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Knicks Fan

New York Knicks Preseason Report 2014 posted by Knicks Fan

The New York Knicks managed to complete the 2013-14 season quite well, by winning 16 out of 23 of the last games. However, their initial 59 games were horrible, which was made worse by poor performance of Smith, who was recovering from knee surgery. Andrea Bargnani however, was the worst performer of the team, and the poor effort in the defense could be clearly seen. Only in the later part of the season, the team really blossomed, and it was managing 20.6 points for every 100 possessions, in the last 23 games.

Phil Jackson has re-signed Carmelo Anthony with a huge amount, which makes him the team's leader. Bringing Anthony back was a good strategy, as he was considering offers from other franchises. PG Raymond Felton who was troublesome, and Tyson Chandler who was not able to hold the center, were traded for Samuel Dalembert and Jose Calderon. It was a good move to get Chandler and Felton off the team, and get some new talent.

Initially, head coach Jackson was embarrassed when his protégé Steve Kerr wanted out, but he was quick to recover by bringing in Derek Fisher. In this season, Dalembert will most probably start in the center, with Cole Aldrich and Andres Bargnani maybe taking turns. Stoudamire will be logging with Bargnani as PF. Carmelo Anthony will be at SF, while Cleanothony Erly, the rookie pickup of the draft along with Travis Outlaw will be the backup. Iman Shumpert or JR Smith will be at SG, while Calderon will be at point.

Coach Jackson looks like he is still making rookie moves, and seems to be expecting too much. Experts feel the New York Knicks will perform somewhat the same as last season, and if they manage to come to the finals, it would be against great odds.

Continue reading "New York Knicks Preseason Report 2014"


Richard Kagan

Knicks scenario: It's Linsanity again posted by Richard Kagan

It now falls to Carmelo Anthony to be the lead scorer for the Knicks as Stoudamire is out for 2-4 weeks with a back injury.  But Melo has a slight groin pull.  What if this injury gets worse with all the wear and tear Melo will now experience as the go to guy for the Knicks.  What, lo and behold, if he is sidelined?  What if Jared Jeffries can play a week.  What if Jeremy Lin is up to full speed in a few days?  Fans, we may be back to Linsanity.  Knicks will have to bring out the old playbook  that brought on the Linsanity back in February. 

Then we will see if this team has what it takes. The city was practically levitating back then.  If Lin can find his groove and work his magic and if Novack and company can make some shots, this city will roaringly rock.

Continue reading "Knicks scenario: It's Linsanity again"


Richard Kagan

Thoughts on the Knicks posted by Richard Kagan

The Knicks are playing tonight in Toronto where they trail in the 3rd quarter.  They are getting outplayed, they are out of rhythm.  If they lose, Knick nation will take this loss hard.  I've never seen so much panic over one loss.  The test, if they do lose, is to come back the next game and win.  The Knicks are struggling just to get to .500.  They are a game short of that mark.  If they lose, they will be two games under.  Continued focus on Anthony, Stoudamire, and Lin will intensify.

The issue is can this team when after a loss?  They are so steaky, win or lose.  This team lacks discipline.  They have talent.  But talent is not enough to win the NBA.  The team has to follow a plan outlined by the coaching staff, and execute it.  Can they do this?  It remains to be seen.

Continue reading "Thoughts on the Knicks"


Richard Kagan

Linsanity is for Real posted by Richard Kagan

Knicks' Rookie sensation Jeremy Lin has captured Madison Square Garden and the hearts of New York Knicks fans everywhere.  Today, the saga continued.  Lin scored 28 points, made some clutch treys, had 14 assists in spearheading the Knicks past the Dallas Mavericks, 104-97.  The Knicks had a torrid 4th quarter where three point specialist Steve Novak scored 14 points on four long distance shots in a span of 4:30.  The crowd at the Garden had plenty to cheer about.  The Knicks season is turning around.  And, Jeremy Lin, despite 6 TO's, was the catalyst again in Sunday's win at MSG.  He is a talented, smart point guard, seems tailor made for Mike D'Antoni's offense.  He's making the plays, and hitting key shots, and the Garden is cheering on each made shot.

