the Suns get top 5 and take Burke, I’d be disappointed.

  • 52 john // Apr 9, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Oh noes, better watch out. The lawyer with his second-grade insults is in town.

  • 53 Scott // Apr 9, 2013 at 8:17 am

    @DBreezy -

    Sorry if I carelessly mixed terms. I was intending to talk about just the 4th year, as you were.

    I don’t know what the value of that contract would be. If it is on the order of $4m per Morris, then clearly that’s too high.

    I do believe, however, that if either Morris twin is shooting well it would be immediately noticeable in scrimmages. Markieff in particular is just awful, and I have no confidence in any of his shots, period.

  • 54 Scott // Apr 9, 2013 at 8:18 am

    BTW, I don’t know if anyone else here caught it, but Frye’s latest tweet says he believes he’s all healed up and will be playing next season.

  • 55 john // Apr 9, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Scott. I don’t personally read into it the way you do, though. Here’s the tweet, for those who are too last to scroll to it right now or for future reference when it’s no longer easily accessible:

    “I got 5mins to spare questions folks! Also just know I am getting better and I should be able to play next year baring any setbacks!”

    I don’t take that to mean, “I’m all healed up.” I take it to mean, “The healing process is progressing as expected, and assuming it continues to do so, I will be fine to play next season.”

    Either way, I think we’re both expecting the same result (which is what I’ve been expecting all along, given my limited knowledge of viral diseases), and that is that Channing will be on an NBA court in the 2013-14 season.

  • 56 Forever is2long // Apr 9, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Scott, Good stats on Burke. If I was to draw a comparison with someone in the NBA, it would be Kemba Walker with the Bobcats.

    DBreezy, I agree 100% the Suns should not extend the Morris twins. Regarding Reggie Jackson, my point in making reference to him is OKC drafted him in the 1st round knowing they already had two young point guards. Presti primarily drafts based on upside which I think is a winning formula. He took Westbrook when he had very little experience playing the point in college. He seems to appreciate the intangibles in a player and is getting better at it each year.

  • 57 john // Apr 9, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Btw, comment 55 should read … “for those who are too *lazy* to scroll to it…”

    My keyboard is awful, and auto-correct only exacerbates the problem.

  • 58 DBreezy // Apr 9, 2013 at 9:48 am

    @Scott,

    Looking at the cbafaq, here’s what I think the numbers would be for each Morris.

    Kieff: 4th year salary $2,491,032.8, qualifying offer to keep his rfa rights: $3,445,098.3

    Marcus: 4th year salary $2,452,684.1, qualifying offer to keep rfa rights: $3,411,683.50

    Now those numbers are base numbers for 2011-2012 rookies. The cba says that an actual contract can be a minimum of 80% of the scale numbers or as much as 120%. If you recall, the 80% deal is what was the beef was a few years back between the Grizzlies and their pick Xavier Henry which caused what amounted to a mini holdout.

    I believe I read something at that time that most rookie deals are typically for the full 120% figure. That would bump Kieff up to about 3M for his fourth year and his qualifier to 4.1M. Marcus would go to just slightly less than those figures.

    I agree that Kieff is a terrible shooter. There’s no room for a guard, let alone a big that shoots below 40%. As egregious as that is, what’s worse is that he hasn’t been able to translate his best skills from college to the league consistently. His rebounding and defense have not translated. Marcus is probably the better shooter although that’s not saying much. Also, it’s hard not to notice that Marcus played only 17 games as a rookie, shot poorly, and spent most of his time in the D league. Or that the Rox not only gave up on him in his 2nd season, they also gave up on one of the young players ahead of him in Patterson in favor of fellow KU big T.Rob and fellow 2011 draftmate Donatas. Or that in two seasons he’s found his way into two different coach’s doghouses. Even if you ignore the possible transactional benefits of not picking up their options, neither of the twins have done anything to merit those options being picked up.

  • 59 DBreezy // Apr 9, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Foreveris,

    Presti is excellent and yes will take whomever he feels is the best available regardless of what he already he has on his roster. Blanks has had more than one opportunity to answer that question here, and his answer has been the same. He prefers positional need, probably isn’t changing, so cross any pg’s off your potential draft list. It won’t surprise me if they don’t even workout any, possibly only viewing them in one of those group workouts.

    Presti is also excellent at ignoring all of the manic up and down opinions on players that come once the scouts are pushed to the sides and the opinions come mostly from GM’s, owners, and sports writers who only start watching the NCAA in March.

