Wednesday, July 25, 2012

To all followers of my blog!!

To my dear readers & followers:

Sorry for the lack of posts recently but I've been offered a position at SunNgun.com which is a site that covers the Phoenix Suns. I want to thank you all for taking your time to read and follow my blog I deeply appreciate it! I started this blog with dreams of being sportswriter and thanks to all you guys, I've come a step closer. So if any of you guys are interested in my writing please check out SunNgun.com for my writing as well as others who also write and cover the Suns. Once again I want to thank you all who took your time out to check out my blog, deeply, deeply appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spotlight: Markieff Morris


How about a round of applause for Markieff Morris? Morris scored 24 points, grabbed 17 boards, and had 6 blocks in a loss to the Cavaliers during the summer league game today. Morris has shown in the first two games that he’s improved from last year, his rebounding improved, his jumper improved, and he’s a lot more aggressive which was something that wasn’t always there his rookie year.  

Morris has shown in the first two games that he will make a bigger impact this year than he did last, however with the addition of Scola and the presence of Channing Frye it’s still a question mark regarding how many minutes a night Morris gets.

Although Morris through his first two games has posted impressive numbers, he’s been a little less than effiecent; he shot a combined 16-42(38%) in the first two games. That’s actually better than the number shows because Morris got a couple of lucky ones. Morris has to make better decisions with the basketball, as I mentioned in my previous post Morris has to learn to be patient and not make badly timed moves which leads to a block, a miss or a turnover.

Morris also seems to love his jump shot a little too much, he took of a couple of Carmelo Anthony type isolation one dribble pull up twenty footers; tough to imagine those well right? Morris is clearly a good jump shooter but he has to learn how to establish in the post, because that’s where he’s going to make his living. Morris has good touch around the basket it’s a shame to see him taking jumpers all the time.

Ultimately Morris has shown that he’s ready to make big contributions next year, too bad Steve Nash because Morris can certainly get easier looks off those perfect pick and roll passes. Nonetheless I think Dragic and Marshall will feed him and the rest of the crew just fine, Morris still has a little over 3 months to refine his game and bulk up for a full 82 game schedule. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

What the addition of Luis Scola means for Phoenix.


            The Suns’ won the amnesty auction yesterday for Houston Rockets’ big Luis Scola. Scola was drafted by the Spurs in 2002 and joined the Rockets to start to the 2007-2008 season and has been an effective player ever since, Scola had somewhat of a weak season last year as his point and rebounding totals have dropped. With Scola on the Suns’ roster the Suns’ now have 4 power forwards under contract for at least the next two seasons, Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick, Markieff Morris and now Luis Scola.

            Luis Scola although had a down year last season still posted some good numbers 15 PPG 6.4 RPG 2.1 APG. It’s safe to say out of the four power forwards now on the Suns’ roster, Scola for now is best of the four. Since the Suns’ are officially in a rebuilding mode, second year Markieff Morris is going to get his minutes; so does that mean someone is on the move?

            That’s a tough question because both Warrick and Frye has at least two years left on their contracts and are due a lot of money, Frye has two years 12.4M left with a 3rd year player option worth 6.8M while Warrick has two years 9.5M left.

            Hakim Warrick is most likely the odd man out because his contract is a lot more reasonable than that of Frye’s and also Frye is most versatile in that he can stretch the floor, plays above average defense, and also can play both the 4 and 5 positions; but I’m sure if other teams called for Frye the Suns would listen.

            The claiming of Scola makes a lot of sense for the Suns because Scola is a solid starting caliber player who can be a leader in the locker room, Scola is fundamentally sound as an offensive player who can mentor second year player Markieff Morris. It’d be interesting to see what happens the rest of this off-season as the Suns’ have a lot of decisions to make and this is without a doubt the biggest off-season for the Suns’ in a long long time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

4 on 4: Suns' First Summer League Game


The Suns’ played their first summer league game in Las Vegas this afternoon and ran through the Knicks’ summer league squad 99-74. There were 4 obvious standouts during the course of the game, Markieff Morris, Diante Garret, DeShawn Sims and Marcus Landry. Here’s a 4 on 4 for each of their performances:

Markieff Morris

Positives- Morris was a force in the first half of the game as he led all scorers with 19 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and also picked up a block as well as a steal. Above all else he was highly efficient.

