Memphis Grizzlies 97, Phoenix Suns 91 — Solar eclipse


PHOENIX – Jeff Hornacek answered his pregame questions as if the Suns would become one of the best teams in NBA history without a postseason berth. Contextually, he was answering a specific question, but the admission of his team not being in control of its own destiny made one thing clear.

It already stung.

“If you would have said at the beginning of the year that we had a chance to control our own destiny coming down to the last week, you would have probably been pretty happy about that,” Hornacek said before the must-win game against the Memphis Grizzlies. “The tough part is, once these guys got there they expected to try and win one of those games, two tough games — one at San Antonio and one at Dallas.”

It stung even before Phoenix fell at home on Monday, 97-91, to the Memphis Grizzlies. For the first time since a five-year stretch in 1970-75, the Suns are lottery-bound for the fourth year in a row.

The U.S. Airways Center crowd seemed to have accepted the Suns’ fate. The fans seemed less on-edge about the moment and more settled in, ready to enjoy the last home game of a memorable season dug out of a trash heap.

So give the Suns credit one more time, even with the odds against them and even after a loss to the Grizzlies that included 22 lead changes and eight ties, almost all of which came in the second half.

Feel bad you picked them to win 15 games or 20 or 25 or 35 or 40 or 45.

The Suns sit at 47 wins and could add one more to that total, but their postseason fate is decided by what-ifs that give the franchise four of the six-best non-playoff teams in NBA history in terms of win totals.

Team Season Win total
Phoenix Suns 1971-72 49
Golden State Warriors 2007-08 48
Phoenix Suns 1970-71 48
Phoenix Suns 2013-14 47**
Seattle Supersonics 1971-72 47
Phoenix Suns 2008-09 46

A dreadful start for the Suns saw the Grizzlies take a 24-12 lead late in the first quarter as Zach Randolph abused them. The second quarter was Mike Miller’s turn to torch the Suns, but it was more a discredit to the Phoenix defense than anything he was doing. Miller’s weakside floating led to Marcus Morris unnecessarily helping a few times, and then Gerald Green got caught losing Miller – as in, his eyes weren’t on Miller – working off the ball.

Phoenix woke up eventually, but as it had against Dallas and San Antonio, the Suns’ inexperience, or really Memphis’ experience, played the biggest factor.

“They make runs, they can really score the ball,” said Memphis coach Dave Joerger. “They put so much pressure on you. They biggest thing is we didn’t get way down. Every time we felt like we weren’t playing well — we’d have a couple of hiccups or turnovers and we turned the ball over way too many times — the most they got ahead was by three points.”

It’s not only if the Suns would have beaten Memphis just once out of four times.

True, the grueling pace that only gave Phoenix a chance with 23 points off 19 turnovers made up for a 5-for-26 three-point shooting evening and stagnant, halfcourt offense. And yes, the Suns couldn’t stop Zach Randolph from scoring 32 points — less their fault — and dominating in the paint. They also couldn’t keep Miller from stroking in a season-high 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting — that was more the Suns’ fault.

Phoenix finally cut into a nervous crowd with less than a minute to play in the first half, when a forced turnover led to a Frye transition dunk that brought the Suns within six.

The second half was a classic back-and-forth with the Suns needing the quick push up the court to break the stangle-hold of the Grizzlies’ halfcourt defense, and then Memphis needing to beat Phoenix in the paint with Randolph and Marc Gasol.

Hornacek admitted his Suns couldn’t execute in the halfcourt well enough. As Memphis knew what it was doing, Phoenix second-guessed itself.

“When you’re together for a long time, it’s kind of a sixth sense of where everything is, just the flow of everything,” the Suns coach said.

But maybe the more frustrating story of the night was what might have been the thing to doom the Suns in the postseason had they made it there. Phoenix continually left Miller open despite the Grizzlies never having more than two three-point shooters on the court at a time. Playing smart, as it was against Dallas and San Antonio in the Suns’ last two games, didn’t come easily for Phoenix.

