Phoenix’s 121-90 preseason win against San Antonio saw coach Jeff Hornacek tighten the grip on the rotation, tinker with small ball and Robert Sarver offer an apology. It also gave us a first real look at what the Suns will look like in the 2014-15 regular season. Here’s what other topics were covered.
Hornacek against shortening games, seasons
The NBA will test run a 44-minute game between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics on Sunday, but the Suns coach wasn’t shy in his opinion about the league’s attempt to limit its stars. With 15-man rosters, there’s more than enough bodies to keep stars fresh, and after all, the San Antonio Spurs have become one of the best teams at doing so while winning.
“I think it was brought up that it could save the legs of the stars,” Hornacek said Thursday. “Then somebody else made the point, well, the shorter game is going to make the beginning more important. If all of a sudden the rest of the game is going to be more important, you’re probably going to lean to playing those stars more now, because you don’t have the time to make it up.”
So if shorter and probably more intense games weren’t the answer, then what about cutting the 82-game season down?
“I did it for 14 years,” Hornacek said. “They didn’t have charters, either.”
A better Barron
Center Earl Barron had a quiet game against San Antonio to follow a double-double performance against Houston. He did hit one 16-foot jumper off a pick-and-roll, and he gave a little credit to that confidence and extended range after playing several years back with the Suns and point guard Steve Nash. Where he often would catch Nash’s passes with a great deal of apprehension, the 33-year-old now does so ready to shoot.
Will it be enough for him to make the 15-man roster? It’s not out of the question.
Interchanging the Morrii
If we were guessing about the starting lineups today, it’s probable the Suns will start one Morris twin and not the other. That means less of that synergy the twins have while playing with one another, but Hornacek isn’t worried about it.
“Now I think they’re comfortable with, yes, they love to play together, they play better together,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of the game where one is in and the other is not.”
Marcus Morris scored 14 points and grabbed six boards as the starter against San Antonio, while Markieff was a boost off the bench worth 17 points and seven rebounds.
Green sees more time at forward
Last season, it was rare to see Gerald Green play the small forward position but with small lineups and a dual-point backcourt, that’s exactly what he’ll have to do this season if he wants to continue getting significant minutes. Hornacek wasn’t even referring to Green as a guard in his postgame interview session.
“I prefer not to have Gerald dribble up the court, let the guards do it,” he said. “Run to the three-point line somewhere, take one or two dribble and make a play. We’ll put him in a lot of that.”
Hornacek also said he’ll still give Green the ball on set plays in the halfcourt. One the Suns especially liked last year involved Green coming off a screen to catch the ball and then handling it around another pick. Green has said he wants to get more ball handling situations, but perhaps keeping it simple is the best way to do it.
Two different Plumlees
Hornacek on Miles Plumlee coming to life in the pick-and-roll game Thursday: “Our guards have to know, it’s easy for Miles, as athletic as he is, to throw it up in the air. But it’s also, they have to be on the attack on pick-and-rolls, Miles has to roll hard. I thought in the first half, he’s rolling, but there’s a difference rolling in rolling to get a pass and rolling to roll. In the second half I thought he was aware and alert.”