Notes: Goran Dragic re-injures ankle, Suns defense shines


Goran Dragic told Paul Coro that his left ankle injury in the Phoenix Suns’ Sunday night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder was worse than the one suffered in the preseason. Indeed, a re-injury is a cause for concern, but the circumstance adds to the worry.

Dragic’s second ankle sprain in less than three weeks came on a Eurostep play and without contact. Add in the fact that he surprisingly returned from the first injury — one that looked pretty bad itself — so soon, and it’d be safe to say the Suns should be extra cautious about their point guard’s health.

“It’s frustrating, but I have to be strong,” Dragic told Coro as Phoenix now looks to Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. “Maybe it’s because I played the whole summer (for Slovenia’s national team), but I feel good. Maybe I just don’t have luck. I’ll be strong, work on this and come back stronger.”

The Suns have done fine in the last two second halves once Dragic has left. On Friday against the Utah Jazz, Dragic left the game in the second half after colliding with P.J. Tucker in the second quarter. Then on Sunday, he left in the third quarter again after turning the ankle on a fastbreak layup.

Eric Bledsoe has seemingly stepped up with Dragic out, and it’s not a problem for him to earn more valuable playing time as the true point guard. At the same time, it could be also looked at as worrisome that Bledsoe at times struggled playing alongside Dragic. On Sunday, he recorded eight turnovers, most of which came before his teammate’s injury.

Above all, Dragic’s health will be the thing to watch. There’s no harm in sitting him as long as he needs, and the medical staff will need to find reason to convince the thick-skinned point guard that resting is the best option.

Suns’ defense, not offense, shines early on

The Suns were going to push the tempo in 2013-14 because they needed to. There aren’t enough shooters on the roster to have all that efficient of an offense, so scoring off rebounds and forced turnovers was always a big key.

Phoenix is only 19th in pace thus far, and it’s clear they’re not pushing the tempo off makes as coach Jeff Hornacek has hoped.

But there have been spurts of fastbreaking, and it’s the defense that’s really getting the Suns in the open floor and keeping them in games. Phoenix turned the ball over 25 times against Oklahoma City in a 103-96 loss, yet the Suns were in it until more turnovers and big plays by Kevin Durant put the Thunder over the top.

Need to see the numbers? According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Suns have the third-best defensive rating by giving up 98 points per 100 possessions.

Jeff Hornacek’s team is in the top-five in above-the-break three-point attempts by holding teams to 28.9 percent from that zone, according to NBA.com’s stats tool. And Phoenix is first in corner three-point defense. They are also second by allowing teams to shoot just 49.4 percent in the restricted area of the paint.

By design or not, Phoenix is defending the three and changing shots at the rim. Of course, it’s early, but it’s a much better sign of things to come. It’s also a sign that a team that was arguably one of the least athletic teams in the league last season has really benefited by becoming arguably one of the most athletic teams thanks to all of general manager Ryan McDonough’s roster moves.

Grant Hill dishes on Inside Stuff

Jared Zwerling sat down with former Phoenix forward Grant Hill, the new host of NBA’s Inside Stuff, and got a few solid bits about Hill’s time with the Suns.

Hill discusses the Suns training staff, calls Mike D’Antoni a genius and says one of his fondest memories was sweeping the San Antonio Spurs in the 2010 playoffs.

  • Foreveris2long

    To avoid the condition from becoming chronic I would consider sitting him for at least two or three weeks. It is so easy to tweak your ankles when they are not 100%. He has gotten off to such a nice start I would hate to see him hampered all season with a bum ankle. Get some rest Dragic.

  • vtsunrise

    I agree with you, Forever, except for Sunday’s home game. I think it would be nice for him to make an exception for just that one game. I don’t get to PHX that often…

  • EBJM

    I wonder what the Guinness World record is for length of friendships without having ever met the other people? I feel like I’ve known you guys forever! Or is that Forever?

  • Smovas

    EBJM, come on down to Phx on Sunday. Not that far if you’re still in Vegas.

  • Ty-Sun

    I said it again and again… defense. Horny obviously understands.

