Posts Tagged ‘Goran Dragic’

Steve Kerr’s effect on the Phoenix Suns

Monday, May 10th, 2010

After sliding down into the NBA’s Draft Lottery last year …

What exactly has happened with the Phoenix Suns this season to propel their team back toward the top end of the Western Conference?

1 Robert Sarver … once vilified as a “spendthrift” owner, to the worst degree … is now perceived as a “champion of the people.”

2 Steve Nash is still a terrific offensive Point Guard and a first-class leader.

3 Grant Hill is still a consumate professional.

4 Amare Stoudemire is still a dynamic force at the Center position.

5 Leandro Barbosa is still a whirling dervish capable of providing instant offense.

Robin Lopez – drafted [No. 15] by S-Kerr summer 2008
7 Goran Dragic – acquired via Draft Day trade [No. 45] by S-Kerr summer 2008 
Louis Amundson - added by S-Kerr summer 2008
9 Jason Richardson – acquired via trade by S-Kerr 2008-2009 season
10 Jared Dudley – acquired via trade by S-Kerr 2008-2009 season
11 Earl Clark – drafted [No. 14] by S-Kerr summer 2009
12 Alvin Gentry – appointed head coach by S-Kerr 2008-2009 season
13 Taylor Griffin – drafted [No. 48] by S-Kerr summer 2009
14 Channing Frye – added by S-Kerr summer 2009
15 Jarron Collins – Added by S-Kerr fall 2009
16 Dwayne Jones – added by S-Kerr 2009-2010 season

* Bold – individuals who are sound defensively and in terms of rebounding.

October 24 2008, this is what was written in this space about Steve Kerr, the current GM of the Phoenix Suns:

Making the correct decisions in the Valley of the Sun

April 28 2009, this is what was written in this space about the immediate future of the Phoenix Suns, under the direction of Steve Kerr:

Where the Suns go from here, under Steve Kerr

12 months later …

After sweeping their 2nd Round Playoff series againgst arch-nemesis, San Antonio, today, Phoenix is basking in the glow of a return trip to the Western Conference Finals … courtesy of the fine work done by STEVE KERR

If you do not happen to know exactly who Steve Kerr is … and what his personal history happens to entail … then you should take a minute to read THIS and, then, understand fully that – in the opinion of yours truly – he has the make-up [i.e. the basketball pedigree, the list of basketball-related accomplishments and the personal attributes] of someone who is going to be an outstanding General Manager in the NBA for an extended number of years with his commitment to a Balanced Approach to the game.

Related:

Phoenix Suns News

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

Toronto Raptors Season Preview: Game 10

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

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

Game 10– @ Phoenix [Sun Nov 15]

 

RAPTORS

ADV

SUNS

PG

Calderon

à

PG

Nash

OG

DeRozan *

à

OG

Richardson

SF

Turkoglu $^

=

SF

Hill

PF

Bosh

ß

PF

Amundson

C

Bargnani

à

C

Stoudemire

 

 

 

PG

Jack #

ß

PG

Dragic

OG

Belinelli ^

=

OG

Barbosa

SF

Wright ^

=

SF

Clark *

PF

Evans ^

=

PF

Frye $

C

Nesterovic $

=

C

Lopez

 

 

 

G/F

Douby

=

G

Tucker

PF

Johnson ^

=

C

Dudley

 

 

 

HC

Triano

à

HC

Gentry

 

 

 

+2

OUTCOME

+4

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.

The Suns are a much more stable team this season, provided they have a healthy Stoudemire at the Center position, with 8 of their first 10 players as returnees from last year’s squad. If Earl Clark turns out to be as good as this corner thinks he is going to be … i.e. a starting calibre #3/SF, who can score the ball, defend and rebound his position effectively … Phoenix will have a very solid rotation that’s 10-men deep and capable of playing well at a high tempo for the entire season. In this specific spot on their schedule, the Raptors will most likely be over-matched in a high scoring shootout.

Raptors expected W-L Record: L, 4-6

Where the Suns go from here, under Steve Kerr

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Two highly interesting points of view …

Steve Kerr – the lost interviews, part I
A mid-April conclusion to the Suns season just leaves more time for second guesses about last season and first suggestions about next season.

Suns General Manager Steve Kerr tackled both departments after a 46-36 that was better than 17 other NBA teams’ records but considered by many as the most disappointing outcome in the league. The season was marred by Leandro Barbosa’s absence and an uncomfortable coaching change early and Amare Stoudemire’s and Barbosa’s injuries later. In between, Kerr shook the team’s core up by trading Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary to Charlotte for Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round draft pick.

“I don’t see a massive overhaul as being necessary,” Kerr said. “We won 46 games in a season in which we endured a lot of turmoil, from the coaching situation to the injury to Amare to a pretty big trade. We had a lot of change.

