Previous week’s games
03/04/2011 SUNS 102, Bucks 88
03/06/2011 Thunder 122, SUNS 118
03/08/2011 SUNS 113, Rockets 110
03/10/2010 Nuggets 116, SUNS 97
Upcoming week’s games
03/13/2011 SUNS vs Magic, 12:30 p.m., ABC
03/14/2011 SUNS @ Rockets, 5:30 p.m., My45
03/16/2011 SUNS @ Hornets, 5 p.m., My45
A week ago, I wrote about the importance of Channing Frye to the offense the Phoenix Suns run. I talked about how the hate he receives is unjust and how his contract is turning out to be a bargain as he continues to improve.
Frye continued to prove my point with good showings last Friday in Milwaukee and Sunday in Oklahoma, where he pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds. Unfortunately, Frye didn’t get to finish the game in Oklahoma.
In arguably the worst officiated game of the season (factually the worse when looking at free throw disparity), Frye was injured on a play where he was hit across the arm by the Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. The obvious contact wasn’t enough to draw a foul, but it was enough to dislocate the shoulder of the sharpshooting big man. This injury puts the Suns in a tough spot.
Currently, the Suns are playing their best basketball of the season. They’re in the midst of a tough fight for a playoff spot in the über-tight Western Conference, and Frye has been a huge part of that. His injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Suns
will once again have to adjust on the fly as Channing sits on the sideline to heal up.
Frye is expected to miss two to three weeks, which will put him out of about 10 games or so. Then, who knows how long it’ll be before he’s actually back in the flow of things once he gets back. Luckily for the Suns, they have a few options that could potentially fill the void left by Frye.
Hakim Warrick and Mickeal Pietrus are likely going to see the biggest increase in minutes, with Josh Childress getting some spot minutes as a result of the injury. All three can be assets on the floor when at the top of their game.
Warrick wasted no time taking advantage of the increased role. In his second start of the season, Warrick went off on the Houston Rockets with a career-high 32 points and pulled down eight boards. Hak certainly can’t spread the floor like Frye can, but his outside jumper has started to become more consistent and he can free up the floor for other guys by running the pick-and-roll with Steve Nash.
Warrick doesn’t rebound as well as Frye, but when aggressive he can be decent. Since just before the All-Star break, Hakim seemed to pick up his intensity level, and it has really begun to show.
Pietrus lacks Frye’s size, but in the system Coach Gentry and the Suns run, he can certainly fill in at power forward from time to time. On the offensive end he can provide much of what Frye does, but also has a little more ability and putting the ball down and driving to the basket. On the flip side, Pietrus won’t provide much as far as interior defense, but he is one of the team’s better perimeter defenders.
Childress is the wild card. While I don’t expect him to see a whole lot of minutes, if any, at the four spot, he could see some on the wing positions if either Grant Hill or Pietrus is asked to slide over at any point. I hope to see this happen. Childress is able to do a lot of the little things that can get overlooked and he has an ability to get the basket. He also gives the team another solid perimeter defender. If nothing else, I’d like to see Childress can a few more regular-season minutes, because you never know when a guy with his skill set could come in handy in the postseason.
All in all, the Suns should be able to withstand Frye’s injury, despite how well he had been playing. Warrick and Pietrus have both been playing at extremely high levels lately, along with the rest of the team, and I see no reason for that to change. If the guys keep it up, there’s no reason to think the Suns won’t sneak into the playoffs. Frye will return just in time to erase some of his demons from postseasons past.
The second issue of DPJ magazine hits the streets of Central Phoenix on Tuesday, January 25, and there are plenty of reasons to pick up a copy at January’s Radiate PHX or one of 300 or so locations nearest you:
- Find out how light rail is fueling a pedestrian culture in Downtown Phoenix, from First Friday to running daily errands
- Utilize a four-page pull-out Artlink map to visit some new places on your next First Friday adventure
- Discover how Encanto Park has evolved over 75 years
- Uncover a 100-year-old hidden gem in Garfield that draws in visitors from all over the world
- Take a look at CASS’ operations on the Human Services Campus and how it is sculpting the makeup of Downtown
- Hear what Downtown spot is Phoenix Suns power foward Hakim Warrick’s weakness
- Check out the evolution of PHXRailFood.com
- Read restaurateur Sam Fox’s thoughts on Downtown as he readies The Arrogant Butcher at CityScape
- Stay up to date on all of the latest Downtown buzz and events
- …and more!