    No team needs to play great offensively if they play great defensively. That’s the real reason the Suns have won 2 of 3 and came close to winning all 3.

    Defense.

    The only two players that don’t seem to have bought into Horny’s defense first plan are the Morris twins. Or perhaps they just can’t play D at the NBA level.

    But I think it’s defense that’s gotten them to 2-1.

  • ShanMan

    Team has been playing great defense for the most part. Definately looks like a good young foundation to build around. It was very noticable when Dragic went down, that Bledsoe was the only true offensive weapon. Yes, Green did hit a bunch of threes but they looked forced and like a last resort option. Frye and the twins still just jacking up shots the second it touches their hands. I don’t mind this in Frye as much. This is the first game I have been able to watch on tv by the way, just what my observations were finally seeing one.

  • Luka

    Can we please trade the Morris twins already?

  • ShanMan

    Oh and did anyone notice something strange with the score in last night’s game? It didn’t make a difference, but late in the third quarter, the score was 65-61. Frye hit a three pointer putting Phx up 68-61. Thunder called a timeout, and when play resumed, the score changed to 66-61. They never got those two points added back from what I saw. Did anyone else see this?

  • noitallman

    Part of the reason the D is better, or should I say a big reason it is better, is because you replaced a lineup with two players that were incapable or unwilling to play defense with at least one that is and the other that will at least try to be adequate. Last season you had Beasely and Gortat in the lineup often. Beasely obviously was a huge detriment. Gortat, despite what people thought, wasn’t very good either. Yes he bangs around, but he was horrific guarding the pick and roll, and was not much of a deterrent inside as the season progressed. Scola was much better on that end, despite being slow – he was good at positioning and being a pest.

    Plumlee has the lateral quickness to hedge and recover much better on the PNR, and Frye has a solid IQ about where to be. Plus, Bledsoe, dragic and Tucker are very good in the passing lanes.

  • vtsunrise

    Re: the disappearing 2 points – yeah – was that like turning back the clock for the end of daylight saving time? Seriously, what happened? Had they put on 2 points too many? There has to be an explanation…

  • vtsunrise

    Or, it was the Scoring Nazi – “No Points For You!”

  • Luka

    The refs gift wrapped a game for OKC. The ref getting in the way of a deflected ball and then having OKC run the other way pissed me off. The Suns played great, but they definitely got screwed.

  • EBJM

    Smovas I was just in Tempe 5 weeks ago and 11 weeks ago. I’m currently in Houston probably at least until the New Year and then possibly the U.K. or Kenya. If I end up in the U.K. I’ll see Rude before I get another chance at meeting some of you back in Phoenix.

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    ShanMan,

    Those two points were taken away on that play where Eric Bledsoe scored on a drive as the clock was expiring — replay showed it was after the shot clock went off.

  • foreveris2long

    EBJM, When you return to the U.S. next year and foresee a trip to Phoenix, let me know and I will make plans accordingly. Besides I need to visit my old employer near Phoenix.

  • EBJM

    Forever my parents just moved to a new home in Goodyear so I’ll definitely be in Phoenix a couple of times.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Smovas….what part of town you live in ?

  • dave:f32

    Goran`s absence conveniently diminishes our Phx Suns starting lineup effectiveness, so im all for it. #Wiggins4Pres…? Hopefully, but Randle`s game is pretty sic too

  • MidnightSuns

    Upon reading this and seeing him and Bledsoe in the back court together makes me think of Bill Parcells who would tell his players who asked if they could come out of a game. Just be wary of coming out of the huddle cause you never know who’s going in for you.

    To me that means watching Eric slide over to the point after Goran’s collision with PJ. And see him really take off both games and really find his grove while scoring and dishing both times after Dragic is gone. Well I just wonder if GD continues to miss too much time if it doesn’t start a conversation of “Is Dragic playing along side him holding Bledsoe back a bit?”. And I say this because After the UT and OKC game it has some merit. At least this far.