“I know all of us in that room feel like that 46 should have been about 52, 53. I have no doubt that this team is a very, very competitive good playoff team. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it. That doesn’t mean we’re going to blow up the team and start over. It also doesn’t mean there couldn’t be some changes. We have to evaluate everything. We could’ve done better. This was not a championship team. This was a very good team that could’ve done better but we have to improve and we have to make improvements this summer.”

———-

Shaq – the lost interviews, part II
The Suns talked about trading O’Neal at midseason and will explore the idea again. He has made himself a tradeable commodity despite the $20 million price tag ($21 million cap number) and the Suns will be looking to begin to transform itself into a younger team. Part of that redesign could include seeking a center who is more mobile to defend and help defend.

“I realize every summer something might happen,” O’Neal said. “Something will change. I just told Steve (Kerr) that ‘I’ve been under a lot of general managers but no one treated me the way you did,’ ” O’Neal said. “Whatever happens, I understand the business and we all just have to move on. Steve was great. At the trade deadline, he didn’t have to call me and ask me if I wanted to go. A lot of guys would’ve just did it. He promised me if something would go down, that he’d call me and he called me. I love him for that. I respect him for that. I played for a lot of great GMs and he’s up there.”

POST [Game] MORTEM: Raptors at Suns [Feb 27]

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

FINAL SCORE: Raptors 113, SUNS 133
Complete Game Info

At the start of the 4th quarter the score of this game was 96-92, in favour of the Suns.

 

TORONTO RAPTORS’ SUBSTITUTIONS

at PHOENIX SUNS

[Tue Feb 24 2009]

 

Time

1

2

3

4

5

Start

End

Diff

Q4 12:00

RU

JK

SM√

CB√

AB

92-96

92-98

-2

Q4 11:45

JC

RU 

JK

SM

 

92-98

95-106

-5

Q4 09:52

 

AP

SM

CB

 

95-106

104-124

-9

Q4 03:29

 

 

JV

104-124

106-124

+2

Q4 03:02

RU

 

 

106-124

110-126

+2

Q4 01:52

 

MB

AP

JK

PO 

110-126

113-133

-4

 

LEGEND:

Non-Italics & Non-bold – Player in the game at this position; Italics – Player Shifted to a new position; Bold – New Player Subbed into the game at this position; √ – Solid Rebounder at this position; AB – Andrea Bargnani; AP – Anthony Parker; CB – Chris Bosh; JC – Jose Calderon; JG – Joey Graham; JK – Jason Kapono; MB – Marcus Banks; PO – Patrick O’Bryant; RU – Roko Ukic; SM – Shawn Marion.

 

 

From 09:52 to 03:29 of the quarter, this is the Full Play-By-Play, which shows the individual possession outcomes for the two teams:

 

Team Timeout:Regular

9:52

 

Kapono Substitution replaced by Bosh

9:52

 

Ukic Substitution replaced by Parker

9:52

 

 

9:52

Dudley Substitution replaced by O’Neal

Marion Dunk Shot: Made (24 PTS)
Assist: Bosh (3 AST)

9:41
[TOR 97-106]

 

 

9:22
[
PHX 108-97]

Amundson Layup Shot: Made (15 PTS)
Assist: Barnes (5 AST)

 

9:02

Amundson Foul:Shooting (1 PF)

Marion Free Throw 1 of 2 missed

9:02

 

Team Rebound

9:02

 

Marion Free Throw 2 of 2 (25 PTS)

9:02
[TOR 98-108]

 

 

8:46
[
PHX 110-98]

Barnes Running Jump Shot: Made (18 PTS)

Parker 3pt Shot: Missed

8:36

 

 

8:34

Dragic Rebound (Off:1 Def:1)

 

8:28

Barnes 3pt Shot: Missed

Bargnani Rebound (Off:2 Def:3)

8:26

 

Bargnani Turnover:Lost Ball (2 TO) Steal:O’Neal (3 ST)

8:14

 

 

8:09

Dragic Layup Shot: Missed

 

8:08

Amundson Tip Shot: Missed

 

8:08

Amundson Rebound (Off:2 Def:4)

 

8:07

Amundson Layup Shot: Missed Block: Bosh (1 BLK)

 

8:07

Amundson Rebound (Off:3 Def:4)

Bargnani Rebound (Off:2 Def:4)

8:05

 

 

8:04

Dragic Foul:Personal (4 PF)

 

7:55

Dragic Foul:Personal (5 PF)

 

7:55

Dragic Substitution replaced by Barbosa

 

7:53

Barbosa Foul:Personal (4 PF)

Calderon Free Throw 1 of 2 (7 PTS)

7:53
[TOR 99-110]

 

Calderon Free Throw 2 of 2 (8 PTS)

7:53
[TOR 100-110]

 

 

7:35
[
PHX 112-100]

O’Neal Dunk Shot: Made (34 PTS)
Assist: Barnes (6 AST)

Bosh Layup Shot: Missed

7:16

 

 