Negatives- Morris seemed a step slow all game on the defensive end, he committed 4 fouls in 4 minutes and played more defense with his hands than his feet. There’s a problem when a lottery pick has trouble defending Chris Copeland, who’s Chris Copeland you ask? Exactly. Morris although had an overall good game, had trouble establishing position in the post and the worst part is he had trouble establishing post position against Chris Copeland…..Morris also kind of disappeared in the second half as he only scored 2 points in the second half.

Diante Garret

Positives- Diante Garret started the game in place of Kendall Marshall this game, and he did a great job running the show. He keep the offense in a good flow and dished out 10 assists while only having 2 turnovers. He also added 8 points and had 3 picks. He showed great composure out on the floor and seemed comfortable being the floor general; his effort and energy on defense was also very impressive kind of reminded me of Sebastian Telfair.

Negatives- Diante Garret had in my opinion the strongest game out of all the Suns’ players today so it’s hard to say some negative about his performance, however he missed both his 3 point attempts so I guess you can say he could improve his shooting.

DeShawn Sims

Positives- DeShawn Sims played a very solid all-around game, scored 16 points on 7-12 shooting and also grabbed 3 rebounds. Sims made some strong plays in the post during the game, plays I wanted to see out of Morris but at least I saw from someone! Sims much like Garret played with a lot of composure, effort and energy. Not to mention zero turnovers.

Negatives- Well there not much negative reviews about Sims neither but it would have been nice to see some higher level energy and play on the defensive end.

Marcus Landry

Positives- Marcus Landry displayed some impressive shooting on the offensive end as he scored 12 points on 5-9 shooting and made 2-5 three pointers. Much like his brother Carl Landry, Marcus also scrapped inside and took in two offensive rebounds. Also like Sims, no turnovers.

Negatives- Marcus Landry reminds me of Landry Fields, not bad at anything but also not great at anything. He also needs to work on his foot speed because at times he seems a step too slow on the defensive end.

            Overall the Suns’ summer league team demonstrated composure, something that’s not necessarily a given in the summer league. The Suns’ shot well from the field(53% Overall) and also 47% from deep. I was disappointed that Dan Majerle decided not to play Kendall Marshall but I was very impressed by the play of Garret who may give Sebastian Telfair for that 3rd string point guard spot. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Disgraceful acts towards Steve Nash


Recently I’ve come across some disturbing videos on Youtube of so called “Suns Fans” burning Steve Nash Jerseys and it upset me greatly because I’m thinking to myself, are these just awful people? Are they real Suns fans? How can these people treat such a class act with such a disgraceful and despicable act?

 Quite frankly this article will be rant as well as carefully and well thought out description of why these people and others who feel about Steve Nash they do should be ASHAMED of themselves.

Many are calling guys such as Ray Allen and Steve Nash traitors because they switched over from their team to rivals this off-season, but there’s one difference; The Suns didn’t want Nash back because the contract Nash desired was more than what the Suns were willing to offer, but Boston did want Allen back and they also offered him a relatively reasonable deal. Steve Nash worked with less than mediocre talent since the departure of A’mare Stoudemire, but the pitiful way the front office has treated Nash from day one has been a lot more than what Nash should’ve been willing to put up with.

During the Suns’ golden years from 2004-2008 the Suns’ were serious title contenders every year and after the unfortunate injury of Joe Johnson during the playoffs in 2005 the Suns’ lost Joe Johnson in free agency but they had the opportunity to Johnson’s role with the number 7th pick in the 2005 draft which the greatest owner in the world Robert Sarver SOLD, and that pick ladies and gentlemen was used to draft Luol Deng. Then in the 2006-2007 season when the Suns’ were basically screwed out of a title after the whole Tim Donaghy non-sense in game 3 and the controversial suspension of A’mare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw in game 5 which came after a final second hip check on Steve Nash by big ole big shot Bob Mr. Robert Horry in game 4. Had the Suns’ gotten past the Spurs, they would’ve ended up facing the Jazz and Cavaliers who at the time clearly wasn’t on the elite level the Suns’ and Spurs were(Spurs beat the Jazz 4-1 and swept the Cavs in the finals). The Suns' were by far their toughest match-up that year. 