  • dave:f32

    @midnight… Yeah, i hear you and agree. Maybe the Suns realize just how much they want to keep Bledsoe, so they will themselves to believe its justified to trade Dragic along with the Twins and/or Frye so they dont have to answer the fallout ffrom paying Bledsoe more than what Dragic is currently being compen$@ted… Its a dirty game that im sure SaveApenny to pay a quarter doesnt mind playing, if the past moves is any indicator.)

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Midnight….When ya boil it down, both guys are PG’s…and in the end one will probably have to go & it will probably be Goran.
    Unless there are huge problems re-signing Bledsoe.

  • MidnightSuns

    -Hawk/Dave. Both of you guys speak of re=signing Bledsoe and at what price as the major determining factor in which one stays. I see the it the same way. If Bledsoe is offered the max it’s because he likely is playing like one. If Bledsoe continue(s)?to be the best option to close out games then why not? Even on the defensive end he’s getting crucial steals and being a pest in general. Seeing Bledsoe go toe to toe in crunch time with Westbrook is making Dragic look expendable rather quickly.

    Still the Dragon is a special player. But really if it’s if like you guys said. If you can only payout one then that’s the direction you naturally go. And cash out the other one for another useful piece to the rebuilding puzzle. it seems kinda obvious yet I know nothing in life or Pro-sports is that simple, yet i can’t seem to get this song out of my head whenever I think of these nu Suns. “Who should stay and who should go” If they both stay there will be trouble” If the wrong one goes it will be double”..Haha.

    After just one game I was completely undecided but I know the FO must be watching them closely. Seeing Bledsoe close out games in the dominate fashion he’s been doing it is making this murky situation after the trade, much more clear in live action.

  • dave:f32

    @midnight, after having success in being employed by many corporations you learn over time that despite minor differences, they tend to think alike. I see it as the Suns having no problems clearing out ALL players associated with the last regime because it allows the new GM the freedom to architect this team as he see he should without having to give up any credit to those players/ex-GM when this team finally has success in the future. Thats my humble assessment…

  • dave:f32

    Dragic being signed in the Blank Era, the “s” intentionally left off cuz the Suns were stuck on stupid in that era.

  • MidnightSuns

    -Dave – trade fry/twins

    Now that you mention this . Is it weird that I don’t care how Fry or the Wonder Twins play good or bad?After the game I feel pretty ambivalent about a W/L and I really need/want to see our future out there on the court like Alex and Archie.

    But between buzzers my palms are getting sweaty and I’m all in for a Win sure. But whenever Fry or the Super Twins score I’m just all so/so like “yea whatever, if those guys are still here next season that means there’s a snag in Plan A.

    Tho not to sound like too much of an ungrateful bastard, I have grown to really admire Channing Fry’s work ethic on how hard it must be to make it back from a scary heart ailment. Watching the Morris twins play like the Olsen Twins have me appreciating that the team has the Chan man to start at PF. Still I think their names are taped on the back of there jerseys rather then stitched..#nowatImsayun

  • Smovas

    @ Hawki – I’m in North Phx. I-17 / 101 area

  • dave:f32

    CF is Charmin soft, and thats not how a PF should be unless its K Love.. And the Twins, man, are they lazy or what? No heart, or desire cuz they knw some other dumb team will payem when they leave Phx cuz their Kansas pedigree, ala KM via NC… Alex Len, if hes not a “bust” per se, he`s busted logic in that Suns really had no business taking a gamble on a player with a busted foot, given Suns track record with recent draft picks. If you knew u were gonna Scrap for Wiggins why not have packaged some of their more marketable players to move up in the draft to get a cant-miss like Oladipo…

  • dave:f32

    Lets hope they allow Len to rest this season, and hope hes not a bust in the jake suckalidis, or schitisvili, or casey jacobsen, list goes on cuz i know im missing some players in that ilk

  • MidnightSuns

    -Dave -Clank Era

    Can you still believe Bobby boy brought in some 3rd wheel from the dumpster in Cleveland? to manage the GM duties? If you have to take another whole season to finish subtracting his mistakes that’s 4 years behind in the rebuilding effort.

    To be fair and balanced towards the truth tho is that with Nash still on one good leg and the Valley still caught up in SSOL. Sarver was still pretty far off from letting go of his favorite Corporate spokesman. – See Nash addressing the season ticket holders at the end and beginning of the 10/11 seasons. Just how was Babby and Clank supposed to go about re-building when you are mandated to reload up for a fun filled bottom seed run??

