Realistic Stat Projections for Each Member of the Phoenix Suns in 2012-13

Danny DukkerCorrespondent IISeptember 11, 2012

Realistic Stat Projections for Each Member of the Phoenix Suns in 2012-13

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    The Phoenix Suns are entering the 2012 NBA season without Steve Nash, and with a whole new cast of players leading the way.

    Goran Dragic is the starting point guard and the man with the most pressure on him to perform well. With a roster full of players who are new to Phoenix, and have not played next to each other, it's going to be a rough start to the season.

    Let's see what the stats will look like for all the players currently on the Phoenix roster.

    Note: For every player I chose to show their projected PPG, the next stat in which they will make the most impact, and their field goal percentage.

Goran Dragic

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    PPG: 15.7

    APG: 8.6

    FG percentage: 45

    I'm predicting a good year for Goran Dragic, but not a great one. While he played in Phoenix to start his career, this is a very different group of players he is dealing with.

    I expect him to take on a role of a distributor, but not to the degree Nash was. Dragic likes to score and I expect him to do that quite well this year.

    His slashing ability combined with a decent jump shot will command the respect of the defense. This will lead to more opportunities for the teammates around him.

    Dragic is not Nash, but he will carry the Suns nicely into the new era.

Shannon Brown

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    PPG: 10.1

    SPG: 1.1

    FG percentage: 44

    Brown's athletic ability and shooting will fit perfectly next to Dragic and the new Suns frontcourt. He will be able to give the team a spark in a way he simply wasn't able to last season.

    His numbers won't look impressive simply because the Suns have so many options at the shooting guard position.

    They can have Dudley in there to fill in, as well as the newly acquired Wesley Johnson who will also cut into Brown's minutes.

    Brown should also average more steals because he now has a better defensive point guard next to him, as well as some solid guys in the paint.

    This should be a solid year for Brown.

Michael Beasley

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    PPG: 20.2

    RPG: 5

    FG percentage: 46

    People will either love or hate this prediction, but I see Michael Beasley having a breakout year in Phoenix.

    Many forget how good Beasley was in 2011 when he averaged 19.2 points per game. I see the same kind of production now that he wants to prove himself.

    The team around him will also be better, and he has offensive players who deserve respect, and stop him from being double teamed.

    The management has shown support of Beasley, and he is a big part of the youth movement in Phoenix. After this season, I think the Suns will be able to put a lock on their forward spot and move on to other areas. 

Luis Scola

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    PPG: 14.1

    RPG: 7.3

    FG percentage: 52

    Scola was a very underrated addition for the Suns, as he can now team up with Marcin Gortat to form a dominant front court.

    His finesse around the basket will contrast nicely with Gortat's physical play and will also help open up Beasley's mid-range game. Scola and Gortat have the opportunity to own the paint on the offensive end.

    On defense, Scola is not one to put up big numbers, but he is a tough defender who will play his man well.

    Scola also allows the Suns to play a more inside-outside game to mix it up, and he has a mid range game which could be useful to the team as well.

Marcin Gortat

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    PPG: 15.2

    RPG: 10.6

    FG percentage: 58

    Gortat will see an all-around improvement this season. He is already a top-five center in the NBA and will further assert that this season.

    He will be among the leaders in field goal percentage and his rebounding will take a nice jump this year. Gortat will benefit from Scola next to him, and Beasley's scoring ability.

    Dragic will also run a slower pace, which will allow Gortat to get set up in the paint and give him better scoring chances. I also look for him to get more physical on the defensive end and on the glass this season.

    Gortat was always a tough presence in the paint, and that is going to be even more evident this coming season.

Jared Dudley

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    PPG: 10.4

    SPG: 1.2

    FG percentage: 48

    Dudley will step into his sixth man role this season, and will see minutes both at shooting guard and small forward.

    Dudley is a solid player on both ends off the court, but his best attribute is his man defense. He gives a tough match up to whoever he is guarding, beating them with patience and intelligence.

    His conditioning is also great, which allows him to easily step up to play big minutes if he is needed. As usual, he will start some games throughout the season, but he is much more useful as a spark off the bench.

