Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns

Posted by on October 22nd, 10:16 am

Time: 7 p.m. MST

TV: Not on television

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The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t expect to play Kevin Durant on Tuesday as they visit the Phoenix Suns, according to beat writer Darnell Mayberry, but that only creates for more intrigue in an NBA preseason battle. After all, it seems highly unlikely the Suns would be with Goran Dragic, who sprained his ankle Thursday.

What can we take from the Suns’ second-to-last preseason game of the year?

Will the Suns hint to who’s firmly in the lineup?

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek loses a night to establish more continuity between his backcourt, but if there was one player we know what to expect from, it’s Dragic. Eric Bledsoe will likely be the starter at point guard — hey, maybe we can gain more confidence about any extension talk — and perhaps Phoenix will tip its hand at who sits firmly in the rotation, be it Shannon Brown, Gerald Green, Marcus Morris, Archie Goodwin or Kendall Marshall.

From a traditional standpoint, Brown seems to make sense in a high-octane, up-tempo system. But Hornacek could also slide P.J. Tucker to the shooting guard spot and start a small forward like Green or Morris, both of whom would provide equal, if not better, shooting than Brown.

Additionally, Marshall and Goodwin will likely each find themselves with more playing time than normal with Dragic out. For them, Tuesday is a chance to impress the coaching staff.

How testy will it be in the paint?

Quick, name three Thunder players who will test the Suns’ toughness. Mayberry reports that Kendrick Perkins is a go for the meeting at U.S. Airways Center, and his reputation speaks for itself. Hasheem Thabeet will be suspended for a regular-season opener for head-butting New Orleans’ Greg Stiemsma, and rookie big man Steven Adams — one of the most entertaining of the Suns’ predraft workout invitees – is having a pretty great preseason. If you’re a Suns fan upset about the Alex Len draft pick and unwilling to wait for him to develop, keep an eye on Adams’ production this year when validating your complaints.

Anyway, that’s not including the Thunder’s best big man, Serge Ibaka, who will surely test Markieff Morris inconsistent motor that has been not so bad the last few games.

Does Diante Garrett haunt his old Suns team?

Talk about returns … OK, maybe not. Still, the shifty point guard has found himself in a seemingly solid situation since leaving Phoenix. After all, if a class organization like Oklahoma City picks him up, that can only mean people not only noticed him but were impressed. Garrett has gotten decent enough run this preseason and could end up squaring off against old practice mate, Kendall Marshall.

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: Oklahoma City Thunder · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Preview

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott // Oct 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    If I could watch this game on TV, I would … to see Adams play.

    If Perkins is playing, then maybe we might see Len or Plumlee against Adams?

  • 2 Ty-Sun // Oct 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I just found this article about the Suns games being streamed live on the web.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2013/10/22/phoenix-suns-games-may-soon-be.html

    Not much on details but still good news for fans.

  • 3 John C. // Oct 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    So far this preseason, I’ve been able to watch all of the Suns games here:

    http://firstrowus1.eu/sport/basketball.html

  • 4 DBreezy // Oct 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    No KD tonight, would have been nice for the SF auditions of Green and Morris.

  • 5 Foreveris2long // Oct 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I hope they give Green some quality minutes tonight so I can see how he measures against a team that is defensive minded. Reggie jackson and Bledsoe should have fun playing against each other as both are really quick athletic point guards who are trying to prove they are good NBA caliber point guards.