Memphis knew when and where to swing the ball, while Phoenix played unsure basketball. Now, too soon in their minds, they’ll have time to reflect. The season has essentially come to an end, but the Suns see brightness coming another day.

“It’s really tough to say something positive right now,” said Dragic, who made it through the year battered as anyone. “When you’re so close to the playoffs, you always want some little bit more.”

How does Eric Bledsoe handle the moment?

After Goran Dragic went 6-for-18 against the Dallas Mavericks, Bledsoe was the point guard to struggle on Monday. He went 6-for-16 from the floor for 13 points and five assists but never could crack the code against Memphis’ well-known and elite pick-and-roll defense.

How much damage do Memphis’ bigs cause on the boards?

It wasn’t necessarily on the boards where the Memphis big men slugged the Suns in their chests early on. Zach Randolph scored 13 points in the first quarter against Channing Frye and then Markieff Morris and was rolling then-forth, but it said something that the Suns were outrebounded by 12 — then again, Memphis shot 52 percent overall and Phoenix went 5-for-29 from three-point range, so the opportunities were certainly more in the Grizzlies’ favor.

Dragic led the Suns with six rebounds.

Do the Suns get the fan support they rightfully deserve when it matters most?

It was just the fourth sellout of the year but the crowd wasn’t in the game from the beginning. Phoenix’s play to start the game didn’t quite warrant excitement, and the energy in the arena was more nervous than hopeful.

There was a spark in the second half, but there were still spells of anxiety in the stands.

And 1

Michael Schwartz wrote a eulogy for the 2013-14 Suns for the Daily Dime.

  • SHAZAM

    in next years finals the suns will beat the wizards 4-3

  • Voqar

    Suns came out with no energy, missed a ton of open shots, defense was lackluster. You can’t let the corpse of Mike Miller score 20 – that’s inexcusable, as it letting Tony Allen score even 2pts. You know Randolph, Gasol, and Conley will get theirs – you let dead bodies score 20 too!

    It was there for the taking but they weren’t up to the task.

    It was by far a better season than one could’ve hoped for but it was so close to being even better.

    (I don’t even know if I’ll watch the last game even though there’s always the chance that cousins will punch a ref or something.)

  • Ellensburgbballfan

    We got crushed on the boards, 30 to 42

    no one had more than 6 boards

    We dont rebound well enough

    we depend almost totally on dragic and bledsoe to win games

    plumlee has little offensive game

    Frye shoot 3 pointers but does little else

    Tucker is great on defense but doesnt have the offensive game to where you could have him carry you

    our bench, however, is great.

    I would take our draft picks, cap space, and trade able pieces that we have (i.e. Green, Plumlee, Tucker, Frye)

    use those pieces to draft or trade for

    A player that can score at the 3 and play more than adequate defense

    A player that can start at the PF spot and either be a guy that will command double teams, or develop into one

    The Suns should consider giving Markieff Morris the full time 36 minutes a game at PF spot next year unless a better option happens

    figure out what to do with Bledsoe, and prepare for the possibility he goes somewhere else for nothing except cap space

    thats the big challenge to our excellent front office this off season

    if we at the least fixed our problem of poor rebounding next year, you would probably have a 6 seed in the west type of team

    You have to develop Len and Goodwin starting next year, both barely played this year, and yet they displayed the kind of potential you hope for from young 1st round picks

    Goodwin and Len are only 19 and 20, and yet they are the future of the team unless something changes that

    If Bledose wants a max deal, consider trading him for assets

    or find someway to make everyone happy contract wise

    we have alot of money this summer, more if Frye declines his player option

    i wouldnt mind seeing Frye back, he is a great guy,but not as a starter

  • DBreezy

    Great season for the players and Horny, now the heavy lifting begins for McD and I don’t envy him. He has the job of separating emotion from evaluation as he develops this roster going forward and he’s got a lot to evaluate.

  • foreveris2long

    What an outstanding season especially when you consider the team’s lack of experience. Dragic, only 2nd year as a fulltime starter, Bled’s 1st year as a starter, Plum’s 1st year as a starter, PJ’s 1st full year as a starter and Markief’s 1st year playing considerable minutes.