Then came the 2007-2008 season when the Suns’ traded Shawn Marion an all-star who was in his prime for nothing more but an old and tired Shaq. Shawn Marion’s locker room issues were well known but he was still the perfect transition partner with Steve Nash and at the time better than Shaq anyhow. Then came the 2008-2009 season when the Suns’ let coach Mike D’Antoni walk, traded Nash’s best friend Raja Bell as well as forward Boris Diaw for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley. Nash let the public know of his displeasure about the trade but yet never ultimately made it a big deal.

Then finally came the tipping point for the Suns’ going from elite to mediocre, when Stoudemire bolted for New York after a Cinderella run to the western conference finals and were a miraculous buzzer beating put back from the guy formerly known as Ron Artest from being up 3-2 in the series against the Lakers heading back to Phoenix, which I thought was a over the back foul by the way because he basically trucked Jason Richardson out of the way(see for yourself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USZfRKJoXEs)

The Suns’ went on to attempt to replace Stoudemire with the likes of Hedo Turkologu, Hakim Warrick, and Josh Childress; we all know how well that went………..Yet through all of that, the Suns’ went from a team that were serious title contenders that revolutionized the NBA with their fast paced, exciting basketball to a team of role players and Steve Nash.

Through all of those awful events that transpired, Steve Nash never complained and never put the organization through the hell that superstars such as Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard put their teams through. He easily could’ve demanded a trade but did he? No. Did Steve Nash try to maximaze what little talent he had surrounding him the past 2 years? Yes. Did Steve Nash give his 110% to the Suns’ fans night in and night out? Yes. Should awful fans such as the ignorant individuals in this video(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHUcSzPj8EQ)  regret and feel awful about their actions? ABSOLUTELY!

This guy wanted to go to L.A because he wanted a shot at the ring he never got, he wanted to be close to his 3 children, and above all else the Suns’ got back 4 draft picks in return as oppose to nothing had he signed with Toronto or Dallas. These people certainly don’t deserve to call themselves Suns’ fans because their action of burning Nash’s jersey was a disgusting and disgraceful act, and they should know better than to treat probably the greatest Suns’ player of all time with such disrespect. How can you blame a guy for putting himself first for once after putting an organization first for eight years despite their constant mistreatment of him? 

Free Agent: Terrence Williams


The Suns’ need for a talented wing has been dealt with this offseason with Michael Beasley, but there’s a under the radar free agent that many Suns’ fans don’t know of and that player is Terrence Williams. 

Terrence Williams was a lottery pick in 2009 but he has never lived up to his expectations or potential. However his performance in Sacramento this past season proved to everyone that he does have a place in the NBA, which wasn’t always set in stone through his first two years. So for those of you who don’t know who Terrence Williams is http://espn.go.com/nba/player/stats/_/id/4019/terrence-williams .

Williams is an athletic wing who can play both wing positions, he’s a solid play maker however he does struggle with his jumper as well as his decision making. I was actually fortunate enough to watch Williams play when he was with the Nets and I remember going over to my friend and saying “Who is this guy? He knows how to play”. His versatile ability is displayed in that during his rookie season with the Nets he recorded 8 double doubles and 1 triple double. It was also the only season where he got to play consistent minutes.

Williams has a smooth all-around game and he’d be a great fit with the Suns. He’d be able to push the ball in transition, take some of the play making pressure off the point guards, and he can also make some highlight reels with his athleticism. Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMtfiwjt3DU&feature=fvwrel

Williams is seeking his place in the NBA still and if the Suns’ do in fact give him a chance he has the chance to be a great role player or even maybe becoming a solid starter in the NBA one day. I think Williams’ stubborn and impulsive personality has limited him from being an all-star but he can still be a good NBA player under the right coaching and being on the right team. Ironically in a game against the Suns' this season he scored 16 points(7-10 FG), grabbed 6 rebounds, had 5 dimes and 2 blocks in 31 minutes of play.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Suns' Direction?


