6 Biggest Questions Facing the Phoenix Suns Before Training Camp

Danny Dukker@DannyDukkerCorrespondent IIAugust 22, 2012

6 Biggest Questions Facing the Phoenix Suns Before Training Camp

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    The Phoenix Suns have finally started the rebuilding phase fans have been waiting for. Steve Nash and Grant Hill are both gone and in are Kendall Marshall, Michael Beasley and Goran Dragic.

    With rebuilding, there also comes a certain sense of uncertainty. Change is in the air and just how far it can go is unknown. There are also questions fans have as to how the new additions will be used.

    How is the game plan going to be effected? Who starts and who sits? How much work is left to do?

    There are many questions, but there are a few in particular that are on my mind as we near training camp. 

Can Goran Dragic Fill Steve Nash’s Shoes?

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    It would be unfair to ask of any point guard to fill the shoes of Steve Nash. Nevertheless, that is exactly what will be expected of Dragic.

    He needs to step in and become the leader of this team as it moves on from one of the most successful eras in its history. His playing style is different from Nash’s in multiple ways.

    He is slightly more of a scorer than a passer and runs a slower pace on the court. For fans, it will be a very different experience watching the 2012-13 Suns as opposed to Nash’s teams.

    With that said, Dragic will be expected to keep the winning tradition in Phoenix, as the Suns only finished below .500 once during Nash’s tenure. Making the playoffs is also a legitimate hope for fans, but it is completely reliant on Dragic’s play.

    There will be a lot of pressure on Dragic and that can either help or stunt his progress. We'll just have to wait and see.

Can Michael Beasley Start a New Chapter in Phoenix?

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    Michael Beasley has had a rather rough start to his NBA career. In Miami, he was involved in multiple off-court incidents and was criticized for being an inconsistent player.

    After being involved in numerous trade rumors, Beasley was finally traded to Minnesota. There, his new GM David Kahn stated that Beasley was an immature kid who “smoked too much marijuana” while he was in Miami.

    That's not the kind of support a player needs to hear from his new team and definitely hurt a player's morale.

    Still, Beasley went on to have a strong year, averaging 19 points a game in 32 minutes of action. However, he received fewer minutes last year and only put up 11 points a game.

    The Suns are hoping that with their support, Beasley will be able to get back to his 2011 form and perhaps develop from there. If Beasley can become the scorer Phoenix so desperately needs, then it should be a great year for the Suns.

How Will Alvin Gentry Manage the Big Men on the Roster?

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    As of now, the Suns have Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola, Markieff Morris, Channing Frye and Jermaine O'Neal on the roster. That group is only fit to play power forward and center, but how are the minutes going to be distributed?

    Gortat is clearly the starting center and Scola takes the power forward spot, but how is the bench set up? Morris is a second-year player who showed some serious potential last season, but he lacked consistency.

    Frye is a three-point marksman and a guy who can be relied on to get a big out of the paint. He can help open things up on offense and knock down an open three if needed.

    O'Neal is the best defender of the bunch and the best center outside of Gortat on the team. It will be interesting to see what Gentry decides to do with the new additions and the old pieces in order to make sure everyone is happy.

Can Wesley Johnson Finally Break Out?

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    Wesley Johnson has failed to do much of anything so far in his career, other than make fans extremely frustrated. In his first two seasons, Johnson has averaged over 24 minutes but under eight points per contest.

    His shooting percentage is below 40 and he actually managed to play worse in his second year than his first. Defensively, Johnson has been solid and knows how to use his athleticism.

    On offense, however, he has been terrible, something the Suns don't need this season. If Johnson can finally start playing well on offense, then he could even be the starter for the Suns at the two.

    He will get a chance in Phoenix; he just needs to make the most of it.

Who Is the Starting Shooting Guard?

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    Shannon Brown is the favorite as of right now, but Jared Dudley and Wesley Johnson are also good possibilities. Dudley is a forward, but makes for a solid guard due to his defense and shooting ability.

    With that said, if he starts, then the bench is seriously weakened. Brown is a great athlete who has played a year in the system, which could put him over Johnson.

    Johnson still needs to show he has what it takes to play big minutes (see previous slide), but he is a much better defender than Brown is.

    As the starting lineup stands as of now, the Suns don't need another scorer to start the game, which could allow either Johnson or Dudley to take the spot.

    It is an interesting question, and I cannot wait to see what Gentry is planning to do here.

How Big a Role Is Kendall Marshall Going to Play This Season?

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    Kendall Marshall is a rookie who many thought would step in and take over for Nash. He is a pass-first guard who has incredible potential in this league.

    However, since Dragic was signed, it is clear that Marshall will now be backing him up, but for how long?

    Neither Dragic or Marshall are tall enough or physical enough to slide down to shooting guard meaning that they will have to be on the floor separately.

    If Marshall is to fully develop, he needs playing time and the longer he plays, the longer Dragic is a spectator. Is Marshall going to be a bench warmer or a sixth man?

    We'll have to wait and see what Gentry decides.


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