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Suns may bench Hedo Turkoglu on certain nights

Posted on: November 12, 2010 1:01 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:44 pm
Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry is reportedly considering moving forward Hedo Turkoglu to the bench on some nights. Posted by Ben Golliverhedo-turkoglu The Phoenix Suns are off to an uneven 3-4 start to the season, and while a step backward was all but assured after Amar'e Stoudemire headed east to sign with the New York Knicks, the Suns already find themselves on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in thanks to promising starts to 2010 lottery teams like the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Hornets.  So it comes as no surprise that Suns coach Alvin Gentry would begin to tinker with line-ups, and word comes from the Arizona Republic that one such adjustment could find expensive trade acquisition Hedo Turkoglu moved to the reserve unit against bigger front lines.
Gentry said he is considering bring Turkoglu off the bench to keep him from mismatches against bigger post players, following his depature from Monday's game after 2:23 due to fouls he picked up against Zack Randolph and Marc Gasol.
"I will not play Hedo against a guy like Zack Randolph," Gentry said. "It's unfair to him.
"I'd rather have him in the game five minutes later where he has no fouls than to take him out in the first five minutes." Turkoglu has said he would be open to coming off the bench.
The move is sound, given that Turkoglu hasn't been lighting the world on fire so far, averaging just 10.1 points and 3.1 rebounds through seven games. But the problem is much bigger that Turkoglu alone. The Suns are in this lineup-juggling predicament because of an imbalanced roster, one that is absolutely loaded (over-loaded, really) on the wings and thin in the post.  The biggest question for Phoenix: When is it time to pull the plug on some of these redundant pieces? Does a single team really need Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick, Channing Frye and Earl Clark? I get that perimeter big men is the thing down in the desert, but that's excessive by any standard, especially when all those floor-spacers leave Phoenix as the fourth-worst rebounding team in the league and the absolute worst defense in the league. Sitting Turkoglu, an ineffective rebounder and pathetic defender, is a step in the right direction. But a more dramatic move is needed by the trade deadline if this team hopes to make the postseason. Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk.

Since: Nov 13, 2010
Posted on: November 13, 2010 12:08 pm

Suns may bench Hedo Turkoglu on certain nights

"...the Suns already find themselves on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in..."

Really?!  At 3-4 they are already on the outside looking in?  That's remarkable that they are already eliminated from playoff contention this early in the season.

"...the absolute worst defense in the league...Turkoglu...[a] pathetic defender..."

You might want to check that link again because it looks to me like Sacramento is actually Hollinger's statistical version of the ABSOLUTE worst.  Also when you take into account the turnovers the Suns have had due to adjusting to a lot of new players and their offense not really being on track which has lead to a lot of easy transition baskets for opposing teams, and you actually watch any of the games, you'll see that they actually play pretty good defense compared to past Suns teams (honestly I doubt Stoudemire is that much better of a defensive alternative to Turkoglu or Frye).  Of course they will always be limited by Nash on the defensive end, and notice when Dragic and Dudley come in the defense takes a gigantic step forward. 

Also Childress is not a "big man," Earl Clark is not even in the rotation, and Hakim Warrick is not a perimeter big man, he makes 80 to 90% of his shots in the paint with easy layups and dunks.  So that leaves us with Channing Frye who is the epitome of Suns basketball for as long as I've been watching (don't get me started on this rant...I'll just say I'm happy we decided to extend Frye and leave it at that) and Turkoglu which is tough because as Gentry said, he is a player we have always coveted and have not been able to obtain.  I would have prefered the Suns acquired David Lee in the offseason by comparison, but when you consider Hill and Nash will be retiring in a couple of years, the Hedo acquisition does help us get a solid veteran playmaker and leader and a good long term acquisition.

I will give you that Turkoglu, who is actually a very good crafty defender (see his game saving block against Kobe Bryant in the Championship a couple of years ago if you want at least one example), has had a hard time guarding the likes of Zach Randolph, for example in the post.  Which is expected, but so far he hasn't played well enough on the offensive end to make up for it (the way Nash does).

Warrick, on the other hand, who is averaging 13 pts and 5 rebounds on the season has shown signs of being able to make up for his short comings in the post (against the opposing teams worst 2nd best post player) on the offensive end by scoring a lot of points, therefore I agree Warrick should get the starting nod.

The main problem is that they have a hard time rebounding, which is due, in many cases, to their "floor spacing" which is a critical part of what they do offensively.  Also you failed to mention that their two best post defenders, Lopez and Frye, have played terrible so far. This is really the big story.  By comparison, I've actually been pretty impressed with what Turkoglu has been able to do defensively.

Since: Jun 22, 2010
Posted on: November 12, 2010 5:37 pm

Suns may bench Hedo Turkoglu on certain nights

I don’t think benching Hedo will solve any problem. He needs to be back to his natural position on 3. Like the article said, the team is poorly thin in post players but the team can still run and very much capable of scoring in bunches. They can solve the defense in the post through team effort. If worst comes to worst, they can try trading Hedo back to Orlando for Gortat and another big.

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