Preview: New Orleans Pelicans (3-3) at Phoenix Suns (4-2)


Time: 5 p.m. MST

TV: FSA

Suns Logo

Suns

Pelicans

Pelicans

The Phoenix Suns finish off their mini two-game home stand Sunday night against the New Orleans Pelicans — a team they beat 104-98 just five days ago.

New Orleans changed its name, its logo, its mascot, its point guard and notable components of its bench, yet its greatest asset might be  second-year power forward Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, is coming off a career performance in which he had 32 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three assists in a 96-85 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Pelicans are riding their first two-game win streak into town.

It’ll be a matchup of familiar foes, and while familiarity might not breed contempt just yet when it comes to these two squads, will it breed a different result from Tuesday night?

Here are the three big questions to keep in mind when these two face off.

Can Channing Frye finally get off the schneid?

First things first, just the mere fact that Channing Frye is back out on the court a year after being diagnosed with an enlarged heart is a success story in and off itself. That much should not be ignored.

With that said, the NBA — like all professional sports — is a result driven business and in that sense, it’s been hard to watch Frye struggle the way he has during his comeback – especially at the offensive end.

When his shot is on — like it was (19 points on 7-of-14 shooting) in the 103-96 loss to the Thunder — it’s absolutely thing of beauty. The problem for the former UA standout, though, is that’s rarely been the case so far in 2013-14.

It’s very early, but Frye is shooting an alarming 35.4 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from three-point range. More importantly, he just has the look of a guy who simply isn’t releasing the ball with a lot of confidence right now.

Jeff Hornacek continues to trot him out with the starters in an effort to try and help him work through his early-season shooting woes, but with Markieff Morris playing the way he has of late, there might be a lineup switch on the horizon.

Over/Under 17 rebounds for the Morris Twins?

There’s a saying that once is chance, twice is coincidence and three times is a pattern.

With that in mind, are Marcus and Markieff Morris finally starting to realize their potential right before our very eyes, off the bench no less?

Somewhere former GM Lance Blanks is smiling and nodding his head in the affirmative.

The Morris Twins have strung together three straight impressive performances (33 points and 14 rebounds at New Orleans, 34 points and 18 rebounds at San Antonio and 39 points and 18 rebounds vs. Denver) and are a big reason why the Suns are off to a surprising 4-2 start.

While the bench points have certainly been a welcomed sight, their activity on the glass (16.6 rebounds in the last three games) might just be the biggest development in their respective games.

Can they continue the trend against Anthony Davis and Co.?

How will both teams fare from distance?

The teams’ first meeting in the Big Easy was ultimately decided by the Suns’ 37-point third quarter — a frame in which they connected on seven three-point attempts. But it’s actually the Pelicans who lead the league in three-point percentage (46.1).

New Orleans is averaging 11 less attempts than Phoenix from downtown in 2013-14, but they are 10 percent more efficient. With that said, the Suns have been scorching the nets of late, hitting on 28 three-point field goals this week alone.

In a battle of quantity vs. quality, who proves to be more effective from downtown?

And 1

Suns point guard Goran Dragic’s status for Sunday night’s game is unknown as of 11 a.m. MST. Dragic has missed the past three games due to a left ankle injury he sustained in the team’s 103-96 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder last Sunday. In Phoenix’s first contest against New Orleans, Eric Bledsoe and Ish Smith were terrific, combining for 27 points, 13 assists and three steals. Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, however, had his worst night of the young campaign, scoring three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

  • Roger

    Horny should continue to start Frye for building his confidence, rhythm, wind and legs. If he’s still a liability by mid-Dec, then bring Markieff into the starting line up. Right now Markieff is playing well (starter minutes) with his twin so why break their rhythm.

    Does anybody know his defensive stats?

  • Sunsn7

    Frye may not be hitting the deep 3 but his defensive effort is there, from what i’ve seen. If he just continues working himself into game shape, he’ll have his legs to launch and follow through with confidence. It’ll come.

    I’ll take this Channing Frye over D’Antoni/ Gentry’s Channing Frye, 10 times out of 10!

  • EBJM

    Greg Monroe is putting up career numbers 18/12/1.5. After Davis abuses the Suns frontline again the thought of giving up Dragic for Monroe will become more palatable.

    Davis also will give Markieff a chance to show the world he is ready for prime time. Frye and Tucker are NBA back-ups. If Markieff plays Davis to a draw then I say put the Morri in the starting line-up and Frye and Tucker on the bench.

