Sans Nash, Suns In Transition

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – This is the time of year for positive spin around the NBA. No matter what moves your team made in July, it’s going to have a positive outlook on the near or distant future.

The Phoenix Suns are one of those teams that’s looking long-term … for the most part. Franchise icon Steve Nash is gone, along with Grant Hill. The Suns have added some mid-level free agents and trade acquisitions, but it will be tough for them to compete in an improved Western Conference.

Suns general manager Lance Blanks sees the Suns as a team in transition, but he’s not not up for going the Orlando Magic route by completely bottoming out for the next two or three years, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports

The roster has changed, but the commitment to a wide-open, entertaining playing style remains — and the front office has done it all with an aim toward returning the team to a sustainable elite status.

“The first goal was to be able to put a team out there that would handle the next era of the organization — the rigors and challenges,” Blanks said. “A transition like that is not always seamless. We wanted to make sure we had people to weather the ups and downs of entering the next era and also find guys whose career paths and trajectories fit the future of the organization. Just about every guy is a fresh-start guy.”

“We’re still in an extended honeymoon,” Blanks said. “I’m cautiously optimistic about the season. I don’t think this is a team you want do much predicting with in terms of numbers. What I can see in the future for this team this year is a team that is fun to watch and plays hard every night. It is a group of guys who will play together because of the type of guys they are.”

Defensively, Blanks projects the potential of a good team based on that word again — commitment. Dragic is a bigger point guard with athleticism and tenacity. Beasley has been derided for being disengaged defensively, but Blanks said he is “very capable” of handling NBA small forwards if he becomes disciplined.

Counting on a bunch of “fresh-start guys” is a little sketchy. So is the idea looking to Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley for defense. But the Suns will certainly have the ability to hang with teams offensively. A lineup of Dragic, Jared Dudley, Beasley, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat has everything you need — low-post game, pick-and-roll play, and perimeter shooting — to put points on the board.

This “transition” phase should last two seasons, until the Suns have a ton of cap space and flexibility in 2014. For now, the Suns will at least be fun to watch. Just how good they’ll be is up for debate.

Also up for debate is whether or not Blanks is choosing the right path by restocking the roster with decent players. The Suns won’t nearly be the worst team in the league this season, and that may be a bad thing.

24 Comments

  1. cherrypopper says:

    GORAN DRAGIC = 2013 ALL-STAR !!!

  2. Sunsman says:

    Simply, this team is gonna be fun – up and down, high scoring – like when Cotton was coach.

    But they will give up too much and probably get around 35-40 wins. No playoffs, but still great basketball.

    In the end – they have no go to guy, someone to force the defense of the opposition out of position – they will win by pushing the ball and avoiding a half court game.

    IMO Gentry will keep Beasley focused for about 1/2 the season and then the drugs and “friends” will pull him down again – hope it ain’t so, Beasley needs to grow up and stop thinking that he’s all that – yes he can put the ball in the hole, but wait and see, both teams he left have been (Miami) and will be better (T’wolves) because of it. Just Watch Minny, they will be in post season and my favorite Suns put too much trust in a dope head who won’t and probably doesn’t have the mental/emotional durability to be committed to anything for a whole season, let alone trying to play good d from november to april.

  3. Bossman says:

    I got lost I’m a heat fan

  4. PHXsunsFAN says:

    I’ve been a PHX fan since 1987. I don’t know what kool-aid you’re drinking, but the ceiling for this team is 37-42 wins, basement is prob around 28-30 wins, CLEARLY not good enough to get into the playoffs in the west. We have lots of solid players, but no one to pull the team together, and no star. Hill and Nash were just as important as Alvin Gentry in coaching this team the last two years, if not MORE important. Dudley will slack off and gain a few pounds bk Nash isn’t there to push him, Dragic will struggle with turnovers and confidence, bk he has shown a lack of confidence when the pressure is on him, (other than one amazing fourth quarter of a playoff game, got it). Remember, not too long ago, the Suns traded Earl Clark and Dragic for Aaron Brooks, bk they didn’t feel Dragic could be a solid backup at that point, much less a starter. Gortat is solid, not great. Scola is solid, not great. Beasley will score alot, sure, 25 ppg is realistic. Take a glance at his defensive numbers when the season’s over. Once he starts scoring, that will be his mindset, not defense. Channing Frye will struggle without Nash when asked to create his own offense. Beyond that you’ve got a bunch of role players and unproven players.

