Baller Mind Frame

NBA Season Preview: Phoenix Suns Team Preview

2014-15 NBA SEASON PREVIEW CONTENT LIST

Atlantic: Celtics | Nets | Knicks | 76ers | Raptors |Division Preview
Central: Bulls | Cavaliers | Pistons | Pacers | Bucks | Division Preview
Southeast: Hawks | Hornets | Heat | Magic | Wizards | Division Preview

Pacific: Warriors | Clippers | Lakers | Suns | Kings | Division Preview
Northwest: Nuggets | Timberwolves | Thunder | Trail Blazers | Jazz | Division Preview
Southwest: Mavericks | Rockets | Grizzlies | Pelicans | Spurs | Division Preview

Top 10 by Position: PG | SG | SF | PF | C
Top 10 Lists: Sixth Men | Sophomores | X-Factors | Rookies | Games to Watch | Comeback | Contenders | Breakouts

Articles: Assessing the Cavaliers Trio | Important Season for James Harden | Return of Paul George? | Trading Rajon Rondo | Are the Nuggets This Season’s Suns? | NBA’s Best Starting Five | NBA’s Worst Starting Five | Now or Never for Durant and Thunder After Injury

Fantasy Basketball: Top 10 PGs | Top 10 SGs | Top 10 SFs | Top 10 PFs | Top 10 Cs | Sleepers, Studs, and Sinkholes | Analyzing the Schedule | BMF Mock Draft | Cavs and Cav-Nots | Like A Bosh | Rajon Injury Impact

Media Day: Clippers | Hawks | Kings | Knicks | Magic | Mavericks | Nets

BMF-PHO

Last season was one of breakouts for the Phoenix Suns. The team broke out after being projected as bottom feeders, and players of all sizes— Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Miles Plumlee, the Morris twins—stepped up their games to contribute. After missing out on the playoffs in a 48-win season, the Suns are eager to make the the postseason in 2014-15.

Most Important Player: Goran Dragic
The Dragon will continue to bring the flames in the Valley of the Sun next season. After a monster performance this summer at the FIBA World Cup, Dragic is ready to build on his breakout season.

X-Factor: Alex Len
Someone on the Phoenix Suns has to be big. With Channing Frye gone, Len may get an opportunity to improve by simply existing and being an active body.

Rotations: Ideally, Phoenix wants to go with a three point guard rotation of Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, and Bledsoe, with Dragic and Bledsoe starting. Miles “How come I didn’t get invited to the World Cup” Plumlee will be the athletic big in the middle and both Morris twins may start (which is the sneakiest unfair advantage in the NBA), but P.J. Tucker will likely begin the season as the starting small forward. Gerald Green will provide the offense and defense on the wings, while first-round pick T.J. Warren will hopefully provide both.

What Needs to Go Right: Someone in the stacked West needs to get the injury bug, have a chemistry issue, or get swept into an inter-dimensional vortex, because it looks like 50 wins will be the barometer once again for a playoff invite, and Phoenix isn’t quite there.

It’s Really Bad If: Isaiah Thomas is playing more minutes than Eric Bledsoe. It’s also terrible if Dragic misses any large stretches. Phoenix’s offense is almost too reliant on the Slovenian.

Bold Predictions: An Eric Bledsoe trade could spark the Suns into the playoffs. While the musclebound guard is dynamic, getting frontcourt help could balance Phoenix’s guard-heavy attack.

PLAYER PROFILES

Eric Bledsoe, PG
Strengths: Strength.
Weaknesses: Sometimes out of control, reluctant to shoot on the perimeter.
Season Prediction: Given an injury free campaign, Bledsoe should wreak havoc going to the basket.

Alec Brown, C
Strengths: True seven-footer. Can knock down threes.
Weaknesses: Lack of major competition in college.
Season Prediction: Brown won’t see much time because of injury.

Goran Dragic, PG
Strengths: Unstoppable heading toward the basket.
Weaknesses: Although a great play maker, he sometimes suffers from tunnel vision.
Season Prediction: Dragic will make the 2015 NBA All-Star game and possibly an All NBA team.

Tyler Ennis, PG
Strengths: Good ACC pedigree, leadership.
Weaknesses: Lacks elite athleticism.
Season Prediction: The Suns depth at point means the Syracuse guard won’t see much time.

Archie Goodwin, SG
Strengths: Athleticism.
Weaknesses: Perimeter shooting
Season Prediction: Goodwin will see minutes mostly in spot duty with the addition of Thomas.

Gerald Green, SG
Strengths: Ridiculous athleticism
Weaknesses: Green’s game tends toward the erratic.
Season Prediction: Green will catch many ‘oops and continue his resurrection campaign from 2013-14.

Alex Len, C
Strengths: Athleticism.
Weaknesses: Strength.
Season Prediction: With Channing Frye gone, Len will round into an NBA player by filling the minutes vacuum.

Marcus Morris, PF
Strengths: Is a twin. Also, three-point shooting.
Weaknesses: Less than ideal shooting percentage from two-point range
Season Prediction: Defenders will continue to confuse Marcus with his brother in transition, setting up easy baskets.

Markieff Morris, PF
Strengths: Versatility, interior play.
Weaknesses: A little undersized defensively at the 4.
Season Prediction: Defenders will continue to confuse Markieff with his brother in transition, setting up easy baskets.

Miles Plumlee, C
Strengths: Shot blocking, finishing at the basket.
Weaknesses: Offensive arsenal. Rebounding.
Season Prediction: Plumlee will start at the 5 again for Phoenix, but his garbage man game will suffer without Channing Frye pulling opposing bigs from the paint.

Shavlik Randolph, PF
Strengths: Being from Duke.
Weaknesses: Offense.
Season Prediction: Randolph will be another veteran body and six fouls.

Isaiah Thomas, PG
Strengths: Can score from anywhere, is simply too small to guard.
Weaknesses: Is a major defensive liability.
Season Prediction: IT will keep his stats up in the Suns’ high tempo offense and win the Sixth Man Award.

Anthony Tolliver, PF
Strengths: Veteran presence in the frontcourt.
Weaknesses: Provides limited offense.
Season Prediction: Although the Suns use nontraditional minutes, Tolliver may see minutes as Phoenix is thin at 4 after the Morris bros.

P.J. Tucker, SF
Strengths: Is the Suns’ lone defensive stopper.
Weaknesses: Tucker’s shooting leaves much to be desired.
Season Prediction: Tucker will see plenty of minutes against teams that slow the Suns into defensive battles.

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