This is not only a great story for the New York Knicks.  It is a great story for sports teams everywhere.  It seems the dream of Hoosiers does live on.  A player who looked ordinary on two other NBA teams, which eventually let him go, lands on the biggest stage of the league and is shining.  It is a great fit.  The Knicks suddenly look dangerous.  And Carmelo Anthony, one of the biggest scorers in the league hasn't returned to the starting lineup.  It's going to get interesting for the Knicks.

Continue reading "Linsanity is for Real"


Charles Bisbee

NBA Anarchy posted by Charles Bisbee

The NBA is completely bonkers right now. With less than two weeks until season’s tip-off, players are being flipped faster than flapjacks at IHOP. Chris Paul has been perfecting his start-and-stop from the comfort of his living room. Dwight Howard can't seem to decipher his own feelings about the Magic. Lamar Odom, as collateral from the Paul fall-out, whined his way to the Mavs, who were spurned earlier in the week by Tyson Chandler (Knicks). Chauncey Billups took his frequent flier miles to the Clips (though he could be dealt again by the time I finish this sentence) and Big Baby was swapped for Brandon Bass.

Wait, there's more! The Celtics thought they had Baby's replacement in David West (Paul’s former right-hand man) but the Pacers swooped in and snagged him for a cool $20 mil. Consequently, the Hornets are trying to fill out a roster with Quincy Pondexter and a collection of ball boys. Vinsanity joined Odom in Dallas, which lost Caron Butler to the Clippers, which matched Golden State’s absurd, $43 million qualifying offer to DeAndre Jordan (he with the career 5.9 ppg). T-Mac, Rip Hamilton, Chris Wilcox, Mike Bibby and Dunleavy are on the move as well, though these names seem like afterthoughts compared to the seismic activity higher up. 

And all this happened in slightly over a week. It’s certainly enough to make the casual fan's head spin. The ramifications of this unforseen, pre-season turbulence on the regular season, though, is what really boggles the mind. With little time to mesh, little time to prepare, and a season packed tighter than Delta coach, teams should be in for a wild ride. We're staring down the barrel of the most slapdash, unforseen and chemistry-bungled season since, dare I say, 1998! Should be a wild ride. 

Continue reading "NBA Anarchy"


Julius Says

NY Knicks - When the going gets tough, Melo gets going posted by Julius Says

     Any basketball fan can tell Melo didn't have his BEST game. But the final game stats read 27pts., 10 reb....A double-double.....ON AN OFF NIGHT!!

     The night that was billed as Legend's Night from the start of the season....actually started the way it should have. The introduction of a future legend in his prime. Complete with a laser light show and all, this was a superstar coming home. This Knicks team still has to learn how to play something called DEFENSE. The fact that this team needs a defense tutorial might be an understatement. But we'll dwell a little more on this glaring hole in their game at some other point. Probably right after next game! But tonight belonged to Melo.....This man closed the show the way a rock star closes shows. He hit the important couple shots that need for a W. That's what we like here Melo. A winner. 

Continue reading "NY Knicks - When the going gets tough, ..."


Ondre Baronette

MeloDrama finally to a head posted by Ondre Baronette

So your a newly married man, you were born in Brooklyn, and play for the Denver Nuggets. Now you want to force the organization you grew up rooting for, to gut thier roster, trade you to their team, and sign that big extension. It makes little sense, about as much sense as it makes signing that extension before their is a work stoppage. The owners and players will be battling for millions, and you and your New York wife and tv personality, La La Vazquez, will be spending millions, and staying in shape. It scares me to think that these players, all be it great, can dictate the direction of franchises, and send players away from where they play, and start a new path. Its hard to complain about the player the Knicks are getting back, but the entire process, made the Lebron James, "Decesion" pale in comparison. I'll continue to watch the team, and will always think about ways to upgrade, aka, "fix" the roster, that it's okay, but I am in the minority, when I say, I hope this trade gets pulled at the last minute, and the hammer is put away, until summer time. Lets go KnicksContinue reading "MeloDrama finally to a head"


Richard Kagan

Red Storm is for Real In UConn Rout posted by Richard Kagan

In New York City, college basketball always takes a back seat to the New York Knicks.  This after all, a pro town.  The sports fans here are concerned with NBA trophies, late playoff pushes, and the Stanley Cup.  And, then there is St. John's basketball.  St. John's has been a part of NYC sports for years.  Since bubblegun was a penny, phone calls were a nickel, and water was water. 

