Ben York of Ben’s Suns Blog has put together a solid Q & A exchange. I answered some questions about the state of the Clippers over at BSB, while Ben was kind enough to give us a glimpse of the league’s most ever-evolving team:
Where do you come down on The Great Phoenix Suns Tempo Debate?
I am one of the few that have been patient with the Suns this season. Furthermore, I think that Terry Porter has one of the most difficult jobs in all of the NBA. Blending superstar ego’s via the implementation of a more disciplined approach and style has been challenging thus far. To Porter’s credit, he experimented with a slower and more devisive style early in the year that proved ineffective. However, he adjusted (something D’Antoni was incapable of) and the Suns are playing their best basketball this year. It’s clear that the Suns are better off running. No question about it. Having said that, Shaq has been incredible thus far and gives the Suns another dimension late in the game. We really should be 7-0 since acquiring Richardson minus a few incredibly lucky shots from the Blazers and Spurs. Though it’s early, the Suns have proven they are still a force in the West (even if that’s because the majority of the other teams have fatal flaws like the Suns), and we really haven’t played that well overall.
Now that Raja Bell is gone, who’s taking on the really tough defensive assignments on the wing?
Short answer – nobody. In all seriousness, the Suns have rotated so many players on the tough wing assignments that there really hasn’t been anyone that has come out as a clear defensive stopper that Raja Bell (mistakenly) was known for. Matt Barnes and Jason Richardson have basically picked up the slack and have done a nice job overall. Though, it’s really been the 1 and 2 guards that have been killing us. Don’t forget, Bell gave up 50 points to Jamal Crawford not too long ago so he has certainly lost a step. Our defense has struggled mightily this year as we, apparently, still don’t understand weak side help and proper defensive rotations.
How’s Jason Richardson working out — that last second defensive snafu on Christmas day aside?
I love the acquisition. Absolutely love it. He has already impacted the team beyond measure and, essentially, given them (and me) hope. He’s made the Suns immediately younger at the 2 spot, provided a rejuvenation of their uptempo offense, and forces opponents to guard him. Despite what some believe, he absolutely can create his own shot and gives Nash another Joe Johnson-type wing player that we haven’t had since the 2004-2005 season. More importantly, he is a great guy in the locker room and has helped bring “fun” to the Suns again.
Are the Suns set up for the long-term?
Currently, they aren’t fully set up for the long haul, but we have a GM and President that will make sure we get there. If the last year and a half under Kerr is any indication, the Suns organization certainly isn’t afraid to take chances or make controversial moves – which is exactly what we need in a GM. It’s much too far away to predict if Amare, Nash, and/or Shaq will be a Sun beyond 2010 as I think much of that decision will be based on how the next year and a half turn out. It depends on if the Suns think Amare Stoudemire is a legit piece to build around. If so, they do have great complimentary players to help him like Jason Richardson, Leandro Barbosa, Matt Barnes, and others. Our supposed successor to Nash, Goran Dragic, has all but lost any shred of confidence so it’s not really fair to predict how he will turn out. All in all, I’m optimistic with Kerr at the helm.