Tonight is a super important game between the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns. And on this super important day Bright Side of the Suns' Wil Cantrell came to me with some awesome questions. I tried to answer them as #Positively as I could, and you can read them all here. In return he was awesome enough to answer a few questions himself.
Here they are : )
#1: The Suns are 7-3 in their last 10 games. There were some impressive wins during that run (Lakers, T-Wolves, Clippers, Mavs, Grizz). What is the biggest contributing factor for the improved play of the Suns over the last 10 games?
This team is starting to gel. the rotation is set, guys know their roles, and they have been playing defense and hitting shots all in the same game. Early in the season, the Suns played pretty good defense, but they couldn't score. Then they didn't play defense for a stretch of games, and then they couldn't rebound for a stretch. I think what you are seeing are guys like Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown hitting shots now where as in the beginning of the season they were ice cold. The second unit has also begun to play much better, with guys like Sebastian Telfair, the afore mentioned Brown, and Robin Lopez playing decent, whereas in the first half they were awful.
#2: Every team in the league would love to have a Marcin Gortat. He's having a great season and does all the things you want from a big. He is a piece the Suns will hold onto for the long haul, or can a team pry him away for the right pieces?
Great question, and I am glad you brought it up. Someone on our site posted a TRADE GORTAT NOW post and it really rubbed me the wrong way. The Suns have been slowly rebuilding for a few years now, and Gortat was a key piece of that rebuild. Anyone who has been a Suns fan for more than 5-10 years knows the Suns have been forever in search of a quality big man. Now they have one who averages a double-double. No way is he going anywhere unless the booty includes Dwight Howard, and we know that won't happen.
#3: Markieff Morris was taken with the #13 pick of the draft. He's playing a little over 19 mpg this season, and while his percentages aren't hot (37 / 37 / 70 ), I think he has a lot of upside. Do you think the Suns should move some of the veteran guys ahead of him to make more room, specifically guys like Hakim Warrick and Channing Frye?
Morris has hit the rookie wall. He went through a stretch recently of hitting something like 8 of 47 shots. While he is a big guy, he does have a quality outside shot. For him, deciding on whether to take the shot, drive, or pass has played in his head to the point of confusion. He's also been fairly turnover prone. That said, I do see the upside. Unfortunately he may need a year or two to get to be a dependable starter. Frye has turned on the defense and rebounding even though his shot has been putrid, and of late Hakim Warrick has contributed in Morris' absence. In conclusion of this long winded response, I am sure the Suns would love to move Warrick, but his contract is too big for what he provides, and Frye produces pretty well in terms of what he's being paid, so no, I don't see either going anywhere this season.
#4: As a Jazz fan, a guy who looks at the career legacies of players, and a lover of point guards I gotta ask -- how impressed are you this season with the continued brilliance and leadership the Suns are getting from Ronnie Price. Er, I mean Steve Nash. He's never taken a team to the NBA Finals, but he has all the other awards you can name. Is he better than John Stockton?
HAHAH, Price has been an active cheerleader from the bench. That is a tough question, and perhaps we can answer that better when Nash retires. I'll put it this way, I like Nash as a player more than Stockton. I think he is more athletic than Stockton and I think his overall value to the Suns is higher than Stockton's was. And before anyone gets testy at that comment, keep in mind, the Suns would have about 10 wins this season with Ronnie Price and Sebastian Telfair running the point. They are dangerously dependent on Nash.
I have virtually no way to justify saying Nash is better. But Stockton did play his whole career in Utah and most of it with Karl Malone. That pick n roll was brutal, and they ran it to perfection. In comparison, Nash had Dirk and Amare as partners, but Amare wasn't as good as Malone and Dirk is a different kind of player. So...wow, tough question worth a long debate at some point!
Thanks so much to Wil for participating in this. He really set it all up, so in this case Steve Nash gets the assist, not John Stockton. Check out Bright Side Of The Sun -- they have really great coverage and are run by some of the best bloggers on the entire SB nation network.