St. John's beat No. 9 ranked UConn last night at Madison Square Garden, and did it convincing fashion.  The score was 89-72.  For many years UConn would do that to SJU.  But last night, the team came out leading by 4 points, then went on a big run, and took off, leaving the Huskies stunned in their wake. SJU guard Dwight Hardy scored 33 points, 12 in a sequence of 2 trey, and 2 3 pont plays of the more traditional way.  He was as they say, "in a zone" where the basketball looked "bigger and bigger."  That happens once in a while.  It happened last night,  On one play Hardy double-pumped and hit the shot for three.  The partisan crowd erupted. 

For a while, SJU held a 23 point lead, in the second half, and Conneticut Huskies coach Jim Calhoun looked motionless and perplexed on the bench.  Afterwards he said the Red Storm took the Huskies out of their game.  He looked taken out as well.

Kemba Walker, the All-American candidate looked all too human last night.  He scored 15 points.  About half of what he can score.  The Red Storm were relentless last night, wreaking havoc on the defensive end, getting fast break points, and scoring in transition.  The Red Storm held a 27-2 dominance in fast-break points.  The Storm also out-rebounded UConn by 10.  It was a second half rising, that captapulted the Storm into serious conversation about getting an NCAA bid. They've beaten 4 of the top 15 teams in the nation at MSG.  Now they need to beat someone on the road.  But when they are playing well, this is one dangerous team.  They are quick, can run with anyone, and have guys who love to deny the ball.  Oh, and they crash the boards.  This team is 14-9 for the season, and 6-5 in the midst of a brutal Big East schedule. But the Johnnies are holding their own. 

Continue reading "Red Storm is for Real In UConn Rout"


sam goldman

the New York Knickerbockers are boxing there way back in to the spot light posted by sam goldman

The Knicks have been in New York  since there   BAA origins  versus  the Toronto Huskies  on November 1, 1946.  Similar to other long standing  teams there have  been high and low points.  The high point in team history was when they won two titles in 1970 and   1973. Since those titles there have good and bad seasons noticeably  the 8 year gap between 2000 and 2008 when they struggled and were led  by  numerous coaches including the Infamous Isiah Thomas. New York’s baseball empire took   advantage  of the drought  winning the city back with their multiple play off  appearances.      The Knicks were determined to take back the city so they made a bold statement clamming they could  land a big name free agent like  Lebron James and remind the city of its sports  roots . Once again things did not go the way there were supposed two   James  Bosh and Wade all declined the offer of bringing basketball back to the empire state. The  duty fell  on a unlikely hero  Amare stoudemire who in return  has brought life back to the  to the Madison Square Garden leading  the  New York Knickerbockers to a 21 and 14 record and a shot at the playoffs.Continue reading "the New York Knickerbockers are ..."


john howard

Knicks retooling, rebuilding, will make playoffs posted by john howard

The New York Knicks got duped by LeBron.  That may be for the best since the Cavs owner is sending the city of Cleveland's curse with him wherever he goes.  The Knicks were very smart in signing Armare Stoudamire and not waiting on LeBron.  They could have been left out in the cold like New Jersey.

The Knicks new that it would be very hard to keep David Lee, so they found a team that would do a sign and trade and pay very well for him.  The Golden State Warriors gave Lee a 6 year $80 million deal.  In return the Knicks get Anthony Randolph, Kaleena Azubuike, and Ronny Turiaf.

This is will be little talked about next year, but could be a really good move for New York.  Here is how the starting lineup currently looks:

PG  Tony Douglass--in his 2nd year and really needs to be coming off the bench and developing.

SG  Kaleena Azubuike--he averaged 14 points and 5 rebounds in 9 games last year before getting hurt.  He had multiple 20 point games the year before.  He could become the teams second leading scorer and still a chance to develope into an all-star.  He may start the year on the bench until he has proven he has recovered.

SF  Danillo Gallinari--averaged 15 points a game and still improving.

PF Armare Stoudamire--Averaged 20points and 11 rebs last year and reunited with D'Antoni whith whom he had his best year's with.