Despite very popular signings this off-season for Phoenix, it seems like they’re making the same moves they did during that horrific off-season of 2010; when Stoudemire abandoned the desert for the big apple. The Suns’ have agreed to terms with former 2nd overall pick Michael Beasley, former Suns’ guard Goran Dragic and the upcoming superstar Eric Gordon.

Even with these signings the Suns are far from title contention with teams such as the Heat, Lakers and now Nets making these super teams built upon the elite stars of the NBA. Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the teams that have been NBA champions got one major thing in common; their best player was originally drafted by their respective team. Kobe Bryant with the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki with Dallas, Michael Jordan with Chicago, Larry Bird with Boston, Hakeem Olajuwon with Houston, and Tim Duncan with San Antonio.

Even with teams such as the Celtics and Miami who have won the title in recent years has one superstar originally drafted by the team on their roster, Paul Pierce and Dwayne Wade.

 So where does this leave the Suns? The Suns’ have 3 players on their team right now that was drafted by the Suns; Robin Lopez(assuming he returns), Markieff Morris and now Kendall Marshall. It might be a bit early to doubt Marshall, and Morris but it’s fairly unlikely that either of those guys will rise to superstardom; and you can just forget about Lopez.

Even if Gordon somehow finds his way to Phoenix, the future still seems gloomy because with all these new additions the Suns’ suddenly put themselves in the position to take one of the lower seeds in the playoffs even though they probably won’t win a series. This can’t be the ultimate plan the Suns’ front office has been planning. So the question is where do they go from here? The only and quickest logical way for the Suns’ to get in a position for contention is to lose!

I love the addition of Michael Beasley because he has as much potential as anyone in the league, he’s struggled in the NBA due to his off-court discipline and his lack of consistency effort wise but the potential and skill level is all there.

The signing of Goran Dragic made no sense to me, he’s a good point guard? Sure, but is he really going to help the Suns built towards the future? Russell Westbrook was the 4th pick in the 2008 draft and he struggled as much as any player his rookie season but look him now; that’s the result of playing time as well as experience. With Dragic in the picture, Kendall Marshall is sure to come off the bench with will limit his minutes.

Kendall Marshall during his two years at North Carolina has proved that he’s capable of competing at the highest level as well as handling heavy minutes as he averaged about 33 minutes per game during his sophomore season. With time to develop I think Kendall Marshall will develop into an all-star, between his flashy passing, work ethic, and above all else leadership will ultimately allow him to have a great NBA career. Marshall often gets slammed for his defense and athleticism, and much like the situation with Steve Nash, it’s overblown. People question Marshall’s ability to stay in front of the Derrick Roses of the world, but can you name me 3 players who can? ……………………. EXACTLY. Marshall in fact recorded a 37 max inch vertical leap at the draft combine in Chicago, that’s not something to sneeze at. He also has great strength which should help him a lot on the defensive end in the NBA.

 Had the Suns not made offer to Dragic & Gordon, they would’ve kept their cap space, had a miserable season, but would ultimately land a top 5 pick that can be the face of the franchise.

Another piece that I believe is key, center Marcin Gortat; who had an outstanding season last year partially due to playing next to Steve Nash but he’s an overall pretty gifted big man. He definitely has a lot of trade value on the market, and he’s not exactly a guy that would fit the blue print of a rebuilding team like the Suns. Gortat is turning 28, and by the time the Suns manage to put a contender together Gortat would probably be in his 30s so why not move him now for future draft picks or a couple of talent young prospects? Gortat’s trade value is also high because of his extremely reasonable contract for a 15-10 center, who is an extremely mobile for a player his size. His contract has two years remaining at about 7M a year.

 The Suns’ best shot at contention is to go through the usual losing years which leads to the lottery, which leads to young talent which ultimately would lead to a championship, and let’s face it no one is knocking off Miami or the Lakers any time soon with their ridiculously talented rosters; Brooklyn might in the conversation soon.

So why not bite the bullet for a couple of seasons, give guys like Morris and Marshall time to develop, and finally reel in that championship that all of us Suns fans have been dying for. But then again I’m just an almost college kid who’s trying to be a sportswriter, not the Suns’ general manager.