Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Phoenix Suns (Last Year: 25-57)
2012-13 Season Summary:
Not since their inaugural season in the NBA back in 1968-69 when they won just 16 games have the Phoenix Suns finished with a worse record. It really shouldn't come as much as a surprise though since Goran Dragic was the team's best player and the roster was made up of a bunch of role players.
The Suns tried to transition out of their Steve Nash era and remain competitive in the West, but the exact opposite occurred. The team switched coaches midway through the season, but the change yielded the same results. Phoenix lacked any real identity on the court and failed to find a true cohesiveness among any starting five.
2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Marcin Gortat/Alex Len
PF: Luis Scola/Markieff Morris/Marcus Morris/Channing Frye/Alex Oriakhi
SF: Caron Butler/Michael Beasley/P.J. TUcker
SG: Shannon Brown/Malcolm Lee/Archie Goodwin
PG: Goran Dragic/Eric Bledsoe/Kendall Marshall
NBA Offseason Transactions:
The Suns acquire PG-Eric Bledsoe and SF-Caron Butler in 3-team trade that sends Jared Dudley to the Clippers and two second-round picks to the Bucks.
NBA Free Agents:
G/F-Wesley Johnson (UFA)
C-Jermaine O'Neal (UFA)
C-Hamed Haddadi (UFA)
PG-Diante Garrett (RFA)
2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $53.3 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
1. Go-to Player:
Phoenix had quality depth with nine guys averaging at least eight points per game, but lacked any real go-to option or true face of the franchise. The Suns don't have the cap flexibility to find anyone in free agency to fill this role, and it's unlikely they will be able to find someone with the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The only hope to fill this role will be by packaging some of the team's players for a more marquee talent or waiting until next summer when the franchise should have more cap space.
2. Wing Scorers:
Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, and Shannon Brown are all quality NBA players and decent offensive players, but nobody really strikes fear into opposing defenses. Wesley Johnson showed flashes at times later in the season, but he is a free agent and either way, Phoenix needs to find an upgrade on the wing. The Suns also finished with the third worst 3-point percentage in the league so finding a capable shooter would be helpful as well.
In recent years, the Suns have been known more for their high potent offense than stifling defense, and that was once again this case this past season. Guys like Gortat and Scola provide somewhat of a defensive presence inside, but the wing defense was rather poor as Phoenix gave up the highest opponent 3-point percentage.
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