Previous week’s games
11/26/2010 SUNS 116, Clippers 108
11/28/2010 Nuggets 138, SUNS 133
12/02/2010 SUNS 107, Warriors 101
Upcoming week’s games
12/03/2010 SUNS vs Pacers, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
12/05/2010 SUNS vs Wizards, 6 p.m., My45
12/07/2010 SUNS @ Blazers, 8 p.m., My45
12/08/2010 SUNS vs Grizzlies, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
Next Friday, December 10, the Phoenix Suns will host their third annual tweetup presented by Discount Tire when the team faces off against the visiting Portland Trailblazers.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years and are unaware, a tweetup is an event where people from the popular social networking site Twitter meet up for a gathering.
Fans that purchase tickets to the tweetup get great seats (in group section with other tweeps!) at a discounted price and a free T-shirt. The event will also allow fans to enter US Airways Center early to watch the Suns warm up as well as be part of a “Twitter tailgate” in which fans are able to get food and drink specials at discount prices.
Throughout the game, Twitter contests will give fans the opportunity to win some sweet Suns prizes. The fun doesn’t stop there though, because after the game, fans attending the tweetup will get to join JMZ creator and Suns forward Jared Dudley for a private Q&A session.
After attending last year’s tweetup, I definitely recommend this to all Suns fans. It’s a great chance to meet other Suns fans (some that travel from out of state to make the game) and get the rare opportunity to ask an NBA player your very own question.
While Jared Dudley is the scheduled guest for this year’s Q&A, you never know who else may show up. During last year’s tweetup, former Sun Amar’e Stoudemire was the post-game guest, but surprise appearances were made by Suns head coach Alvin Gentry, broadcaster and Suns legend Eddie Johnson and Dudley. While we don’t know for sure, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t another Suns-related speaker talking to fans after the game.
If there is one Suns game you’re going to attend this year, this is the one. I’ll be there, so come hang out and say hi to your favorite Suns blogger.
For more information regarding the Phoenix Suns third annual tweetup, including ticket purchasing, please visit Suns.com.
The skinny on ‘Skinny’
Be on the lookout for the next issue of the DPJ magazine (out in January), as I will have an exclusive interview with one of the new faces on Planet Orange, Hakim Warrick.
Previous week’s games
11/05/2010 SUNS 123, Grizzlies 118
11/07/2010 SUNS 118, Hawks 114
11/08/2010 Grizzlies 109, SUNS 99
Upcoming week’s games
11/12/2010 SUNS vs Kings, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
11/14/2010 SUNS @ Lakers, 7:30 p.m., My45
11/15/2010 SUNS vs Nuggets, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
11/17/2010 SUNS @ Heat, 5 p.m., My45
11/18/2010 SUNS @ Magic, 6 p.m., TNT
Seven games into the 2010-11 season and the Phoenix Suns are a game below .500 with a record of 3-4. This has caused some people to overreact — so much that ridiculous trade speculation involving Steve Nash has even sprung up, granted none of that talk has come from the Suns (or any other NBA franchise for that matter), but it has come up regardless.
I’m not going to talk about any of that. The Suns are going to be fine. If you’ve watched any of the Suns’ first few games, the bright spots are there. This team has lots of potential. One of the brightest spots of this early season has been the impressive play of newcomer Hakim Warrick.
The season is very young, but it’s already clear to see that Warrick is the perfect fit for the Suns. He’s long, quick and extremely athletic. Plus, he loves to dunk — something all Suns fans love to see. His game is tailor-made for Alvin Gentry’s offense and Warrick is getting the chance to prove that.
The former Syracuse standout has been solid off the bench. Warrick is putting up 12 points a game on 62% shooting from the field while pulling down five boards a game. He leads the team in free throws, highlight reels and facial hair.
“Helicopter,” as he’s sometimes referred to as, is excellent in the pick-and-roll, which has been the Suns’ bread-and-butter play for years. The chemistry is already starting to develop between Warrick and Nash and fellow point guard Goran Dragic, and is sure to get better as the season progresses and the team continues to gel.
Early rumblings from fans have suggested that Warrick should be moved into the starting lineup to replace another newcomer, Hedo Turkoglu. This could be a good move, but I think it may be a little early in the season for a change like this. The bench is playing great and Warrick is a huge part of that success. Either way, I doubt this matters much to Warrick. The way he carries himself, you can tell he’s a great team player that is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Suns pick up some victories.
