Anyone can have a blog about an NBA team, but some set themselves apart from the rest with the dedication and valuable insight they bring to their craft. We’ll be sharing some knowledge from these dialed-in writers on Hoops Rumors in a new feature called Top Bloggers. As with The Beat, our ongoing series of interviews with NBA beat writers, it’s part of an effort to bring Hoops Rumors readers ever closer to the pulse of the teams they follow. Last time, we spoke with Philip Rossman-Reich, who is the Managing Editor of Fansided’s Orlando Magic Daily. Click here to see the entire Top Bloggers series.
Hoops Rumors: Publicly, it seems that Markieff Morris has backed down from his trade demands or, at the very least, he’s not saying much about it. Do you think this is the last we’ll hear about Morris being dissatisfied in Phoenix? How do you see everything playing out? (Note: We asked this question before the latest comments from Marcus Morris).
Troy Tauscher: It’s really hard to write this paragraph given Markieff Morris’ rough start. Anyway, I’ve maintained that he’s still upset with Phoenix. However, I also think he values winning and playing well, and is truly prepared to make that his priority. The market for him isn’t favorable, so I don’t think he gets traded this season. If the Suns can eventually package him with other assets for a deal that improves the team, I don’t think they hesitate and I don’t think Morris will be upset that he’s leaving.
Hoops Rumors: The Suns didn’t land LaMarcus Aldridge, but they did add Tyson Chandler and Mirza Teletovic. What did you like about the Suns’ offseason? Were there any additional moves that you wish they made?
Troy Tauscher: I liked both signings, even though Teletovic can’t hit a shot to save his life right now. I also really liked the Devin Booker pick. If I could add one thing, I would have signed a backup point guard who can manage the offense but doesn’t demand time. Ronnie Price is a good locker room guy and a hound on defense, but he can’t manage the offense. If Bledsoe or Knight get hurt, I think that might be an issue. I also obviously wish Aldridge would have joined the Suns.
Troy Tauscher: I think the Bledsoe-Knight pair is built to be a productive combination. The numbers say Knight was a very efficient spot-up shooter last season. He can work around Bledsoe attacking the rim. Knight can also create for Bledsoe by finding off-screen cuts that Bledsoe can finish. I like versatility, and the two have complementing skill sets that allow the Suns to diversify their offense. Defensively, I think it’s just a matter of Bledsoe taking the athletic challenge and giving Knight the secondary assignment.
Hoops Rumors: The Suns appear to have a lot of depth but they don’t have an elite star player. How do you see them addressing that in the years to come?
Troy Tauscher: The honest answer is that I have no idea. I’ve mentioned frequently that [GM] Ryan McDonough has some kind of dark wizard powers that allow him to just conjure up deals out of thin air. It’s impossible to guess who the available player will be. I mean, Aldridge was likely to stay with the Blazers for most of last season. The Suns do have good assets and a smart front office. I think it’s just a matter of waiting until they find the right guy at the right time.
Hoops Rumors: Playing in the Western Conference and in the Pacific Division isn’t an easy draw. What kind of record do you see the Suns winding up with in 2015/16?
Troy Tauscher: I have the Suns at 45 wins and the No. 8 seed, mostly because I’m not all in on the Jazz. I think it’ll be hard sometimes and I certainly don’t see that prediction as a lock. The more balanced attack they bring fixes some of their biggest flaws from previous seasons. It’s just about how much they want it and how much discipline they have on a nightly basis.