5 Critical Revelations from Phoenix Suns Training Camp
The preseason and training camps are over and the NBA is finally ready to begin yet another season.
For the Phoenix Suns, the players are ready to go after an interesting run through training camp and preseason with an almost completely new roster.
The team entered training camp with more questions than answers and, thankfully, the state of the team has clarified.
Read on for five critical revelations from Phoenix Suns training camp and what these revelations mean for the upcoming season.
Michael Beasley Is Ready to Explode
Michael Beasley came over to the Phoenix Suns with more questions than answers, but looks like he's answered most questions so far.
Beasley's raw talent has never been questioned, but his mental capacity and consistency have been greatly scrutinized.
He signed with the Suns and immediately stated his troubled past was behind him and that he was ready to grow as a player.
I think he got that one right.
Beasley erupted with a 29-point, 10-rebound performance against the Denver Nuggets on ESPN and looked fantastic.
Beasley has a clear role as the team's starting small forward and coach Alvin Gentry has even said he wants Beasley to shoot more (via AZ Central).
Beasley has never had that kind of green light and he should ride that to a breakout season.
Wesley Johnson Can Score If Given the Chance
Wesley Johnson was acquired this offseason from the Minnesota Timberwolves and most didn't think much of the deal.
Johnson was coming off a frustrating year and it wasn't surprising to see many write him off.
However, Johnson came out hot in the preseason with an 18-point effort against the Sacramento Kings and showed flashes of why he was drafted fourth overall.
The wide-open nature of the Phoenix offense is exactly what he needed and he seems in a much better situation, as the cloud of being drafted so high did not follow him to the desert.
Johnson looks much more confident in his abilities and should get the lions share of the backup small forward minutes.
Rebounding Is a Problem Area
The Phoenix Suns haven't been a dominant rebounding team for quite some time now and, if the preseason is any indication, that won't change anytime soon.
The Suns added frontcourt players Luis Scola and Jermaine O'Neal to the team but still the team struggles to rebound effectively, especially on the defensive side.
Just in the preseason, the Suns gave up around 13 offensive boards per game and almost 45 total rebounds per game.
Comparing these averages to last year's team rankings, the Suns would be worse on both fronts and one of the worst rebounding teams in the entire NBA.
Rebounding numbers that low would be extremely detrimental and really have no reason to be so low considering the players in the frontcourt.
Marcin Gortat, Jermaine O'Neal, Markieff Morris, Luis Scola, Michael Beasley and even Wesley Johnson are definitely better rebounders than the stats show.
For the Suns sake, they better hope it's more a reflection of the minutes played by guys who were fighting for spots and not a trend among the regulars.
Alvin Gentry Is Fighting for His Job
Alvin Gentry has been the head coach of the Phoenix Suns for 3 1/2 seasons now and is in the last year of his contract with the team.
Gentry has had nice success with the Suns, but the team is at a critical juncture and needs to evaluate how he fits in the long-term plans of the franchise.
GM Lon Babby has already said the two sides will not negotiate a new deal until after the season, basically setting up Gentry to control his own fate.
If the team does bad then Gentry will not be brought back and the team will look for a new coach.
If Gentry either does better than expected or finishes around .500, he will probably be back for a couple years.
It might be a tough position to be in, but Gentry seems to have accepted that he is coaching for his job.
The Team Is Embracing Its Depth and Lack of a Superstar
There's no denying the fact that this year's Phoenix Suns team is lacking a superstar.
Even with management making runs over the past couple months at Eric Gordon and James Harden, the team struck out both times and went on to build the team around depth.
That depth has given the coaching staff the ability to go 10 deep on any given night but the questions regarding the lack of a superstar have not subsided.
The team has embraced it's lack of a superstar and look to beat teams with that depth.
Think of the Suns as a lesser version of the Denver Nuggets, where there are multiple players that could erupt at any time.
It's key for the players to buy into this concept and not get discouraged at the lack of a superstar, as the players control the direction this team goes.