Warrick is quickly becoming a fan favorite with Suns fans not only because of all the posters he’s making out of defenders on the court, but also through his interaction with fans on Twitter. He’s not quite Jared Dudley (yet), but he’s quite interactive with fans and seems to be very down to earth. He’s even been known to discuss his frustration while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops with some of his followers.
Warrick will continue to win fans over with his impressive play the more they get to see him. He is a prime example of why Suns fans need not worry: He’s part of a core group of guys that are only going to get better the more than play with each other. I’m excited. All other Suns fans should be as well.
Be sure to follow Hakim Warrick on Twitter: @hdubb21.
Previous week’s games
10/29/2010 Lakers 114, SUNS 106
11/03/2010 Spurs 112, SUNS 110
Upcoming week’s games
11/05/2010 SUNS vs Grizzlies, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
11/07/2010 SUNS @ Hawks, 3 p.m., My45
11/08/2010 SUNS @ Grizzlies, 6 p.m., My45
At 1-3, the Phoenix Suns’ record certainly doesn’t look too good, however, when considering the four tough teams Phoenix has played so far, the record really isn’t all that bad. The Suns have had their problems, sure. The biggest question is how does Hedo Turkoglu fit in with the team, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Phoenix has also had some bright spots as well; the play of Goran Dragic and Hakim Warrick quickly come to mind.
I’ll start with Hedo. Coach Alvin Gentry must figure a way to get him going. Through through games, the “Turkish MJ” has been unimpressive to say the least. Turkoglu is averaging eight points, three rebounds and one assist in 24 minutes of play. That’s not going to cut it for a guy making eight figures.
It’s more then just Hedo’s numbers that are disturbing. It’s his effort — it doesn’t seem quite there. He’s slow on transition and way too hesitant to make a move with the ball. He has the ability to get to the rim against most guys defending him, but he hasn’t. He’s shown brief flashes of this, but not nearly enough. Against the Spurs on Wednesday, he had Dejuan Blair guarding him and took jump shots. That isn’t what Suns fan want to see.
I’m certainly not ready to give up on Hedo yet, and I think he’ll eventually come around, but a move to the bench may be in order. If anything, a move to the bench may motivate him. He’ll get to play with the ball a little more and be a leader of the second unit. In addition, Turkoglu on the bench means Nash gets a solid pick-and-roll option in the starting five in the form of Warrick.
Enough of the bad and on to the good. Dragic has been ridiculous so far this season. He’s putting up 10 points to go with just under five assists with about two turnovers (a turnover-to-assist ratio of 2.7!) in a mere 15 minutes per game. The only issue there is how few minutes he’s playing. Dragic has yet to log 20 minutes in a game, and that’s no good. Gentry must find more time for him.
I know Steve Nash is a two-time MVP, but at some point you may have to sit him more for the sake of getting Dragic more playing time. I know this may put Gentry in a tough spot, but when Goran is clicking, you have to stick with him. At the very least, the two should get some time together. Good things happened when they shared the floor together last season.
I doubt this will be a problem for long, as I fully expect Gentry to begin finding more time for El Dragon, especially with Nash’s recent comments on having tired legs at the end of the Spurs game. More playing time early in the game for Goran means a fresher Nash to end games. It’s a win-win for the Suns.
Finally, I have to mention the play of Warrick. Dude has been solid this year. He’s great in the pick-and-roll and fights for rebounds. He has crazy leaping ability and somehow seems to extend the length of his arms. I swear every time he takes off for a dunk he turns into Inspector Gadget. He appears to be too far from the rim but simply shouts, “Go-go gadget arms,” and extends his arms to complete the play. His contract is going to turn into a real steal.
I’m sure it’ll take a little more tinkering from Gentry, but eventually this team will figure things out. The talent is there. The Suns are in good shape. No worries, despite the rough start.
I just want to briefly comment on Jared Dudley’s contract extension. This was obviously the right move. Dudley clearly wanted to be here, and the Suns wanted to keep him. I’m very impressed with how the Suns front office was able to get this done. Hats off to Lon Babby, Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver — this is a solid move for the future.
Suns go green
Tonight the Suns will go green when they host the Memphis Grizzlies. US Airways Center will be powered by renewable energy courtesy of APS. The energy saved will equal the amount of energy required to power 3,000 Arizona homes for a week. Throughout the night, various videos will play during stops in play with the Gorilla giving tips to fans on how to go green.