Posts Tagged ‘Alando Tucker’

Toronto Raptors Season Preview: Game 18

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

re: How an astute NBA observer might expect the first part of the schedule to unfold for the Raptors this year

Game 18 – vs Phoenix [Sun Nov 29]

 

RAPTORS

ADV

SUNS

PG

Calderon

à

PG

Nash

OG

DeRozan *

à

OG

Richardson

SF

Turkoglu $^

=

SF

Hill

PF

Bosh

ß

PF

Frye $

C

Bargnani

à

C

Stoudemire

 

 

 

PG

Jack #

=

PG

Dragic

OG

Belinelli ^

à

G

Barbosa

SF

Wright ^

=

SF

Clark *

PF

Evans ^

=

PF

Dudley

C

Nesterovic $

à

C

Amundson

 

 

 

G/F

Douby

=

SF

Tucker

PF

Johnson ^

=

PF

Powell $

 

 

 

HC

Triano

à

HC

Gentry

 

 

 

+1

OUTCOME

+6

Legend: ADV – Individual match-up advantage; * - 2009 NBA Draftee; ^ - Acquired via trade; # – Restricted free agent; #M – Restricted free agent, matched offer; $ – Unrestricted free agent; $R – Unrestricted free agent, re-signed; $^ – Acquired via Sign & Trade; Italics – Returning player; ? – Injured, status uncertain.

Originally, this was a game which yours truly thought the Raptors could/should/would win during this initial stretch of 20 games to start the season … that is … until the individual match-ups were examined in closer detail, especially, in the light of last night’s exhibition games vs Boston [aka, Hedo Turkoglu's debut with the Raptors] and Portland [for Phoenix].

The pre-season injury to Robin Lopez is going to impair the Suns’ ability to match-up physically in the post with a number of teams in the league this year. However, at the same time, Suns’ opponents are going to have their hands full coping with the different/unusual 5-man combinations which Phoenix will now be able to put on the floor together, playing at a very high tempo [e.g. last night Phoenix closed their game with Nash + Barbosa + Dudley + Frye + Stoudemire]. 

When healthy, this group of Suns is going to be too much for the Raptors to handle, given that:

1 The only match-up advantage in Toronto’s favour is Chris Bosh; 

2 The Raptors’ defense and rebounding will continue to struggle this season with the addition of Turkoglu; and,

3 The Suns are now capable of shooting the lights out with the 3-ball.

Raptors expected W-L Record: L, 6-12

When your rear end isn’t firing it’s only natural to be left for dead

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Shaq's rear end is back in working order

Shaq bringing out vintage moves
“You always take what the defense gives you, but I couldn’t always do that last year,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of young, energetic, new-millennium trainers here, and they’re really into their craft.”

O’Neal said his problem was major.

“A muscle in my (rear) wasn’t firing,” he explained. “So they left me for dead. ‘He’s old. He don’t have it anymore.’ Now I’m doing things I couldn’t do last year because my (rear) wasn’t firing.”

Makes sense. O’Neal without his gluteus muscles is like Allen Iverson without his crossover, Tim Duncan without his bank shot, Rasheed Wallace without his rants.

——————————–

Since trading for Jason Richardson the Suns are 8-3.

At present, Phoenix is in 2nd place, in the Pacific Division, with an overall record of 21-13 [.618].

As has been said in this space … since the off-season … the Suns are going to be a tougher out in the Playoffs this year than they were last spring.

Providing that they can qualify for the post-season tournament, in the first place, the Suns might just be one of the Top Four teams in the Western Conference come May/June … with the following line-up:

STARTERS

1/Steve Nash
2/Jason Richardson
3/Grant Hill
4/Amare Stoudemire
5/Shaquille O’Neal

KEY BENCH SUBS

1-2/Leandro Barbosa
2-3/Matt Barnes
4-5/Louis Amundson
5/Robin Lopez

RESERVES
1/Goran Dragic
2-3/Alando Tucker
4-5/Jared Dudley

as long as their innovative training staff can continue to work their magic on the Big Cactus’ rear end.

Where for art thou Phoenix?

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Actually, it’s a super interesting process …

Whither the Suns: An Update

gradually becoming more and more active on-line, in a variety of different places.

Making the correct decisions in the Valley of the Sun

Friday, October 24th, 2008

What a difference a year makes … when you add a new head coach to a veteran team.

——————————————-

Suns starting Barnes at small forward
“Grant brings a lot to that second unit with a lot of stability as a veteran with possibly two rookies on that second unit,” Porter said. “He can relieve some of the pressure that Goran (Dragic) may get at times and I like Grant to have the ball in his hands. That’s one of his strong points – to make decisions and make plays.”

With the goal to limit Hill to about 25 minutes per game, Hill would have sat for long stints if he started. Instead, he must adjust to a bench role after doing it only eight times in a 705-game career.

“I don’t mind it at all,” Hill said. “One of the things we talked about at training camp was our depth can be a weapon for us. You look at the Lakers and their second unit did wonders for them coming in a lot of times to extend a lead and provide a spark.
“Hopefully, we can wear you out as a team and continue to hit you with talent and guys who can make plays.”
Porter likes Barnes’ shooting range to spread the floor while still having a solid wing defender.
“It didn’t really matter to us,” Barnes said. “Once my shots start falling, I can help stretch the floor. I can help Raja (Bell) out there because this league is full of two and threes who are scorers. I’ll just bring a lot of energy.”

——————————————-

Those who under-estimate the Phoenix Suns this season will be in for a rude awakening, both, in the regular season and at playoff time … given:

i) This new role for Grant Hill;
ii) A reduced role for Shaquille O’Neal;
iii) The additions of Matt Barnes, Alando Tucker, Robin Lopez, Goran Dragic, Sean Singletary & Louis Amundson; and,
iv) The arrival of Terry Porter, with his focus on Rebounding, Defense & Team Offense.