    And it was Sarver who intervened on behalf of Babby to swoop in and offer more money for Dragic in FA. And IIRC that we got GD below what his agent was asking from Hou. Id think the single best deal that came out of that era.. and it was instigated from Bob Saver himself. huh?..? How do things like that even happen?? ..lol Still if only Bob could’ve realized GD could be had at such a mid leval price BEFORE the draft. Blanks would never have felt the urgency to grab a PG in the draft that year..*sigh

  • dave:f32

    What does it all mean, midnight (Sarver?lol jk;) ? If they are gonna let The Dragon go, obviously a serviceable team player, why would i give any love to the one person i hold responsible for my team TANKING this year, for ONE good thing he does in vying to resign Dragic, when he lets him go 2 yrs later. Thats really not sayin much for how the F O views the fans: “they will live with the moves that we make, and be happy with it.” $arver bats 1 for 200. Whoa, that is news.

  • MidnightSuns

    -Dave – Len/tsaklidis

    Whoa! Whoaaa. Hang on now my friend. I totally get Suns illustrious track record with big men but that was all in another time and era. Look I wanted Roy Hibbert But I knew with the GM and the coaching style/system I was getting Robin Lopez and all the “Most NBA ready” Spin, that comes with an unpopular pick.

    No spin from this regime or should I leave Babby out of the draft and just go ahead and give the guy I really want to give all the credit to anyways and just say McD?

    THIS is a genuine, rock solid, sincere rebuilding effort from McD. THIS is not all the retooling crap we got sold on from Planet Orange. Pretty sure McD didn’t draft a raw, gangling creature like Alex Len to compete for the starters minutes this year or even next. All you here about len is his frame looks like it can hold another 20 to 30 pounds and they brought out Mark West and that guy from a very good bigs system program from the Celtics.

    Len is not up for judging this year. Please! Now in his case it’s really just put down the microscope and pick up the foam finger whenever Len does anything resembling an NBA player at this point in time. Tho I do [get] the skepticism. That little jerk is in my head spouting off too whenever I see him getting pushed around underneath the basket or trying to pass to someone sitting on the bench because they’re the only players he recgonizes..lol

  • Bruce Kimura

    Its not really fair to say that Bledsoe and Dragic haven’t played well on the court together. The first game, they were awesome and played off each other well. In the second game, Bledsoe got into foul trouble and had to sit on the bench, and when he finally came back in, Dragic got injured. With the OKC game, they looked pretty solid in limited minutes, then Dragic got injured again. We need a bigger sample size before we can start making assumptions about them. If there is anything to take away, its that the Sun’s are much more dangerous offensively with both players on the court. Their best offensive game so far was against Portland and they both shined in that game

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    @ Smovas
    Need ride Sunday…I’m at 51st ave & Northern…little out of yer way but I’ll buy beers.

  • dave:f32

    McD knows what he`s doin so he is the sole beacon of illumination within the franchise. Phx needed him badly, though… But, Len was a big project pick, and there were other N B A ready players at #5, whn they knew beforehand what kind of season it would be cap-wise… And Robin Lopez looked every bit the scrub he is the other night, being outplayed by Plums. Steve Kerr is 20/20, but i knew he would be a horrible GM

  • dave:f32

    Newsflash: Bruce… For all those that have been living in the nice “air”-conditioned buildings underground for a year or two, the Phoenix Suns arent too concerned with how well Dragic and Bledsoe play together in the immediate future. Nor are they concerned with how many wins are generated this season. Its a `win:win`, `lose:win` $3@$0n Liquidation Sale…. Wiggins? Randle? Parker? Comes down to money for Bledsoe, and not bein able to offer Dragic anywhere close to tht amount. There can only remain 1 of those 2

  • MidnightSuns

    -Dave -don’t make me say it

    You’re going to make me say it aren’t you?..lol Hey look I wanted Noel so bad when he was still there at 5. for a fkin Ukrainian {yea I know what I sound like but those guys can turn out to be so unmotivated once they get over here) I felt like I could just take to the Internet and go all George Zimmerman. Now after I let gravity bring me back down it’s more – hey these picks don’t need to start getting it for a couple of years anyway. Who cares about what guy is doing whatever for whoever now when the Suns need/desperate for some high picks that have at least a fair chance to turn into future stars.

