With only three games left in a disappointing season I’m sure we’ll see some more but we should get a clear idea by now about those players. Reading Andrew’s post on Friday on this same site I decided to extend some of his evaluations to other Suns players.
Once it was clear the Suns were not going to make the post season (following the 4-game losing streak at the end of March), Coach Gentry began working on next season and increased the playing time of less used players: Josh Childress, Aaron Brooks, Hakim Warrick, Jared Dudley and to a certain extent even Zabian Dowdell (more out of necessity than real interest I believe).
Childress remains the biggest question mark. He has potential, talent and can bring a lot of energy on the floor but more often than not he seems totally lost on defense. I like Childress and I think he deserves a shot at the SF starting spot next season. 19 minutes, 5.6 points and .583 shooting for The Big ‘Fro in April could be solid base for some Summer work.
Aaron Brooks is the most talented of the bunch and the one facing the biggest pressure. He’s been asked to fill in for Steve Nash which is more or less impossible. 24 minutes, 11.4 points and 6 assists per game in the last 5 games could be considered quite good. Aaron’s .188 3-point shooting? Not really.
Aaron will be with the Suns in 2011-12 and hopefully he’ll at least allow Nash to play less than the 34 minutes he averaged this season. Steve can give the Suns 30 minutes a night no more, unless you want to see him finishing the season on one leg and a bad back. Brooks is talented but I’m not sure he has the leadership skills to lead a team deep into postseason. When I see Aaron I see one of the best streetball player in the game.
Warrick can jump and dunk but, being so undersized to play PF in the NBA could be the man out for next year. He can play and could give you 20 minutes a night but probably on a different team. The Suns need a big and solid rebounder at the 4 position. 19 minutes, 9 points, 4 boards and .533 shooting for Hakim in April.
Jared Dudley, while not performing at last season’s level, showed once again he’s a good player. In April, Dudley is averaging 31 minutes, 13 points, 6 rebounds while shooting a good .521 from the field. A nice confirmation of a solid NBA player for years to come.
Missing from that list is Robin Lopez who I feel the Suns don’t consider part of their future anymore. Robin deserves a few words on his own. He was given a chance to start this season as the Suns center and failed to impress. Gortat is clearly the starter going into next season and deservedly so.
The great news is that they’re still all young players entering their prime. The bad news is that none is going to be a super player in this League. They could perfectly fill some rotation spots, maybe even start here and there but…Can you rebuild the Suns on this group of players? I don’t think so, not if you plan to contend in the West.
Luca, the Steve Fan