If they eventually fall this season, sometime in May … let’s say, to the Lakers’ juggernaut, it will not be because they are once again ill-equipped to go the distance as they’ve been in seasons past under the premise of Seven Seconds or Less.

Thus far, every decision the Steve Kerr/Terry Porter tandem has made, in an effort to re-tool their once mis-directed team, has moved the Suns closer to realizing their long term goal of reaching and then winning the NBA Finals Series.

For the 1st time since the 1995-1996 season, this team has the type of Marquee Players, QUALITY DEPTH throughout the roster, Coaching & Style of Play it takes to be considered a Legitimate Contender for the League Championship.

Filling in the gaps for the Suns

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Further to: Whither the Suns in the Western Conference 

A report yesterday indicates that a new ‘Starting 5′ is on the way, in Phoenix, this season …

======================

Barnes expected to start; Hill to come off the bench
“ … in a roundabout way, Matt Barnes adds depth to the team, as he will be starting and Grant Hill will move to the bench this season.

This last point just about floored everyone in attendance [at the Suns' Fantasy Camp], but it sounds like this is what Coach Porter and Hill want to do [according to Suns' President Rick Welts, who addressed the campers directly].”

======================

If accurate … it’s another step in the right direction for the Suns, by the Terry Porter/Steve Kerr tandem, as the following new line-up:

STARTERS:
1 – Nash
2 - Bell
3 - Barnes
4 - Stoudemire
5 - O’Neal

SUBS:
1 – Singeletary
1 - Dragic
1/2 – Leandro Barbosa
2/3 – Hill
3/2 – Tucker
4/3 – Diaw
4 – Amundson
5 – Lopez

is a better balanced set-up than Mike D’Antoni’s prior alternative versions.

UPDATE: Confirmation that Grant Hill would be on-board with this proposed shift in Phoenix. [Wed Sep 24 2008]

Whither the Suns in the Western Conference

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

At the beginning of last season, this corner forecast the precipatous decline of ‘Seven Seconds or Less … and then went on to proclaim early-on that, after 3 years at-or-near the top of the Western Conference, knocking on the door of the NBA Finals, Phoenix WOULD NOT EVEN MAKE IT OUT OF THE 1st ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS LAST SEASON …

* NBA Playoffs Preview [2007-2008]
* Legitimate Contenders in the NBA: Part IV
* Eclipse of The Suns: An Update
* Hubris, The Big Aristotle and the Phoenix Suns
* Eclipse of the Suns

which is precisely what happened.

==========================

Looking back on 2007-2008 …

Q1. What exactly did the Suns accomplish, since the start of last season?
A1. By …

* Replacing Mike D’Antoni with Steve Kerr [former PG with the Bulls & Spurs]
* Adding Grant Hill [6-8, 225]
* Replacing Shawn Marion [6-7, 230] with Shaquille O’Neal [7-1, 325]
* Replacing Mike D’Antoni with Terry Porter [former PG with the Blazers]
* Retaining & then elevating Alando Tucker [6-6, 205]
* Adding Robin Lopez [7-0, 255], Matt Barnes [6-7, 226], Goran Dragic [6-4, 180], Sean Singletary [6-0, 185] and Louis Amundson [6-9, 225]

they’ve changed the entire culture of the organization … AND dramatically improved their chances of returning to the upper echelon of the Western Conference next season and beyond.

That’s what they’ve done in Phoenix over the last 12 months.

Whereas, last year at this time, the Suns were an ALL OFFENSE, NO DEFENSE & POOR REBOUNDING team, using a bandjo-tight 8-man rotation … with almost no legit chance to ever win four [4] consecutive series in the NBA playoffs [what it takes to claim the title!] … as they head to training camp this year … this is NO LONGER the eternal and/or external make-up of this team.

THIS TEAM, this season … with the line-up it can now put on the floor, night-in and night-out:

STARTERS
1 – Nash [6-3, 178]
2 – Bell [6-5, 215]
3 – Hill
4 – Stoudemire [6-10, 249] 
5 – Shaq
————-
KEY BENCH SUBS
1 – Singletary [or Dragic]
2/1 – Barbosa [6-3, 202]
3/2 – Tucker [or Barnes]
4/3 – Diaw [6-8, 235] [or Amundson]
5 – Lopez
————-
RESERVES
1 – Dragic [or Singletary]
3 – Barnes [or Tucker]
4 – Amundson
————-
HEALTHY SCRATCHES
3 – Piatkowski [?]
4/5 – Marks [?]

is as deep and athletically talented as any other outfit in the Western Conference,

this side of the LA Lakers, and

has a solid chance to return to the Western Conference Playoffs … WITH a legit opportunity to win a round or two and, possibly, advancing to the WC Finals, once again … as an upper echelon team, in the NBA.

By returning the focus in Phoenix to what makes for a championship calibre product, in this League … i.e. a commitment to REBOUNDING, Team Defense and a Balanced [higly structured] Team Offense … Steve Kerr may have accomplished in just one season at the helm something which Jerry Colangelo, Bryan Colangelo & Mike D’Antoni [before him] were NOT able to do over the course of their careers in the ‘Valley of the Sun’ … i.e. transform this team into a LEGITIMATE CONTENDER for an NBA championship … i.e. please see, What it takes to win the NBA Championship.

Which is not an easy feat … working for an owner with the reputation of one Robert Sarver.

Q2. Could it be … ‘The Rising of a New Sun[s] in Phoenix‘ this season? 
A2. Yes, Sir, indeed … it just might be that exact thing.