  • 6 Azbballfan // Oct 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    rumor has it that Faried is on the trade block and would command alot to be dealt

    the Suns probably have some interest in him

    but would need to move Gortat and a pick and take back two salaries in addition to Faried to make it work

    Darrell Arthur, Faried, and Quincy Miller to Denver for Gortat and one of our 1st rounders either from Minny or Indiana is probably whats its going to take

    Arther is a quality backup, Faried would solve long term problems at the 4 spot and can play a bit of the 3

    Denver gets a solid bigman in Gortat on a expiring, plus possibly a pick in the draft

    so basically the Suns would be trading their late to middle 1st for Faried

    could be a good trade

    The Suns will still need to cut Macolm Lee, Kravtsov, and Nunnelly and probably ish smith too to end up with the max number of guaranteed deals for opening night

    i guess it all comes down to what Denver would want and who the Suns think will be there at anywhere from 15 to 28 in the draft

  • 7 Foreveris2long // Oct 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I would not trade a 1st rounder and Gortat who I like but do not love as an undersized four. Also why would Denver want Gortat when Brian Shaw has gone on record complimenting J. McGee who is playing pretty good in preseason? Especially when you consider a power forward like Randall with Kentucky could be in the Suns sights should they secure a top three lottery pick.

  • 8 DBreezy // Oct 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Azbballfan,

    You have to look at the timing of all of these players who ‘suddenly’ appear to be on the market. All are very good 3rd year players who are up for extensions. The way the cba is written, there is no reason for many of these guys to accept less than the max right now and demand to be their teams’ designated player in an attempt to get a 5year deal.

    If you buy in on these guys now, you’re buying in on a potential 4, possibly 5 year mini-max contract in less than year’s time. Also there is no longer a home team advantage for RFA’s beyond the right to match. You can still do extend and trades, but there’s nothing stopping another team from designating a player and adding a 5th year. So that advantage to extend or sign and trades is gone and so is the one that allowed a trading team to offer higher raises to their own player-that was the impetus for Amar’e agreeing to a sign and trade with the Knicks.

    Personally I think it’s too early in the Suns rebuild to have two guys who will likely be asking for max or near max contracts next summer who aren’t clear franchise changers at this point. I wouldn’t mind seeing if Faried would work here this season if the Gortat offers still stink, but I wouldn’t give them a pick and I wouldn’t do it before Oct 31st. There’s a chance that both Faried and Bledsoe ar gone by next July for nothing so keep the picks out of it. The Suns are too talent starved and Arthur and a one legged Miller with a questionable worth ethic don’t satisfy.

  • 9 EBJM // Oct 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    The Faried rumors started so Denver G.M. Tim Connelly could guage his value. Nuggets are a mess, they fire Karl after a record 57 eins and lost Ujuri due to Josh Kroenke getting too involved in player decisions. They traded starting center Kostas Koufos simply to pave the way for JaVale McGee to start because he couldn’t win the job under Karl. They then had to convince Timofrey Mosgov to stay because he was heading back to Europe. They have zero interest in bring Gortat.

    Darrell Arthur came over from Memphis for Kostas, great trade for Memphis as Arthur isn’t any better than Markieff. Faried was a Karl favorite who doesn’t fit in Shaw’s offense as Hickson is getting every opportunity to start and old board favotite Anthony Randolph has suddenly emerged under Shaw leaving Faried having to earn his minutes and prove himself all over again.

    So Faried could be had but Connelly is trying to bank on Faried’s success under Karl to get some value in return. But Faried doesn’t look to be in the Nugget’s long-term plans.

  • 10 DBreezy // Oct 23, 2013 at 1:17 am

    EBJM,

    I don’t doubt that the Nugs have shopped Faried or that any other GM hasn’t gauged the interest in their players. I still the public talk about it now has more to do with agents than anything. Particularly with Faried and Monrow who have a body of work that could set them up for the mini max right now if their agents can drum up interest.

    Those two have a lot to potentially lose this season. Andre Drummond is coming, and with Josh Smith’s presence as well, Monroe’s numbers could suffer even as the Pistons improve. Tony Mitchell has looked good early too in the front court so that could be a factor as well in costing Monroe some dollars next summer. Denver is in flux, and the unspoken thing is that none of Phil Jackson’s disciples have really found success as head coaches. That has to be worrisome to a guy like Faried along with the stuff you mentioned as I believe he has the talent to beat out those other guys over time.

  • 11 ?????? ??? // Nov 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I love it when individuals come together and share ideas.

    Great blog, continue the good work!

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