    Now the bad news, Green and Marcus Morris were terrible playing defense on Miller. Their only job was to shadow Miller and they could not do it. A coach can live with bad shooting nights or even turnovers but losing one of the best shooters in the league over and over again is unacceptable. They should be ashamed of their effort last night.

    D’Breezy remember our dialogue about you wanting to punch your ipad because you said Bled misread the play against the Spurs when he passed to a three point shooter instead of laying it up? You added Coro even tweeted about it. I indicated I was not convinced it was a misread as Coach may have wanted the Suns to take the 3 point shot if they had a good look. Well the Suns had the exact same situation last night, down by 4 after a timeout with about 35 seconds left and Frye shoots a 3 pointer instead of someone going for the 2 point shot. I am definitely convinced this was how Coach wanted to play it against the Spurs, shoot the 3 if the Suns get a decent look. In fact they shot consecutive 3s against the Spurs in the final minute when they were down by 4.

    Yep absolutely the tough part is approaching but at least the Suns have so many options. I will say this Ellensburg regarding Bled, the Suns can’t trade him now. He is a restricted free agent, meaning he can go to whomever will pay him the most. For example if the Lakers offer him the max and he wants to play there, since they have cap room and no players the Suns really want who are under contract, we essentially would get nothing in return.

    About 2 years ago the Warriors were faced with a tough decision with Curry coming off two ankle surgeries. However they signed him to an $11m/yr deal before he became a restricted free agent. Smart move by the Warriors as he now is one of the best point guards in the league.

  • Elviro (Italy)

    hello guys, I followed the season from Italy with passion, the Suns did a great championship , we were a team that showed all of the weaker ones , it was said that we probably would have played to lose ….. and yet none of this !
    We fought until the penultimate match of the play-offs and we closed with an excellent record.
    Too bad for how it ended but as they say ” it’s the journey that counts ” and we have no “path” very well throughout the season …. definitely beyond everyone’s expectations !
    But now I’m curious to know what will be the consequences of non- landing into the playoffs whereas we should have various choices in the draft, so I’m hoping that some of you kindly explain to me what may be our expectations in terms of choices …
    For the rest I agree with whoever wrote that it is necessary to strengthen the team in the role of small forward , power forward and center ! I think Tucker, frye and Plumlee may be the only substitutes. I agree that we should give more space to Markieff Morris next year, has been shown to grow in exponential ways this season and should remain so !
    Hello to you all from Italy will continue to follow you and above all, at this point, expect news about our chances in the draft !
    Come on Suns !

  • EBJM

    Hey Forever, couldn’t the Suns do a sign and trade with the Lakers for their lottery pick? They have a 30% chance at a top three pick and 9% chance at the #1 overall pick.

  • Pieter

    Hello everybody, I followed the whole season with my league pass from the Netherlands, and despite the dissapointing end , it was a great season, we can be proud of the players, have seen some great games, and who would have expected such a season on beforehand?

    I’m not so sad that we missed the playoffs, against the spurs of OKC it would only last for 1 round and now at least we go into the lottery (right?) we have 3 first round picks and maybe we can trade a pick..I agree with a lot of guys that we for sure have to look at a scoring and good defensive PF, Fry is nice with his 3s but that is the only thing that he contributes. PJ and Marcus are not so bad for the SF. Maybe you could draft a talented SF as well. Maybe it is also possible to pick up a veteran C, I see future in Plumdog, but he has to grow in his game, he has offensive skills, is athletic so I think he has the talent to develop in a good solid C.

    What are the rumors in the US about a contractoffer for Bledsoe?? I think they should go far to sign him, you don’t know what Goran does after next season, because he has a player option, At least you then have Bledsoe for several years..

    Thanks for a great season Suns (especially after last season ;-)

    GO SUNS FOREVER

    Greetings from the Netherlands no. 1 Suns fan :-)

  • foreveris2long

    EBJM, In theory yes the Lakers could trade the Suns their lottery pick but it is highly unlikely they would do that. In fact those close to the Lakers have indicated they will offer their lottery pick to the Wolves to try and get Kevin Love. If they got Love and Bledsoe, their offseason would be complete. I think the Suns are really vulnerable with regards to the Bled situation.

