(Note: The rankings you see referenced below are fully explained in my initial NBA point guard rankings post)
|Photo source: kevindooley|
2009 - Steve Nash (#7 PG, Level 2), Goran Dragic (#36 PG, Level 7)
2010 - Steve Nash (#7 PG, Level 2), Goran Dragic (#36 PG, Level 7)
Nash was spectacular as usual last season. The only reason he didn't rank among the top three point guards in my rankings is because his Defensive Rating was 62nd. Dragic was a solid backup in his second year in the NBA. I think Nash will start to slide this season resulting in the loss of two wins while the development of Dragic will get one of those wins back. Net losses - 1.
2009 - Jason Richardson (#11 SG, Level 3), Leandro Barbosa (#34 SG, Level 7)
2010 - Jason Richardson (#11 SG, Level 3), Josh Childress (Played in Europe)
Richardson was good in the '09-'10 campaign but suffered a little bit of a drop off. Childress is coming back to the NBA after a two year run in Europe. He was a very productive role player for the Hawks before going overseas. I project that Richardson will slide back slightly more leading to one loss while Childress will not be as productive as Barbosa was last season resulting in another loss. Net losses - 2.
2009 - Grant Hill (#19 SF, Level 5), Jared Dudley (#15 SF, Level 5)
2010 - Grant Hill (#19 SF, Level 5), Jared Dudley (#15 SF, Level 5)
The Suns got consistently excellent production from the small forward position last season. One of the keys was three-point shooting, which is always important in a Steve Nash-run offense. Hill shot 44% from behind the arc while Dudley shot 46%. I've got Phoenix losing two games due to a drop off in Hill's play while staying even with Dudley. I just think he reached his ceiling last year. Net losses - 2.
2009 - Amare Stoudamire (#10 PF, Level 3)
2010 - Hedo Turkoglu (#32 SF, Level 7), Hakim Warrick (#42 PF, Level 7)
Stoudamire was very good for most of last season and even better in the playoffs. Replacing him will be a very tough task. The Suns are likely to use a mix of players at the four. Turkoglu, who completely flamed out in Toronto, could get the bulk of the minutes if he shows he can guard other power forwards. Regardless, Phoenix will not be able to match the production they got from Stoudamire last season. Net losses - 4.
2009 - Channing Frye (#24 C, Level 5), Robin Lopez (#20 C, Level 5)
2010 - Robin Lopez (#20 C, Level 5), Channing Frye (#24 C, Level 5)
Both Frye and Lopez put in good minutes for the Suns in the '09-'10 campaign. Technically Frye started more games than Lopez. They are both back in 2010 with Lopez the clear starter and Frye offering versatility off the pine. Development from both players will lead to an improvement in production at the five. Net wins - 3.
From the beginning of the season the Suns will be trying to make up for the loss of Stoudamire and fighting the effects of age. They led the NBA in field-goal percentage and three-point field-goal percentage last season. They will have to shoot just as efficiently this season if they hope to come close to matching last year's record, which was 54-28. Looking at the season ahead, as highlighted above I've got them adding three wins at the center position, but losing four at power forward, two at small forward, two at shooting guard and one at point guard.
In the final verdict the Suns are WORSE. As they are currently constructed I project that they will finish the season with a 48-34 record.
Let me know why you think I'm wrong or right by posting a comment below.