C  Anthony Randolph--as of right now, this spot is vacant.  With what NY currently has, Stoudamire would technically be the center, but the up tempo game suits small players.  But, Randolph will be a good 7th player.

Continue reading "Knicks retooling, rebuilding, will make playoffs"

New York Knicks News

View All New York Knicks News


The 10-man rotation, starring the case *for* Kobe Bryant (or, at least, that it's not

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Silver Screen and Roll . After reading Henry Abbott's ESPN the Magazine piece arguing that Kobe Bryant is the reason for the Los Angeles Lakers' downfall, Drew Garrison presents the counterargument, suggesting that the reasons for the franchise's precipitous recent decline are numerous, varied and not all contained within the Mamba's jaw-jut. A worthwhile hearing for the defense. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] PF : SLAM . Ryan Jones on why LeBron James is the NBA's best player, why ( ownership of the Podoloff aside) there's no real debate on the matter, and how the shifting of James' circumstances as he rejoins a significantly more loaded Cleveland Cavaliers could wind up changing that soon enough. SF : Sports on Earth . Howard Megdal on how —all the internecine drama , back-room dealings and franchise-jumping aside —we've still got quite a bit to learn about exactly what kind of NBA head coach Jason Kidd's going to be. SG : ChicagoNow . Yes, Derrick Rose looked great on Monday, but the Chicago Bulls' loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers showed a few persistent and perhaps worrisome questions for Tom Thibodeau's club, according to Doug Thonus. PG : National Post . Eric Koreen floats an idea that Our Fearless Leader has championed in the past : shorten the preseason and make the regular season longer, not in games played, but in dates covered. 6th : A Wolf Among Wolves . William Bohl sees the Minnesota Timberwolves running more sets for midrange jumpers under once-and-future head coach Flip Saunders, and he wonders whether that approach will prove beneficial for a young Wolves roster without very many knockdown shooters. ( Kelly's not real bullish on it , for what it's worth.) 7th : Raptors Republic . Smart stuff from Blake Murphy on the interesting dilemma facing the Toronto Raptors and surprise 2014 first-round draft pick Bruno Caboclo —how does a team setting its sights on the conference finals find the floor time to develop an incredibly raw player when it doesn't have its own exclusive D-League affiliate? 8th : Detroit Bad Boys . Considering what a more efficient Josh Smith might look like, what Stan Van Gundy's done this preseason to try to conjure such a performance, and whether it's more likely that Smith turns in that brand of play for the Detroit Pistons or gets moved before the February trade deadline. 9th : Posting and Toasting . Derek Fisher says Amar'e Stoudemire —he of the wine baths of indeterminate medical benefit —isn't operating under any sort of minute or playing-time restrictions, and the former All-Star big man says he's feeling great. What does this mean for STAT's role on the New York Knicks this year? 10th : Los Angeles Times . Chris Douglas-Roberts is wearing short shorts —or, at least, the shortest shorts he was able to get from the Los Angeles Clippers —in hopes that they "will give him the freedom to be an elite perimeter defender." - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

The 10-man rotation, starring the case *for* Kobe Bryant (or, at least, that it's not