  • Eric

    I like Green and he makes a lot of shots but he also misses a ton and takes a lot of bad shots. I think we should trade him and Frye together and/or some picks their are much better shooters and 2 guards in the draft this year that fit us better. Stauskas, Harris and Robinson Jr would fit well in this system. Adrian Payne would be a perfect stretch 4 instead of that useless Channing Frye

  • Tuck321

    Why did Green play so few minutes?

  • EBJM

    Thanks Forever, I was just confirming if the Suns/Lakers could do a sign and trade for just their lottery pick. I doubt Bledsoe will be dealt or not have any offers matched.

    Gerald Green looks like the leading candidate for MIP. Green shot 44.5% overall and 40% from three-point. He had a season scoring average of 16 points per game that he boosted to 19 points and increased his percentages to 45 and 43 while filling in for Bledsoe after the All-Star break.

    His effective FG% is 55. Green also had a PER of 16.5.

    He had a career high of 41 and a couple around 35-36 points. Despite his flaws, when he is hot he is one of the best scorers in the league. He is the Suns version of Jamal Crawford.

    How can you possibly declare an unproven rookie as being a better fit? O.J. Mayo would be a great example here. He was selected #3 overall because everybody thought he was all that but was traded for Kevin Love who was selected #5.

    Grizzlies eventually soured on him and moved him to the bench and then let him walk for nothing as he signed with the Mavericks. He left Dallas for the Bucks who signed him to three years and $24 million.

    He was sent to the bench of a very bad Bucks team in favor of Sessions, Knight and rookie Nate Wolters who was selected #38.

    How about highly acclaimed Dion Waiters who was selected #4 last year but was moved to the bench in favor of Jarrett Jack on a bad Cleveland team?

    Suns bigger needs are at PF, SF and center. Green and the Morris twins give Phoenix a fantastic bench while they look to upgrade those positions.

    Channing Frye? Well the Suns could simply put a life-size cardboard cut-out of him at the three-point line and get as much production.

  • EBJM

    “Why did Green play so few minutes” My GUESS is that Hornacek wanted to keep his tall players and Tucker on the court to try and defend the post. Frye, Plumlee, Markieff and Tucker all played around 30 minutes each. Dragic and Bledsoe played close to 40 minutes each.

    Not many minutes left for Green.

  • Foreveris2long

    Coach Horny was furious at Marcus Morris and Green for losing Mike Miller on the perimeter last night. Neither of this guys in my mind are disciplined defensively and it showed last night. Tucker was a much better option last night because of his defense. If Green can be a smarter defensive player and improve his ball handling skills, his stock will really rise. He floats defensively.

  • Foreveris2long

    Oops, I meant to say “Neither of those guys…The loss apparently rendered me brain dead.

  • HushPuppy

    Certainly a fun season, but am I a bad fan because I’m not disappointed about missing the playoffs? I think there is a lot of value in the #14 pick, especially paired with the Wizards #17 (potentially #16) pick. It would have been great for the fans and the players to get some playoff burn, but that would have turned our #14 pick in to a low 20′s pick. It’s selfish reasoning I suppose, but I’ve always been more enthralled with building for the future.

    As far as Beldsoe is concerned, we can match literally any offer he recieves, but I’m assuming the problem you are all referring to is whether or not he is worth serious cash. It’s tough. It’s definitely hard to find a player that can contribute like he can right off the bat, and it’s always bitter to lose a good player for nothing. I suppose this is why our GM makes a ton of money and we just talk to one another on a website. It’s been a good season guys, thank you!

  • Dave:f32

    @F2L, Lol the “loss” had nothing to do with your condition.

  • Foreveris2long

    Dave32, that was a good shot, I like that.