  • 60 Scott // Apr 9, 2013 at 10:01 am

    @john -

    I was trying to convey that whatever feedback Frye is getting from his doctors, it is causing him to BELIEVE he’ll be back, which would mean that he’s healed up; i.e., not only is his condition stable and not worsening, he’s on track to be cleared for training.

    So it sounds like Step A is about complete, and his heart seems to be in good shape. Now he has to successfully complete Step B, to see if it will hold up under a summer full of athletic conditioning.

    I’m sure we’ll get a couple of articles spelling all this out when Frye is officially cleared by his doctors to resume workouts.

  • 61 DBreezy // Apr 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Regarding Frye, my sense is that if healthy he will be on next season’s roster for obvious reasons, but that the current front office has no plans to use him, see Pietrus, Michael.

    Blanks made some very pointed comments about the play at the PF position ahead of drafting Markieff who they originally touted as a potential starter before the lockout occurred. Going into this last summer the organization was again promoting the idea that Kieff could be the starter. They worked with him all summer and got excited about his SL performance although he still shot like shit. Then they went out and got Scola off amnesty and added O’neal before anybody knew anything about Frye’s condition. They also spoke often of Beasley playing the 3 and 4.

    Now I have no idea what Gentry would have done, but it seems pretty clear to me that the hope of his superiors was that the PF position be manned some combo of Scola, Kieff, and Beasley, Gortat and O’Neal at the 5 with Frye taking Hakim Warrick’s old position. This is terrible to say but in honor of Lon’s affinity for cliches, I don’t think absence has made the heart grow fonder here. Channing’s been pretty much out of sight and out of mind for the team . With Hunter and Blanks talking so much about culture change here, it’s hard to imagine a shooting big man being what they’re envisioning unless Lindsey has mistaken him for Sheed.

  • 62 Scott // Apr 9, 2013 at 10:19 am

    @DBreezy -

    I think the long and the short of it is that the twins will either shoot themselves into a contract or out of it. If they’re not reliable shooters they don’t have enough else to offer to keep them in the league. They both need to get a lot closer to 15 PER.

    FWIW, it works in the trade machine to send them both to Sacramento in exchange for Fredette. They seem to get along with Cousins, so maybe that’s an option.

  • 63 john // Apr 9, 2013 at 10:25 am

    @DBreezy – While I would tend to agree with your assessment of the FO’s feelings toward Frye, in the end I don’t think anyone could possibly justify playing the likes of Markieff Morris over Channing Frye (assuming Frye comes back and plays like he has shown he can play). Frye is a competent NBA PF/C who has shown consistent improvement in shooting from range and defending the post, and he has shown mild improvement in scoring from the post as well. Frye is an average NBA player by all measures with one skill bordering on elite (3-pt shooting). Markieff Morris is none of those things.

    I don’t care how stubborn you are, there is no way anyone could play Morris over Frye, in my opinion. If they plan on making Morris the team’s premier 4, then they are getting rid of Frye.

  • 64 Scott // Apr 9, 2013 at 10:30 am

    BTW, if the Suns miss out on the lottery pick from the Lakers, DX has the Suns taking Alan Crabbe. Crabbe is the player featured in today’s new scouting video from former VotSer Mike Schmitz.

    Crabbe is a 6′ 6″ SG with good length and the ability to hit deep, deep 3s and spot up 2s. He shoots about 54% on unguarded catch-and-shoot opportunities. But that’s about it.

    As I see it, the main obstacle with Crabbe is that he could be a bit of a headcase. If he can get past that, he needs to work on his help defense, his man defense, his handling, his passing, his shot creation, strength, athleticism, killer instinct / mental toughness, and so on. It’s not impossible for him to improve, but this is why despite shooting fairly well and having good size, he’s at the bottom of the first round.

    http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Allen-Crabbe-6477/

  • 65 Scott // Apr 9, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Regarding Frye … my impression last summer was that they were thinking of using him as backup C, and the presumed gimpy O’Neal was C #3.

    When Frye went out with the enlarged heart, the Suns moved O’Neal to #2 C and picked up Zeller to be #3.

  • 66 Forever is2long // Apr 9, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Here is what was said about T. Burke before the final four (Draft.net),
    “It’s Trey Burke’s world and everyone else is just living in it right now, at least the college basketball world. Burke won the AP player of the year award on Thursday and continues to prove that he’s not only the best player in college basketball this season, but a tremendous pro prospect as well.