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Silver Screen and Roll . After reading Henry Abbott's ESPN the Magazine piece arguing that Kobe Bryant is the reason for the Los Angeles Lakers' downfall, Drew Garrison presents the counterargument, suggesting that the reasons for the franchise's precipitous recent decline are numerous, varied and not all contained within the Mamba's jaw-jut. A worthwhile hearing for the defense. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] PF : SLAM . Ryan Jones on why LeBron James is the NBA's best player, why ( ownership of the Podoloff aside) there's no real debate on the matter, and how the shifting of James' circumstances as he rejoins a significantly more loaded Cleveland Cavaliers could wind up changing that soon enough. SF : Sports on Earth . Howard Megdal on how —all the internecine drama , back-room dealings and franchise-jumping aside —we've still got quite a bit to learn about exactly what kind of NBA head coach Jason Kidd's going to be. SG : ChicagoNow . Yes, Derrick Rose looked great on Monday, but the Chicago Bulls' loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers showed a few persistent and perhaps worrisome questions for Tom Thibodeau's club, according to Doug Thonus. PG : National Post . Eric Koreen floats an idea that Our Fearless Leader has championed in the past : shorten the preseason and make the regular season longer, not in games played, but in dates covered. 6th : A Wolf Among Wolves . William Bohl sees the Minnesota Timberwolves running more sets for midrange jumpers under once-and-future head coach Flip Saunders, and he wonders whether that approach will prove beneficial for a young Wolves roster without very many knockdown shooters. ( Kelly's not real bullish on it , for what it's worth.) 7th : Raptors Republic . Smart stuff from Blake Murphy on the interesting dilemma facing the Toronto Raptors and surprise 2014 first-round draft pick Bruno Caboclo —how does a team setting its sights on the conference finals find the floor time to develop an incredibly raw player when it doesn't have its own exclusive D-League affiliate? 8th : Detroit Bad Boys . Considering what a more efficient Josh Smith might look like, what Stan Van Gundy's done this preseason to try to conjure such a performance, and whether it's more likely that Smith turns in that brand of play for the Detroit Pistons or gets moved before the February trade deadline. 9th : Posting and Toasting . Derek Fisher says Amar'e Stoudemire —he of the wine baths of indeterminate medical benefit —isn't operating under any sort of minute or playing-time restrictions, and the former All-Star big man says he's feeling great. What does this mean for STAT's role on the New York Knicks this year? 10th : Los Angeles Times . Chris Douglas-Roberts is wearing short shorts —or, at least, the shortest shorts he was able to get from the Los Angeles Clippers —in hopes that they "will give him the freedom to be an elite perimeter defender." - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


DeRozan scores 15, Raptors beat Knicks 83-80 (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


The 10-man rotation, starring the case *for* Kobe Bryant (or, at least, that it's not

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Silver Screen and Roll . After reading Henry Abbott's ESPN the Magazine piece arguing that Kobe Bryant is the reason for the Los Angeles Lakers' downfall, Drew Garrison presents the counterargument, suggesting that the reasons for the franchise's precipitous recent decline are numerous, varied and not all contained within the Mamba's jaw-jut. A worthwhile hearing for the defense. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] PF : SLAM . Ryan Jones on why LeBron James is the NBA's best player, why ( ownership of the Podoloff aside) there's no real debate on the matter, and how the shifting of James' circumstances as he rejoins a significantly more loaded Cleveland Cavaliers could wind up changing that soon enough. SF : Sports on Earth . Howard Megdal on how —all the internecine drama , back-room dealings and franchise-jumping aside —we've still got quite a bit to learn about exactly what kind of NBA head coach Jason Kidd's going to be. SG : ChicagoNow . Yes, Derrick Rose looked great on Monday, but the Chicago Bulls' loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers showed a few persistent and perhaps worrisome questions for Tom Thibodeau's club, according to Doug Thonus. PG : National Post . Eric Koreen floats an idea that Our Fearless Leader has championed in the past : shorten the preseason and make the regular season longer, not in games played, but in dates covered. 6th : A Wolf Among Wolves . William Bohl sees the Minnesota Timberwolves running more sets for midrange jumpers under once-and-future head coach Flip Saunders, and he wonders whether that approach will prove beneficial for a young Wolves roster without very many knockdown shooters. ( Kelly's not real bullish on it , for what it's worth.) 7th : Raptors Republic . Smart stuff from Blake Murphy on the interesting dilemma facing the Toronto Raptors and surprise 2014 first-round draft pick Bruno Caboclo —how does a team setting its sights on the conference finals find the floor time to develop an incredibly raw player when it doesn't have its own exclusive D-League affiliate? 8th : Detroit Bad Boys . Considering what a more efficient Josh Smith might look like, what Stan Van Gundy's done this preseason to try to conjure such a performance, and whether it's more likely that Smith turns in that brand of play for the Detroit Pistons or gets moved before the February trade deadline. 9th : Posting and Toasting . Derek Fisher says Amar'e Stoudemire —he of the wine baths of indeterminate medical benefit —isn't operating under any sort of minute or playing-time restrictions, and the former All-Star big man says he's feeling great. What does this mean for STAT's role on the New York Knicks this year? 10th : Los Angeles Times . Chris Douglas-Roberts is wearing short shorts —or, at least, the shortest shorts he was able to get from the Los Angeles Clippers —in hopes that they "will give him the freedom to be an elite perimeter defender." - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Phoenix Suns (Ball Don't Lie)