  • Al

    I think losing to the Laker’s last week was a sign that Phoenix was not quite ready for the bright lights of the playoffs. Things just didn’t look good when Phoenix barely beat the Pelicans with an injured Goran. Suns looked great in the first half against the Spurs and then went on a downward spiral in the second half. I refused to watch this last two games against the Mavs and Memphis. The game against the Spurs increased my blood pressure. Phoenix pretty much ended in the exact same position as Utah did last year. Utah was in 7th going into the All-Star break and fell to 9th at the end.
    Now, I have to ask: Is it better to make the playoffs or get a lottery pick in a stacked draft? I am not sure this Phoenix team had enough to upset a disciplined team like the Spurs or OKC in a 7 game series.
    It’s time to look towards the off season. Phoenix is going to have to make some drastic improvements to it’s front court. Frye and Plumlee are not starter material. This season is probably Plumlee’s one and only time to be a starter. Len will take his spot next year…he has to.
    Other teams in the West are also going to get much better. Pelicans, Denver, and Sacramento will be harder to beat next year. All these teams have a better front court than the Suns. Minnesota may also turn it around if they keep Love and improve their defense.
    The teams that have their windows closing are Memphis, Dallas, and San Antonio. OKC will be competing for several more years.
    I am looking forward to seeing McD’s plan in the off season to fix these problems.

  • john

    What an exciting season. With the Dragon hitting his stride, I think this team can make some REAL noise next year and continue this Cinderella story with a little retooling. I would have loved it if the Suns could have made the playoffs, but beating the Vegas over/under by 30 wins is a good consolation prize.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    I think the Suns will match any offer for Bledsoe.

  • Foreveris2long

    Hawki, Coro and I agree with you. Coro IMO wrote an excellent article about Bled today.

  • Foreveris2long

    What do you guys and ladies think about James Young, small forward at Kentucky? he is not as offensively polished as Hood from Duke but he is a much better defender than Hood. While I like Hood, he is not a good defensive player.Unless the Suns get lucky by moving up in the draft, I cannot see them using the 14th pick on a power forward, which there are few of in the draft.

    Glenn Robinson from Michigan seems to be nose diving. I saw a couple of projections where he has slipped to the 2nd round.

  • Ellensburgbballfan

    Yeah, i also think Bledsoe will get whatever he wants from the Suns, and if he cant, its sign and trade time

    i totally forgot about the stretch clause, which basically puts less risk on a team for signing a player to a big contract, or any contract for that matter

    Now that i remember that, I would say, if Bledsoe wants to be here, give him what he wants

    if he wants to leave, fine, just sign and trade him to where ever he wants to go

    i dont have any problems with Goodwin Starting at SG next year if say, we get a starting SF or PF or lottery pick out of a bledsoe sign and trade to the Lakers type deal

    rumor has it, the Lakers are cleaning house and will offer max deals to Bledsoe and Love to pair with Bryant, and then sign some veteran guys around that core

    i hate the Lakers, so i dont care, but i would totally take a top 5 pick for Bledsoe

    just more assets for McDonough to use

  • Ellensburgbballfan

    That reminds me, the Suns should look at Clint Capella with the 26th pick (The Pacers pick)

    if we do not have already picked a PF in the draft by that time or traded for one

  • EBJM

    Latest Bleach report mock draft has the Suns taking T.J. Warren at #14. Nik Stauskas at #17, and Montrezl Harrell at # 26.

  • Al

    Who? These are my Delusional Phoenix Suns Phantasy OffSeason Moves:
    Suns Draft: #14 Adreian Payne, #17 Kyle Anderson, #26 Shabazz Napier/Harrison Twin (Aaron?).
    Free Agency: Sign Lebron James. Match Eric Bledsoe Contract. Trade Morris Twins, Ish, Frye, LAL 2015 pick & Suns 2015 pick for Love.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=kt24gvm

    Suns are back in Playoffs next year:
    Next Year starting lineup:
    PG- Bledsoe (Mini-Lebron)
    SG- Dragic (Dragon)
    SF- LBJ (“King”)
    PF- Love (Kevin)
    C – Len (Lensanity?)

    Reserves:
    PG – Napier
    SG – Green
    SF – Anderson
    PF – Payne
    C – Plumlee

    Extra: Barbosa, Randolph

    SUNS 2015!!!