    He plays the game with a chip on his shoulder and has that clutch gene that few possess. ”

    They said if he led his team to a championship, he could be a top 5 pick. While I suspect the Suns will not have any interest in him due to present point guards, he could cause a team in front of the Suns (Orlando) to take him, dropping someone to the Suns. As I would not take Oladipo with the number 3 pick, I would invite all offers to trade down if it will net the Suns a lottery pick and another 1st round pick. Now maybe it allows McLemore to fall to the Suns who I guess the Suns would have to strongly consider. While I am not in love with his game as he did not show during March Madness, I guess his body of work during the year could warrant him being selected at #3.

  • 67 john // Apr 9, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I think the players’ tourney performances are wildly overrated, in most instances. A great tourney and a championship run can translate to great NBA success (Carmelo Anthony), mild NBA success (Emeka Okafor), or nothing significant (tons of guys to consider, but one guy that comes to mind for me is Brandon Rush, and yes, I know he wasn’t top 5 or anything).

    There are plenty of guys who have become NBA superstars who didn’t have great tourney runs. Barkley, Durant (I’m thinking he only made it to the second round, but I could be wrong about that), Harden, and on and on and on. Tourney performance counts for something, but when it counts for too much you end up picking Derrick Williams at #2 because he had a few good games.

    I would bank on ceiling first, body of work second, tourney performance third.

  • 68 Scott // Apr 9, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Isn’t this the takeaway from the Louisville – Michigan game?

    Glenn Robinson III: 38 min, 3-4 shooting, 6-8 FT, 12 pts
    Tim Hardaway Jr: 35 min, 5-13 shooting, 2-4 FT, 12 pts
    Trey Burke: 26 min, 7-11 shooting, 7-9 FT, 24 pts

    … but …

    Spike Albrecht: 28 min, 6-9 shooting, 4-5 3 pt, 17 pts

    In other words, the draft stars were nearly completely outplayed by a scrub nobody was talking about …?

    And from the winning side …

    Gorgui Dieng: 37 min, 4-6 shooting, 8 reb, 6 assists, 4 PF, 3 blocks, 2 TO, 8 pts

  • 69 DBreezy // Apr 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    @Scott,

    If it’s on their shooting, I think we know the answer with the twins!

    @John,

    I agree which is why I said I didn’t know if Gentry would have done it. Hunter might going forward. It wouldn’t be hard to say that they’re going to ease Frye in during camp and the early season, giving Scola, Kieff, Beasley, or possibly someone drafted/picked up this summer more than ample time to claim that role. Frye’s kind of like Lopez was to me at the end. You can make all the arguments you want about his game, but the powers that be have pretty made up their mind on how it’s going to be.

    @Foreveris,

    While I’m not really sold on anybody outside of a healthy Noel, I was think the other day that McLemore is kind of like the ‘guarantee fairy’ that Tommy Boy was talking about. He’s got a great stroke,an athletic body that absolutely looks the part of a prototypical NBA 2 guard, and seems like a good kid. He’s someone you could parade in front of your bosses and the media as a great pick and not get too much heat when it doesn’t pan out over things that are fairly obvious already. Smilin’ Wes knows all about that.

    I’m not sold on anyone yet as they all have issues, but when I look at BMac, Shabazz, and even Goodwin the thing that jumps out to me are that two of those three are ‘killers.’ That want the ball in their hands and they want that big shot. I’m sure we’ll have lots of debates on all of the skill stuff and potential future development with these guys and more, but to me you really can’t teach that attack instinct. It’s like a big without a motor, it’s just never going to happen with those guys. After all the grief Harrison Barnes took for not getting to the rim enough and not MAKING enough big shots, you would think BMac would get more for disappearing completely.

  • 70 Forever is2long // Apr 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    DBreezy I am presently not sold on anyone for a top 5 pick except maybe Burke (definitely has killer instinct) who I think has star potential. Noel, no due to health issues (my mind can be changed if Suns staff gives reassurance) and others because of talent or grossly inconsistent play. In 30 days I may be of the opinion Dieng is worthy of a top 5 pick. I know the salary scale on rookie contracts is not that big of a deal but the Suns cannot get a Greg Oden in this draft.

    Burke performed well during the season in a tough conference and even better in March Madness when the pressure was on and the competition intensified.

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