    • Austin says:

      hmm dragic stuggeled with confidence his first year and a half, then he gained it, did you not watch him when the pressure was on him the last half of the season when he played in houston, because he shinned, he showed he deserved to be a starting point guard and that is why the suns wanted him back.

  5. Stu.D says:

    Alarm bells must have been rining about wes johnson and michael beasley in Minny for them to let them both go. They each have stacks of potential but I would question their character if a building team has been willing to part with them.

  6. Tyrone Lu says:

    Yeah they should be able to make the playoffs as long as Beasley can step it up a little more and finally live up to his #2 overall expectations. Otherwise, be in the lottery and hope that they can do the Orlando Magic 92 or Bulls 09 miracle.

  7. SUN says:

    im a huge phx fan, one of the few in my city i always believe phx will b good every season now more than ever!! they have a solid starting line-up and their post presence will b better than years before with scola and gortat putting up good numbers. i know dragic will b amazing im just hoping beasley will actually b the player hes capable of being.
    cant wait for that championship in PHOENIX!!!!! but lets b honest ill have 2 wait a while for that day but ill still b a Sun forever!!

  8. Goran Dragic will be a star….I can tell…

  9. TTKIN says:

    idk, the west is good but I still think they have the POTENTIAL to win 50 games. that’s only like 9 more than last year. Ya steve is gone, but Dragic knows how to get it done too. If they dont get many injuries and play with 100% effort for 48 minutes every night, I definitely think they can hang with em. I dont think they can win a title, but they definitely are postseason-capable, and once ur in the postseason anything can happen.

    But they’ll have to figure out how to play D better. OKC, LAL, DEN, those teams will all be able to score over and over unless they improve.

  10. Bersem says:

    Can’t wait to watch the new Suns in action : they have a really good team with good bench players… would love to see Beasley and Dragic “fighting” together to claim the M.I.P. award, Scola and Gortat playing together in the paint, feeded by Dragic… Dudley, Frye shooting 3 and Brown playing fast-break with Dragic and Beasley….Ooooh I’m so excited !
    Well… maybe do they need to improve a little their defense but they are able to clinch a playoff spot next season ;-)

  11. slovenci truli svi osim dragica says:

    GOOOOOO DRAGIC THE DRAGON SUNCE LI TI JEBEM

  12. Jacob says:

    I love the suns but the Owner is not good at all. Thats why they call him ROBERT SAVER

  13. ???? says:

    steve nash is the key player of phoenix without steve nash phoenix is nothing!

  14. Jacob says:

    David the reason why it is bad is because f we were to make the playoffs we would most likely be in the 7th or 8th place. By doing so the worst thing to be in the NBA is mediocre. Most likely you will get out of the first round and by doing so we dont get a lottery pick which we need. Either be bad!!! or be GOOOD!!!

  15. Selena says:

    As a Suns fan, I’m getting excited about the team once again. I’m really looking forward to what the Suns will do in a few years, but they should be fun to watch now. It’s tough to remember the days when they were the best team, and a certain member of the Spurs body checked Nash into the boards (and all the other heartbreaking moments). It’s time to look ahead to the future! We’ll get the championship one day!

  16. David says:

    I believe they have a chance to make the playoffs which isn’t bad considering not every team can be in the playoffs and only 3 or 4 teams are realistically title contenders. Teams in this league need to compete and make the league competitive even though they are aware they are not title contenders; otherwise the majority of teams will tank games and make the NBA league unwatchable.

  17. BBOYBaller says:

    Still believe in the bro Beasley . He got game. Lets get it Done Beasley. DO IT FOR YOURSELF.

    • non bandwagoner says:

      teach him to play defence and he’ll do just fine.

    • Kenny says:

      good stuff! This is Beasley’s time! PUT UP OR SHUT UP! He can do it! LET’S BEAT LA 4 TIMES THIS YEAR AND STICK IT IN THE FACE OF NASH, HOWARD, KOBE and the whole NY YANKEES…I MEAN LA STAFF

  18. Sea Pea says:

    Beasley needs to step his game up. It’s time to shine in Phoenix.