Phoenix Suns: Reasons Why Josh Childress Needs to Play More
Monday was not a good night for the Phoenix Suns. Hours before their game against the Dallas Mavericks it was revealed that Steve Nash would miss the matchup against his former club because of a bruised thigh and then the Suns played terrible without him. When the horn sounded to end the game, Phoenix lost 122-99.
One of the few bright spots on the night was the play of forward Josh Childress. In 18 minutes of action, the seldom used Childress scored nine points, which was a season high. The former Stanford Cardinal also had four rebounds and a pair of assists.
With the Suns bench having struggled for the majority of the season, here are the reasons why I think Childress needs to receive more playing time from head coach Alvin Gentry.
4. Defensive Presence
Even though he has been on the bench for the majority of the season, most would agree that Childress is one of the Suns' best defenders on the roster. Take away Grant Hill and he is right there at the top of the pack.
Childress has a lot of things going for him. He has the ideal body to be a great defender. Standing at 6'8", the forward has extremely long arms that enable him to block shots as well as swipe away balls for opposing offensive players for steals. His athleticism and leaping ability are a huge benefits as well.
With the Suns playing poorly on the offensive end and with a renewed emphasis on improving defensively thanks to assistant coach Elston Turner, giving Childress an bump in playing time makes a ton of sense for Gentry.
This might be the biggest reason why Childress should be playing more. Lots of times, a player coming off the pine is locked into one particular position, but that isn't the case with this Californian.
Realistically because of his size and athleticism, Childress can play three different positions. His most natural spot is at small forward, but he can play shooting guard if the Gentry wants to go big or power forward if he picks a small ball lineup.
You can't say that about others on the Suns' bench. Both Shannon Brown and Michael Redd aren't good enough defensively to play other positions and Sebastian Telfair and Ronnie Price aren't big enough to play anything but point guard either.
2. Energy and Effort
Yes, he has sat on the bench for most games this year, but you know what to expect from Childress when he gets his name called. No matter what the scoreboard says or what his team's record is at the time, he is going to play his tail off on both sides of the court.
You saw that instantly in last night's game against Dallas. As soon as he entered the ballgame, Childress' energy and great effort made a big impact on his teammates and the game itself. That is essential to having a quality second unit.
Childress could play the role of Lou Amundson of a few seasons ago when the Suns made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
1. No Other Good Options
Just a few years ago, the Suns had one of the best second units in the league. Now you can argue that they have one of the worst thanks in large part to a void of talent.
Redd is nowhere close to being the player that he once was with the Milwaukee Bucks and retirement is probably not too far away. Brown has been up and down all season long, Channing Frye has been awful shooting the basketball and the Price/Telfair combo coming off the bench to back up Steve Nash doesn't put a lot of fear in teams. Lets not even talk about the play of Robin Lopez.
Childress earning more playing time only makes sense. After all, the man is making $6 million this season. You might as well play him to show him off to other teams who might be interested in adding the former Atlanta Hawks player.