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Al….Although delusional….you do get bonus points for spelling Adreian correctly.

    EBJM…Harrell has announced he will return to Louisville for his JR year.

    Forever…..I confess….I read Coro’s article first…feels like an old episode of Perry Mason where someone jumps up and says “I did it”.

  • HushPuppy

    EBJM,

    Did B/R release that mock draft today? I thought I read on ESPN yesterday that Harrell was returning to LOU.

  • DZ

    I’m excited to see how everything shakes out in the draft but I also tend to agree with most of the analysts that say that, although this will be a very strong draft, there aren’t any players in it that are going to make a huge impact in the NBA in their rookie seasons.

    With that in mind, I’m hoping that the Suns simply draft the best players available regardless of the position they play. I think most fans would agree that our biggest need is a PF but I don’t think we will get one that will make an immediate impact from the draft.

    I agree that the Suns will probably match any offer made to Bledsoe but I still don’t think he’s proven that he’s worth a max contract yet. Close but not quite. He certainly deserves a hefty pay increase though and I hope the Suns keep him in the Valley.

  • DZ

    Yep, Harrell announced that he would be returning to collage next year instead of entering the draft.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Forever……Young is definitely in play if he falls to the 14th spot.
    Barkley actually liked him more than Randle while commenting at the Final 4.

  • Foreveris2long

    Hawki, Good insight on Young as I had not heard the comments by Sir Charles. If I am not mistaken Young is only 18. I guess he really is young.

    DZ, Jerry West agrees with you in that he does not think there are any difference makers in this draft. No Anthony Davis, Durrant, Kobe, LBJ, Wade, Shaq, Garnett, etc. I have been saying for awhile I did not think there were any superstars in this draft.

    My sleeper in the draft remains Powell, 6’10″ power forward from Stanford. Some have him projected in the 2nd round or not drafted at all. Take a good long look at this kid Suns as he can ball and is just coming into his own.

  • EBJM

    I guess nobody told Bleach report because they still have Phoenix taking Harrell.

  • EBJM

    Forever, DraftExpress has the Rockets taking Dwight Powell at #41.

  • DZ

    Yeah, if Milwaukee gets the 1st pick in the draft (which is very likely) and they pick Wiggins (which is also very likely) they will still suck next season.

    I’m hoping that McD looks at the draft a way to acquire young talent that can either help the suns in the future OR make good trading chips during the off-season.

  • DBreezy

    Foreveris,

    I don’t know whether or not Horny drew up a play for a 3pt shot on that play vs the Spurs, but the way it unfolded defensively taking the easy quick two was the better read and Bledsoe is an on court general as a pg. Besides every play call has multiple options because you don’t know what the d is going to give you. Even if he did call for a 3, Horny’s immediate reaction to the play said that’s not what he wanted Bled to do.

    I know he’s young, but it’s one of those to whom much is given much is asked things. The Suns want him to be a franchise type pg and that’s what he wants to. Making good reads is a big part of that and he needs to keep working on polishing that up. Like last evening he made a pass to Kieff in the high post area. Kieff was already planning on driving hard right on the catch, but the pass was a bit off target causing him to have to lean back left to catch it. As a result he travelled on the subsequent move. One of the things players rave about with guys like Nash, Kidd,Paul,etc is that the ball is always in the perfect place to where you can get into your shot or move without thinking. Bled doesn’t have that quite yet. Big picture wise he’s a very willing passer which is great, he just has to tighten things up.

    I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on his defense. Not his ability on that end, but how he played particularly down the stretch. To me it was kind of a mixed bag. He was an absolute terror in the passing lanes, but it seemed like he got beat on penetration a lot as the season wound down. I wonder if it was the knee recovery, because most of the plays I’m talking about he just got beat vs gambling or getting picked off.

    I would also agree that the Suns aren’t going to trade him this summer and will match whatever offer he gets. I do think that McD will be open to trading him or anyone else down the line if he can get a good deal lined up for a superstar.

