Yes, Suns fans, the post-Amar’e Stoudemire era is finally upon us. The big fella has taken his game to a bigger market. And now we’re left wondering what effect his absence will have on the team, especially on Steve Nash. The two-time MVP is heading into his 12th season, but his first without Stoudemire in the middle. So what does this mean for Nash? Will his assists go down? Will his scoring go up, and if it does will that mean he won’t shoot 50% from the floor? We do know that he will rack up the assists, hit threes, hit his free throws, and run when he can. At this point I would have to say that Nash is probably a mid- to late-2nd rounder. He’s the perfect complimentary player for many of the highly efficient bigs who could use the Canadian bump in small-ball stats.
Hedo Turkoglu joined the Suns this summer after a disastrous season in Toronto. He scored just 11.3 points on 41% shooting, 1.5 threes, 77% from the line, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.4 blocks. Throughout the entire season Turk admitted that he was lost in the offense. We know he’s a guy who plays better on the ball, but what’s going to happen now when he’s playing along one of the great playmakers in the game? Turkoglu will be better this season than last. You can almost count on it. But even heading into last season I had my reservations about Turk. He doesn’t shoot the ball well (42.7% FG on his career) and isn’t that efficient of a FT shooter (79% career). His defense is lacking (0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks) and the fact that he essentially gave up on the ’09-10 season really doesn’t excite me. I would put Turk as a 6th round pick, if you’re looking to add him, but I don’t think I have it in me to use a mid-round draft pick on him.
We have a positional battle at center, between Robin Lopez and Channing Frye. Lopez is the defensive big, while Frye is the sharpshooter. Ugh. Couldn’t we just mash them together and make them one player? With the makeup of this team I have to think that Lopez will get more playing time. The Suns no longer have an inside presence in Stoudemire, so they have to add a defensive big somewhere. It’s not going to be Frye, that’s for sure. We do know that Frye can hit the three ball (2.1 per game last season), but his rebounds (5.3) and blocks (0.8) are pretty mediocre for a guy his size. On paper Lopez’s numbers don’t look so impressive, but you have to remember that he essentially didn’t come along until the second half of the season. He also played 7 fewer minutes per game than Frye did. I would take either after the 10th round, depending on what your team needs are at that moment.
Jason Richardson should get more touches this season, thus increasing his scoring average. We know he can make the threes, but would love to see him grab more steals and improve on his free-throw shooting. I would take him either in the late-4th or early-5th round. His backup, Josh Childress, is a bit of a question mark. He played over seas the past two seasons, so we still don’t know how he’ll transition back into the NBA. I would probably take a 13th-round shot on him, but not sure I’d jump any sooner. Grant Hill is a year older, and thus we once again await as his knees slowly start to turn into dust. To be fair, he’s only missed one game over the past two seasons. To be fairer, he’s a better in-game player than he is a fantasy player. Hakim Warrick needs to play better defense for a guy with his length, but he should improve under this offense. Goran Dragic is a nice backup point guard who will get more minutes this season, and should become a nice fantasy sleeper. Jared Dudley is good for threes and steals, nothing more.
PG: Steve Nash, Goran Dragic
SG: Jason Richardson, Josh Childress
SF: Grant Hill, Jared Dudley
PF: Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick
C: Robin Lopez, Channing Frye
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