7:15

O’Neal Rebound (Off:1 Def:7)

 

6:58
[
PHX 114-100]

O’Neal Layup Shot: Made (36 PTS)
Assist: Barbosa (3 AST)

Bargnani 3pt Shot: Missed

6:42

 

 

6:40

Barbosa Rebound (Off:0 Def:3)

 

6:31
[
PHX 116-100]

O’Neal Hook Shot: Made (38 PTS)
Assist: Barbosa (4 AST)

 

6:19

O’Neal Foul:Personal (3 PF)

Calderon Free Throw 1 of 2 (9 PTS)

6:19
[TOR 101-116]

 

Calderon Free Throw 2 of 2 (10 PTS)

6:19
[TOR 102-116]

 

Bargnani Foul:Personal (3 PF)

6:10

 

 

5:58

Barbosa 3pt Shot: Missed

 

5:56

O’Neal Rebound (Off:2 Def:7)

Bargnani Foul:Personal (4 PF)

5:56

 

(5:56) Timeout: Official

 

5:56

Barnes Substitution replaced by Hill

Bargnani Foul:Personal (5 PF)

5:49

 

 

5:42
[
PHX 118-102]

O’Neal Dunk Shot: Made (40 PTS)
Assist: Hill (11 AST)

Parker Jump Shot: Missed

5:25

 

 

5:23

Amundson Rebound (Off:3 Def:5)

 

5:00

Barbosa Running Bank shot: Missed

 

4:57
[
PHX 120-102]

O’Neal Dunk Shot: Made (42 PTS)

 

4:57

O’Neal Rebound (Off:3 Def:7)

Calderon Jump Shot: Missed

4:40

 

 

4:38

Amundson Rebound (Off:3 Def:6)

 

4:22

O’Neal Hook Shot: Missed

 

4:19

Team Rebound

 

4:19

Team Timeout:Regular

 

4:17
[
PHX 122-102]

Amundson Alley Oop Layup shot: Made (17 PTS)
Assist: Hill (12 AST)

 

4:04

O’Neal Foul:Personal (4 PF)

Bosh Free Throw 1 of 2 (18 PTS)

4:04
[TOR 103-122]

 

Bosh Free Throw 2 of 2 (19 PTS)

4:04
[TOR 104-122]

 

 

3:46

O’Neal Turnover:Bad Pass (2 TO) Steal:Parker (1 ST)

Parker Jump Shot: Missed Block: Amundson (2 BLK)

3:41

 

Team Rebound

3:41

 

Marion Jump Shot: Missed

3:39

 

 

3:37

Hill Rebound (Off:0 Def:4)

Bargnani Foul:Shooting (6 PF)

3:29

 

Bargnani Substitution replaced by Voskuhl

3:29

 

 

3:29
[
PHX 123-104]

O’Neal Free Throw 1 of 2 (43 PTS)

 

3:29
[
PHX 124-104]

O’Neal Free Throw 2 of 2 (44 PTS)

 

 

during which you should be able to see clearly where and how the Raptors lost this game:

 

Possession Conversions into Points [%]

Tor, 5-13 = 7 pts [38.5]; PHO, 9-17 = 18 pts [52.9]

 

FGM-FGA = %

Tor, 1-8 = 12.5; PHO, 8-15 = 53.3

 

2nd Chance Points

Tor, 0; PHO, 6

 

Possessions ending in Layups/Tips/Dunks/FTs

Tor, 5; PHO, 13 

 

when the teams were matched-up with the following line-ups:

 

 

LINE-UPS & INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UPS

09:52-03:29 OF THE 4TH QUARTER

 

Time

Team

PG

OG

SF

PF

C

Start

End

Diff

09:52

Tor

Calderon

Parker

Marion

Bosh

Bargnani

95

106

98

110

-1

PHO

Dragic

Richardson

Barnes

Amundson

O’Neal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07:55

Tor

Calderon

Parker

Marion

Bosh

Bargnani

98

110

102

116

-2

PHO

Barbosa

Richardson

Barnes

Amundson

O’Neal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05:56

Tor

Calderon

Parker

Marion

Bosh

Bosh

102

116

104

124

-6

PHO

Barbosa

Richardson

Hill

Amundson

O’Neal

 

LEGEND:

Bold – Player was subbed into the game; Italics – Player was shifted to a new position.

 

and Shaquille O’Neal manhandled the Raptors’ bigs.

 

When the Raptors use line-ups like these:

 

i. With only 1 or 2 solid Rebounders on the floor together;

ii. With Roko Ukic and Jason Kapono at the PG & OG positions;

iii. With Shawn Marion at the #3/SF position, instead of at the #4/PF spot;

iv. With Andrea Bargnani at the #5/C position [instead of Chris Bosh], and without three [3] other solid Rebounders on the floor beside him;

 

they are going to consistently come up short against the majority of the Middle-of-the-Pack teams in the NBA and every one of the High End teams.

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.