    He has a great shooting ability, as well as superior court awareness which makes him a very serviceable weapon on offense.

    With Dragic running the show, and the scoring threats this team has, Dudley's numbers will take a dip, but his efficiency should go up.

Kendall Marshall

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    PPG: 4.5

    APG: 5.7

    FG percentage: 40

    Marshall has great basketball IQ, and all the potential in the world, but his rookie year will be one big learning experience.

    His offensive game will be all about his passing. Don't expect him to light up the scoreboard at any point. In fact, there could easily be games where he is 0-5 or 0-8 from the field as he is getting adjusted to the pros.

    Marshall's passing should still be impressive though, as his court vision is not going to worsen as he starts his professional career.

    He will be right behind Dragic this season, giving the Suns a much different feel when he is on the court. His pace will be very slow and calculating, making sure he finds the best scoring chance on every play.

    Marshall will show flashes of amazing talent, but his year will be rough.

Wesley Johnson

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    PPG: 5.1

    SPG: 1.3

    FG percentage: 43

    I see Wesley Johnson finally taking a good step forward this year on the offensive end. Not saying I see the next scoring champion in him, but he will improve.

    His defense is what the Suns will really need. Look for him to be more energized on that end of the floor this coming season.

    Defensively, he is a very well rounded player, using his athletic ability as well as some very good footwork. On offense, his athletic ability should lead to some very entertaining oops from Dragic and others.

    While there is an outside chance he could be the starter over Brown, I can't see it happening this season.

Markieff Morris

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    PPG: 7.4

    RPG: 5

    FG percentage: 44

    The biggest improvement from Morris will be in his consistency. He was very hot and cold last season, but he did show the makings of a very solid player.

    His jump shot is way above average for a big man, and his hustle earned him minutes almost immediately. Morris is not a rookie anymore, not to mention the fact that he will really have to earn his minutes this year.

    If the Suns want to make the playoffs this season, Morris needs to be a strong contributor to that effort. Added competition as well as motivation will be the reasons Morris will step up this year.

Jermaine O'Neal

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    PPG: 3.2

    BPG:  1.8

    FG percentage: 45

    O'Neal has always had a great reputation of defending the rim, and that is the exact reason the Suns picked him up.

    He gives them the ability to sit Gortat and still have a dominant presence in the paint, something Robin Lopez never was.

    On offense, don't expect much at all, as he is not there to fill it up on the offensive end. Defense is more important to the Suns this season, and O'Neal is the evidence of that.

Channing Frye

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    PPG: 7.7

    RPG: 5.4 

    FG percentage: 40

    Scola, Frye and Morris will have to share the minutes at the power forward spot, and Frye is the weakest link.

    He has no problem taking shots, whether they are open or not, which will lead to points being scored, but will hurt the team in the long run.

    Threes are Frye's calling card, and he will be their shooter off the bench. He can stretch the floor and open up the paint for Beasley, Dragic, Brown and others.

    The best part of his game is his reputation more so than his ability.

Sebastian Telfair and PJ Tucker

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    Telfair:

    PPG: 3

    APG: 1.5 

    FG percentage: 44

    Tucker:

    PPG: 1.2

    RPG: 1.4 

    FG percentage: 48

    Unfortunately for Telfair and Tucker, they sit on the far end of the bench in Phoenix. Neither is going to get any meaningful playing time.

    Telfair is behind Dragic, who is the undisputed starter, and the lottery pick Kendall Marshall. Tucker is buried even further behind Beasley, Dudley, and Johnson.

    Telfair was a hot and cold player last season who did not perform too poorly when called upon. Tucker on the other hand, hasn't played in the NBA since 2007, and has spent his time overseas.

Conclusion

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    The Suns front office has done a great job of assembling a very capable group of players this offseason. Phoenix should be in the playoff hunt, and I expect them to be no lower than the eighth seed in the conference.

    While Steve Nash's departure will hurt, it will be eased by the chance to watch the Suns play a best of seven series in late spring.

     

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