  • Ty-Sun

    The only way I can see a Dragic/Monroe trade happening is if the Suns are willing to give up one of their 1st round picks as part of the deal. I wouldn’t go for it and I really don’t think it makes much sense for Detroit unless they REALLY want another 1st round pick. Detroit is already top-heavy with guards and trading bigs for smalls is rarely a good idea in the NBA.

  • EBJM

    Well the only reason Monroe is being tossed around is because the Pistons didn’t extend him. You know Bigs always cost a premium and the Pistons do not want to commit a max contract to him because they believe Drummond will become a better player and they are already paying top money to Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.

    But I don’t see the Pistons being top heavy with quality guards.

    But that’s beside the point. Personally I believe the Pistons are doing the same thing the Suns are doing with Bledsoe. Let another team make an offer and then match it. It will probably cost them less that way.

    If Markieff continues to play the way he has the past two games the whole discussion is moot anyway. There isn’t any reason to make any trades.

  • Ty-Sun

    That’s all true, EBJM. The only thing is that I didn’t say that the Pistons were top heavy with “quality” guards, just top heavy with guards.

    But I think that the Pistons made a mistake by not extending Monroe. If they had done that then he would have been a better trade asset for them. J. Smith is a much better player at the 4 than the 3 and I think that they could have traded Monroe and brought in another quality 3 more easily if Monroe was signed to an extension.

    But then Detroit may think that Monroe will be easier to trade without an extension. That is probably true if the trade is with a contender/better team but some of the lower level teams might be leery about trading for him because he might only be a one season rental.

  • DBreezy

    I don’t think any trades are in the near future for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s still early. They’re playing we’ll, but who knows where it will go from here. I think the Bobcats got off to a 4-2 start a year or two ago. That’s not to invite a point by point comparison of the two squads, but just to say there’s more than one reason people often say wait at least untill the 20 game point or so of the season before beginning to make conclusions. Put more simply, in the words of Winston Wolf ‘lets not start sucking each others dix just yet’

    As for guys like Monroe, it’s hard to see the Pistons giving up on him for a palatable package. Even if they were, it seems like an unwise gamble to me at this point. The trade at this point would almost certainly involve Dragic. While its been excellent so far, I’m sure they’re still watching to see if Bledsoe is worth big money and Dragic is excellent peace of mind in that evaluation. Even if they end up with a guy like Smart, Exum, or Harrison next summer and let Bledsoe go, Dragic still fits as a mentor and you still have cap space.

    Trade for Monroe now though and you’re basically saying that the plan right now is to resign both Bledsoe and Monroe next summer and see where they take us. I’ll have to look at the numbers, but I think those two would make us a cap team or pretty close to it. You better be ready to compete when you become a cap team not just because of the luxury tax, but because the clock starts ticking on the repeater tax.

    ESPN loves playing up the LA drama, but there’s a logical reason why the Lakers are setup the way they are. Next season, they should not only have cap space, but more importantly they won’t be tax payers. Not because they can’t afford it, but to stop the clock on the repeater tax. Even for rich teams it makes no sense to pay that tax unless you’re a legit contender because it affects the sustainability of your championship core. Cuban has laid off too.

    Way too early IMO to make these kinds of moves. Things are going well. The coach looks great, development looks likes its coming along so far, and despite the good start they’re still right there in the draft mix. Other teams expected to be really bad have solid records as well at this point and a few teams with bad records should improve as time goes on. Only Utah is truly in the dumps and they should improve a bit once Burke gets in there and they play at home more. The team has a plan for once, it’s working, so stick with it a bit longer before making changes.

  • EBJM

    I know, my point is they could use a “quality” guard despite having a lot of guards on their roster.

  • EBJM

    Markieff playing center now? Horny going 11 deep.

  • EBJM

    All right show time! Markieff and Anthony Davis going head to head!

  • EBJM

    Davis blinks and goes to the bench! Markieff the real deal! Leading all players with 19 after 3!

  • Mel.

    I’m beginning to think that the “Third Morris Twin” theory floated in the previous game’s breakdown is totally legit… who the hell is this guy, and what did he do with that well-intended stiff with his jersey number from last season?

  • Sunsn7

    Charles Barkley, the poor man’s Markieff Morris

  • EBJM

    No such thing as a third twin, they would be triplets.

  • Sunsn7

    Hornacek clearly instills confidence in his squad

    Funny how winning makes these new uniforms look so much bettah

  • Sunsn7

    Andrew Wiggins, we hardly knew ye