    Take Micheal Carter Williams/Archie Goodwin.
    One is shinning pretty bright while the other one is basking in the shade of the bench. But what does your gut tell you of those two in ..say 3 years from now? I think Goodwin is in a position to become a pretty special player with his tools. MCW may not be much more then what he alrady is?? I know You know what I’m getting at.

    Even tho I really wanted a more sure thing with Nerlens Noel whom I see as Marcus Camby 2.0. Len with his frame could be a more skilled big man that could do more damage in the post. All this of course is on the coaching staff as much as McD and his players, but I’m really liking how well coached they look and very surprised to see this team doesn’t seem to suffer from those “what play we’re we supposed to run now??” moments you get from young teams. And even more impressive is how disciplined this young team plays on the road. And maybe their individual defense isn’t so hot but their -t-e-a-m defense and rebounding has been really downright odd to witness for a Suns team.

    IOW I really like our Draft picks to develop in what is turning out to be a real pro-grade program. Coach H has an actual system in place he is not going about it all whichever way the wind blows like say the Clippers, Kings,76rs, Bucks, Cavs, Wiz, have gone on for seemingly years on end with a slew of high draft picks and never a solid system to match the players potential that they never reach.

    we don’t need the most NBA ready picks drafted here. like a Noel. I honestly believe that reaching for potential is called for here [now] if they can finally teach/play smart, fundamental basketball. (Always thought Amare` was kinda ruined being primed to be not much more then a p/n/r machine for Nashgetball). Really liking the fact too that Coach H is from the Jerry Sloan old of school of fundamental coaching and temperament/professionalism. Yes I’am loving/gushing on this team and organization all over again in spit of bob sarver.

    Wow I din’t realize how much I had to say on the subject of reaching for potential vs more NBA ready players with the College resume. Still , I really am becoming convinced that McD and Coach H have a real plan for just about everything going forward. Sorry about the essay. Uhh ready for the next game now..Haha

  • MidnightSuns

    -Bruce -looking good together:

    You’re very right. They both play really well off each other. My point about Dragic possibly missing more time is that so far (small sample yes but it is what is right now) is that when GD is out of the game plan. Bledsoe is free to take the game over. And honestly if this dude had a consistent 20 to 28 footer he would be invited to the All-Star Game already.

    Look I realize it’s not a thing right now . I just can’t help myself wondering which one is going to be the next great Suns Point Guard of the future. It’s just really unlikely that we stick with both after the season you know? I just really don’t see that happening. See how good Donte Christmas looked next to EB too? just pointing out how nice a real SG looked next to him for drive and kicks. Love my man Goran tho. it’s pretty tough to sort out for me right now. For me it’s like the contrast of styles. Who do you pick KJ or Nash but you can’t have both? That would be cheating.. ;]

  • vtsunrise

    All these references to VtSunsDay. Counting down the days. Gonna be fun.

  • EBJM

    They already drafted Len so I say sit him and bring him along slowly because of the ankle BUT BEFORE the draft I has issues with both Len and Noel because they were already injured and only 20 years old.

    I think we can all agree the last draft was pretty weak BUT you have to wonder why a player such as Carter-Williams lasted until #11? McLemore was hyped and was picked two spots after Len.

    Cavaliers started the slide by trying to fill a need with Bennett who has started the season 0-15 FGs. Don’t teams review draft histories? How have previous “tweeners” fared? Beasley? Derrick Williams?

    Bennett looks worse than the Bulls #16 pick of ’09 “tweener” James Johnson who couldn’t make a weak Hawks roster after being cut lose by the Bulls, Raptors and Kings. Personally I think JJ is better than the Morris twins.