  • EBJM

    DraftExpress has Young going #15 right after Phoenix to the Hawks. They list him at 18 but he would be 19 in August.

  • DBreezy

    So 10 teams in the west will finish with 40 or more wins and 12 will finish with more than 30 W’s. 13 teams have a differential of -2.9 or better with only LAL and Utah having really bad differential numbers. Really makes it tough for McD to evaluate what he should do with his Cindarella Suns.

    He’s probably pretty confident in his staff, Goran and Bled, and the upside of his rookies and Plumlee. Outside of that, I bet he’ll have a lot of soul searching to do with his staff and the coaches. I’m glad that he was with Ainge during Ainge’s early failed attempts to quick patch the Celts trying to get them back into the playoffs quickly(bringing back Walker, etc).

  • DZ

    I think that the Suns’ success this season may have actually put McD in something of an awkward position. We fans will be expecting the Suns to make another leap forward next season and I’m not sure that they will be able to do it. Adding 3 rookies to the team without making at least one significant trade during the off-season could actually set the stage for fewer wins next year.

    I don’t pretend to know what that trade might be but I think at least one will be coming. But I don’t expect McD to do anything stupid to compromise the team’s future just to make the playoffs next year but the pressure to do so may be there.

  • foreveris2long

    EBJM good insight on Powell and Young. I like both of these guys as well as Napier.

    DBreezy, regarding Bled’s defense, I have always said you can tell when someone is 100% healed mentally and physically by how they play defense. Until about the last 5 games I thought he did a lot of guessing and his defense was suspect. I think it has improved during the last week and was better than average last night. In the 2nd half he guessed Connely was going to pull up and he drove right down the the middle of the key. He definitely got fooled on that play. He also was shadowing someone in the key once when Connely hit 2 threes and one was on a pick play when someone did not switch. I would have given him a B last night because for the most part he kept Connely in check. I will admit he gambles a lot but he has the ability to bother an opponent on a critical possession. However I probably would have given a C in the Dallas game and a B in the Spurs game even though Parker gave him a tough time the 3rd quarter.

    I could be wrong but I think McD will hold onto Green as long as possible because in a sense he is McD’s project and two if he has a really good work ethic he will improve defensively (needs to think defensively and defend with his head on swivel) and his ball handling skills. As DBreezy outlined I think McD will likely hold onto Dragic, Bled, rookies and I will go on a limb and say probably Green. The million $ question in my mind is what we do to improve at the 4 spot? I doubt the draft provides immediate help at the 4 spot?

  • bill_thomas

    I would take Young way ahead of Payne regardless of need to improve at the 4-spot. When in doubt, best player avail. Young has Ice in his veins and is very young and athletic.

  • foreveris2long

    I agree with you Bill as I would not take Paeyne with the 14th pick.

  • Ellensburgbballfan

    Just a thought im throwing out here, but who here in the comments section would trade our 3 first rounders to, say, Utah for the rights to Julius Randle in an effort to improve the PF spot?

  • EBJM

    The Mike Ditka strategy!

  • DBreezy

    Foreveris,

    Good stuff on Bled’s defense. I don’t think McD will give Green away, but I wonder how much he trusts him. If ever there was a riddle for analytics it would be trying to project what Gerald will do especially if you follow it up with game film of some of his shot selection. I’m sure JR Smith has caused the same headscraching in front offices. The biggest problem at the 3 is that neither of the better offensive options play defense and it’s hard to project improvement from Green or Marcus there.

  • Foreveris2long

    That is a good question. DBreezy, I can live with his offensive miscues because I think he definitely improved as the season progressed. However if I was McD, I do not think I can trust him defensively. He is a nightmare which is ashame since he is capable. I have seen him guard point guards fairly well. Just a hunch but it seems when he is guarding a wing he has trouble keeping an eye on the ball and an eye the player he is guarding. He obviously missed this training in college. I know you heard the term about keeping your head on a swivel.

    I definitely agree neither Morris or Green who are good offensive options, play good defense. Yeah for the right deal I guess Green would be traded. I do like Green better than J.R. Smith however because he is not the head case that J. R. is.