The Arizona desert turned up a UFO crash in 1953, purple alien eggs just last year and Lord knows what else in the 60 years between. It’s only natural the Phoenix Suns add another wrinkle to their own weird science experiment, turning a two-headed snake into a three-headed monster in the backcourt. In a strange summer, general manager Ryan McDonough agreed to  a four-year, $27 million contract with Sacramento Kings dynamo Isaiah Thomas on the day the NBA’s moratorium lifted, seemingly signaling the end of fellow restricted free agent point guard Eric Bledsoe’s fun in the Arizona sun. But the NBA Executive of the Year runner-up doubled down, inking Mini LeBron to a five-year, $70 million deal some two months later. With All-NBA Third Team selection Goran Dragic also in the Phoenix mix, McDonough effectively created the league’s most dangerous polycephalous point guard. So, the Suns will roll the dice with a troika of All-Star-caliber guards, identified flying object Gerald Green and a mysterious frontcourt in an attempt to recreate last year’s bizarre 48-34 record, which tied the 2007-08 Golden State Warriors for the best season by a team that didn't make the playoffs since the NBA switched to the 16-team playoff format in 1984. Under NBA Coach of the Year runner-up (noticing a trend here) Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix played at a top-10 pace in his first season at the helm, and the Suns will run again, even faster if possible. Only, they’ll have to do so without Channing Frye, whose floor-stretching capacity from the power forward position translated into 8.3 additional points per 100 possessions in his 28.2 minutes a night on the floor, according to Basketball-Reference.com . Out of the Frye pan and into the fire will be Markieff Morris, whose own breakout 2013-14 season (2,153 minutes, 13.8 points, six rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, 56.4 True Shooting percentage, 18.4 Player Efficiency Rating) earned him a four-year, $52 million deal to split unevenly with his twin brother, Marcus Morris. Sharpshooting veteran free agent forward Anthony Tolliver (41.3 percent on a career-high 247 3-point tries for Charlotte last year) and young center projects Miles Plumlee and Alex Len round out a bigs mess. Add a pair of potential mid-first-round steals in T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis, another Dragic named Zoran and a post- “super extreme” DUI suspension P.J. Tucker, and it should be another supernatural season for the 2013-14 League Pass legends. Last year taught us this much about the Suns: They are here. 2013-14 season in 140 characters or less: What the Ish is this? The weirdest collection of awesome under the Suns. Did the summer help at all? The Suns let their most productive big walk , spent the money Frye got in Orlando on a third point guard , handed one contract to a pair of twins , signed their best player’s brother and drafted one half of Bojan and Bogdan Bogdanovic — all as their starting small forward spent a no expenses paid three-day vacation in county jail . So … just yourtypical NBA offseason? Seriously, that’s freaky, even by their standards. Go-to offseason acquisition: Had Thomas not stood just 69 inches tall, he would have commanded far more than $27 million over four years in free agency. After all, the Sactown sparkplug was one of six players to average 20 points and six assists while posting a PER above 20 this past season. The others: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. Those dudes aren’t so bad. Thomas comes with another caveat, though, since Sacramento’s fast-paced offense and non-existent defense over the past decade has produced plenty of padded stats that haven’t translated elsewhere. In the past 10 years, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic combined for one 20-point-per-game season upon leaving the Kings. At the very least, Thomas allows Hornacek to keep some combo of Bledsoe, Dragic and Thomas on the floor for the majority of the game, strumming that double-necked point-guard guitar all night long. The fact that Thomas’ per-minute averages have remained steady as both a starter and reserve in his three-year career is an encouraging sign that the Suns will be able to keep making the same sweet music they did last season. Glaring weakness: The Suns don’t quite have a black hole in the middle, but it’s an awful dark mass in the space-time continuum. Plumlee and Len are expected to receive the bulk of those minutes, and that duo (mostly Plumlee, due to the multiple injuries that scuttled Len's rookie season) anchored the NBA’s fourth-worst efficiency differential at the position last season, according to HoopsStats.com (minus-3.8). Plumlee’s minutes plunged throughout 2013-14 as Hornacek got more comfortable playing Markieff