    Philly gives up an All-Star PG to obtain Noels whose ceiling might be Marcus Camby but is out for the season? Philly was in full rebuild mode after giving up Iggy for Bynum who never played a game for them because of chronically bad knees.

    Comparing Len to Tsakalidis and Tskitishvili is apples and oranges. Tsakalidis was taken #25, the proper pick to take a flyer on a 7′-1″ 285# center. Jake was serviceable but way too slow for the uptempo Suns.

    Tskitishvili was drafted #5 but by Denver not Phoenix. Denver dumped him on the Wolves and then at Mike D’Antoni’s urging only gave up a #57 pick to take him off the Wolves hands.

    D’Antoni loved him and had him Benetton Treviso and I quote, “I could’ve sworn that he’d be great,” D’Antoni said.

    But remember that Denver picking him at #5 and Nene at #7 helped Amare drop to #9 for the Suns.

    Funny thing about Tskitishvili was that he was a back-up for D’Antoni at Benetton Treviso.

    I think the Suns picking William Bedford at #6 is a better comparison. Suns passed on Roy Tarpley who at his best was Tim Duncan. But unfortunately that draft was the year of the drug addict. Len Bias, Chris Washburn, Bedford and Tarpley. What a waste.

    So it seems the draft should have went like this:
    1) Victor Oladipo
    2) Carter-Williams
    3) Ben McLemore
    4) Steven Adams
    5) Trey Burke
    6) Otto Porter
    7) Caldwell-Pope
    8) Cody Zeller
    9) Anthony Bennett
    10) C.J. McCollum

    Those players look to have a future in the NBA.

    Taking injured 20 year old centers Noel and Len sure seems like a very high risk especially that even if they had perfect health before the draft neither looked like they could dominate the NBA.

    Oh well, Phoenix has a history of selecting bad centers that predate both Blanks and McMiracle.

    A stress fracture in the ankle of a center brings back memories of Bill Walton who eventually had surgery to fuse both of his ankles. Of course the Suns training staff is light-years ahead of the archaic medical practice of the Blazers who just pumped Walton full of pain killers and sent him back on the court.

  • Scott

    I really like what MCW has been doing lately. I haven’t seen him play, but those numbers are outstanding.

    I’d pointed him out on VotS before he started college – before Marshall was drafted, in fact – saying MCW was a guy the Suns could possibly use as a combo guard.

    However, I was feeling a bit foolish for endorsing him so strongly, so many times, when MCW was fumbling around in draft workouts and in pre-season. I thought I’d finally made a bad pick!

    MCW has been playing well, but I think he’s still best used as a combo guard, not as PG. Get someone quicker and smaller with a big wingspan, like Bledsoe or Schroeder as your PG, and play MCW as your SG. He has all of the qualities you want in a shooting guard.

    I would have taken MCW ahead of Trey Burke, McLemore, Bennett, and others in this draft. All those skills are hard to come by.

    And I still want him to add another 10 lbs.

  • vtsunrise

    EBJM,
    So easy to second guess draft picks. How many are 100% or even 90% sure bets? Look at guys like Kobe and Nash. Weren’t they both early to mid-teens? Maybe that was an amazing super-rich draft.

    For what it’s worth, going on very little knowledge of the college players and their backgrounds, I loved what I saw of Trey Burke in the NCAA tourney last year. I also loved Jimmer and Stephen Curry. If they shine THAT brightly in the madness of March, can they not do rather well in the insanity of the NBA?

    Anyway, if the Suns have 3 or 4 picks in the top 15 or 20, I imagine that bodes rather well, especially if they pick with teammates/chemistry/fit in mind.

  • vtsunrise

    Case in point. 1996 draft.
    http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_history/1996.html

    Aside from Kobe & Nash, Derek Fisher @ 24 and Jermaine ONeal @17 have done much better in their careers than Shareef Abdur-Rahim @3, Kerry Kittles @8, Samaki Walker @9, etc.

    But what a draft – Iverson @1, Camby @2, Marbury @4, Ray Allen @5, Antoine Walker @6, and Kobe @13 & Nash @15.

    What were those 14 teams thinking, passing on Kobe?

  • vtsunrise

    errrr. 12 teams passed on Kobe, 14 on Nash.