Morris and the since-departed Frye in smaller, more offensively potent lineups. As a result, though, Phoenix allowed 42.2 points in the paint per game , also the league’s fourth-worst group. Not even highly regarded defensive assistant coach Mike Longabardi could help the Suns rise above the middle of the pack in points allowed per possession. Plumlee is still their best bet to clog the middle on defense, even if he does the same on offense. Contributor with something to prove: Following his client’s second knee surgery in three years, Bledsoe's agent spent the offseason demanding a max contract for a player who has started all of 78 NBA games. McDonough, who reportedly offered four years and $48 million, entered a summer-long staring contest with Rich Paul, and the two sides met closer to Bledsoe's demands. To say the 24-year-old has something to prove is an understatement. For chunks of last season, Bledsoe replicated what so many projected for Chris Paul's former backup. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound brick of muscle averaged 17.7 points (57.8 TS%), 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds while generally tormenting opposing backcourts alongside Dragic in 43 games. That's encouraging for a fourth-year point guard on his rookie contract; now it's expected from an eight-figure-salaried franchise player. Potential breakout stud: Double ankle surgeries stunted Year 1 of The Alex Len Project, presenting a built-in excuse for the No. 5 overall pick’s PER (7.3), true shooting percentage (46.9) and statistical averages over 42 games (two points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 8.6 minutes per game). Now, double finger fractures — on the same right pinkie, mind you — offer another easy excuse for the 7-foot-1 Ukrainian to start slow out of the gate. Yet Len made huge strides from his freshman to sophomore seasons at Maryland, and the 21-year-old has the potential to take a similar step forward after one year under Hornacek and Longabardi. He added the customary 15 pounds of muscle, and then collected six points, six boards and a pair of blocks before breaking his finger 25 minutes into Summer League. The re-broken finger is a setback for a player in desperate need of preseason practice, but he’ll still start the regular season healthy, and the minutes will be there for him to demonstrate his improvement, especially if he develops a mid-range jumper. Best-case scenario: It won’t be easy for Dragic to repeat his breakout All-NBA season, Green to shoot 3’s at a 40 percent clip again and Tolliver to replace Frye’s 2,312 minutes, but some combo of Bledsoe’s health, the addition of Thomas and the improvements of the Morris twins, Plumlee and/or Len should help the Suns recreate the magic that made them the NBA darlings of 2013-14. Even then, they’ll still be navigating a crowded Western Conference playoff picture that may also include Anthony Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans — all for the right to face the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers or San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Them’s the breaks for a franchise on the rise. If everything falls apart: Even if the science experiment takes a turn for the worse and the Suns just miss the postseason for a second straight year, McDonough will still have a pair of lottery picks at his disposal. Phoenix still owns a top-five protected pick from the Steve Nash trade, so barring a bit of Los Angeles Lakers luck, the worst-case scenario — a couple of mid-round picks — isn’t the worst consolation prize. Unless, of course, the team’s talented young core undergoes an abduction of sorts. Stranger things have happened in the Arizona desert. The Suns are on standing on the edge of an event horizon. Strap in for another weird, wild ride. Kelly Dwyer’s Best Guess at a Record: Phoenix will finish 47-35, eighth in the Western Conference. Read all of Ball Don't Lie's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews (links added as they're published): EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlanta Hawks • Boston Celtics • Brooklyn Nets • Charlotte Hornets • Chicago Bulls • Cleveland Cavaliers • Detroit Pistons • Indiana Pacers • Miami Heat • Milwaukee Bucks • New York Knicks • Orlando Magic • Philadelphia 76ers • Toronto Raptors • Washington Wizards WESTERN CONFERENCE Dallas Mavericks • Denver Nuggets • Golden State Warriors • Houston Rockets • Los Angeles Clippers • Los Angeles Lakers • Memphis Grizzlies • Minnesota Timberwolves • New Orleans Pelicans • Oklahoma City Thunder • Phoenix Suns • Portland Trail Blazers • Sacramento Kings • San Antonio Spurs • Utah Jazz - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach [read full article]

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