  • vtsunrise

    History of #1 choices – only lists until 2008 – but look at how many #1s were busts or so-so/decent vs amazing. For every Lebron, Shaq or Dwight Howard, there was a Bogut, Oden or a Kwame Brown…

    http://www.nba.com/history/top_picks.html

  • Smovas

    @Hawki – No problem. My email is billdanforth@yahoo.com send me your info and time.

  • EBJM

    VT you missed my point. Of course hindsight is 20/20. Teams have historically went after centers instead of the best player available. My point is that IMO there were 10 solid picks ahead of both Alex Len and Noel Nerlens.

    Then you factor in both were already damaged goods on draft day and the memory of the Blazers selection of Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan comes to mind.

    As far as Kobe being drafted #13 you have to remember that prior to Kevin Garnett being drafted the prior summer it had been 20 years since any High School players that made the jump straight to the NBA were impact players. Both were centers, Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone. But Malone jumped to the ABA first. ( I know, Shawn Kemp but he enrolled in college) Garnett was also the High School player of the year.

    Garnett had a good rookie season for the Wolves but teams still didn’t believe High Schools players good make it in the NBA. It took the great basketball mind of Jerry West to see the potential in Kobe. The only other man who compares with West’s scouting abilities is the Spurs K.C. Buford.

    I know this is sacrilegious and I don’t mean anything bad by it but Nash was below average for a few seasons and it took D’Antoni’s SSOL along with Amare, Marion and Joe Johnson to become wildly popular and a two-time MVP.

    Nobody could have predicted that “perfect storm” would have come together for Nash. Nash had a fantastic career at Santa Clara but even back then he could’t defend. Coach Dick Davey called him “the worst defensive player he had ever seen”. Dallas fans
    wanted him gone after his first two years.

    To summarize like many fans have posted already about Len, it sure did look like a very high risk pick to use a #5 pick on. I recall Phoenix getting Walter
    “The Greyhound” Davis with a #5 pick.

    Just saying……

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Smovas….Thanks a lot…appreciate it
    to make it easier, I’ll be at the Walgreens…SW corner 51st ave & Northern.
    I’ll throw out a reminder Sat or Sun

  • vtsunrise

    Got it, EBJM. Good points, all. And in general, it seems the health risks of big men loom very large. High risk but potentially high impact players.

    I wonder how many sleepless nights the folks in Portland have had over blowing the Durant pick for “Bad bones” Oden.

  • Foreveris2long

    There is warranted discussion about bad deals during the past 4 years of which most seem to fall on the shoulders of Blanks. However IMO the Suns escaped a huge albatross when New Orleans matched Gordon last summer. I think Babby offered Gordon a max contract while he was unfit to play, recovering from surgery. It seems he is still damaged goods today. I doubt New Orleans will send the Suns a Christmas package anytime soon.

    Having seen Bledsoe play a lot before coming to the Suns, when the trade was announced I knew Dragic, who I like a lot, would be the collateral damage. Dragic deserves to be a primary point guard not a sometimes undersized two guard. Like Midnight said above, Bledsoe at age 23 is only a consistent jump shot away from being an all-star caliber point guard, which I think will come because his shooting mechanics are not bad. Coach Horny will continue helping a lot with minor adjustments in that regard.

    This year does not matter because the Suns are not playoff relevant but they may prove to be closer to that status than initially thought once they get a good power forward. Yeah Randle is a beast (I think Kentucky is on TV next Tuesday), who the Suns would probably be happy to take next summer if Wiggins is gone and they secure a top 3 lottery pick.

  • EBJM

    VT, Portland’s history with picking centers #1 overall is so bad it is kind of funny.

    LaRue Martin who I believe holds the record for fewest NBA games played for a #1 overall pick. Remember this guy was drafted around forty years ago.

    Bill Walton’s broken foot led him down the more well-known path of Grant Hill’s ankle issues.

    Sam Bowie and his broken leg being selected #2 after Olajuwon but ahead of Michael Jordan.

    Greg Oden.

    But they did get it right with Mychal Thompson, the father of the Warriors Klay Thompson.