With the Golden State Warriors opening up their season tonight at the US Airways Center against the Phoenix Suns, we reached out to Andrew Lynch of the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate blog of the Phoenix Suns, Valley of the Suns to get his take on the contest tonight (7:00 p.m. PST).
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Can you believe the NBA had the audacity to start the regular season on Tuesday and not feature the Golden State Warriors?
I mean, the defending champions playing against their bitter rivals on opening night; who wants to see that?
Nonetheless, the Dubs will open up the season tonight in Phoenix as the post-Nash era begins. What should we expect from Phoenix in this game kind sir?
Andrew Lynch, Valley of the Suns: You know what you can expect from Phoenix? Because I really don’t. They’re starting new players at 4 of the 5 roster spots, with only the Polish Hammer, Marcin Gortat, remaining from last year’s starting rotation. For some insane reason, they’re starting Michael Beasley at the 3, even though all of our evidence shows that’s an idea that just doesn’t work. Wesley Johnson is their starting shooting guard. I don’t even have words to describe how sad typing that makes me.
Maybe the most familiar face other than Gortat is Goran Dragic, making his return to a Suns uniform as the number one option at the point. He’s no longer in Steve Nash’s shadow because, well, Nash is in purple and gold. And even though he’s gone, Nash is still what defines this team. On opening night, the most pressing question — and what I most expect to catch my eye — is just how different this team is from years past.
But that’s kind of the case for Golden State too, isn’t it?
J.M. Poulard: The Golden State Warriors different? That’s a preposterous statement!
This season, the Dubs will have Harrison Barnes, Jarret Jack, Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli, Kent Bazemore and Carl Landry as new faces. Oh and if you count the benched version of Andris Biedrins, that’s only seven new faces on a 15-man roster. Talk about continuity right?
In all seriousness, the Warriors have some new faces on board and much like the Phoenix Suns, they lack an identity. For the time being, the Dubs are a fast paced team that goes inside to Lee and bomb away from deep with Klay Thompson and Brandon Rush; but things should surely change when Curry (Curry is expected to play tonight for time being) and Bogut are both in the lineup. I’m expecting a lot of high low combination plays between Bogut and Lee out of the pick-and-roll and possibly more 3-pointers from deep as the defense collapses to guard the interior.
So tell me, are you excited for the Beasley era? I mean seriously, he will probably be the Suns’ leading scorer this year, and should at least be entertaining to watch him find ways to manufacture shots right?
Also, for all the talk about how centers are dying breed, why can’t Gortat get any national attention? I want answers Ginger!
Andrew Lynch: I’m excited for the Michael Beasley era in the same way you’d be excited for a fireworks show in Mexico; there’s going to be a lot of spectacular explosions, some of them might end up coming right back at you and in the end, all that’s left is a bunch of smoke and trying to get home. I hate the Beasley contract, not the player, but if he’s the Suns’ leading scorer, then it’s going to be a really long season.
The person who should lead the Suns in scoring is Gortat. As for the lack of national attention, I think the reasons are twofold. Number one, people seem genuinely confused (and/or ignorant) when it comes to the center position. Everyday, I see some new player ranked in the top 5 centers in the NBA. I don’t think Gortat’s in that top 5, personally, but he’s damned good, so you’d think people would be more aware of his exploits. However, Phoenix of late hasn’t really garnered much national attention on the court, and they really haven’t deserved any. Any national attention they have received has focused on their renowned training staff or Steve Nash’s eventual departure from the desert. They were fun to watch when Nash and Gortat were on the court together, but I wouldn’t expect anyone but a diehard Suns fan to want to watch a full 48 minutes.
Maybe that changes this year, though; someone has to score and rebound for the Suns, and Gortat seems as good a candidate as any for the former and the surest answer to the latter.
You know who I’d really like to see breakout this year? This’ll sound weird, but it’s Curry and Bogut. All I want for Golden State is for those two to be healthy (and for Barnes to be as good as he looks like he can be) and to have good, solid seasons that remind us of just how good they are.
J.M. Poulard: Many want to see what a healthy Warriors team will look like given that it appears to be quite a formidable roster on paper. I’m excited at the prospect of seeing both Bogut and Curry on the floor together given what they bring to the table.
With that said, this is where you get to make your prediction: who wins the contest tonight?
Andrew Lynch: It’s basically a coin flip in my book, so I’ll take the home team. I’m such a homer.
J.M. Poulard: Given that I am already on record that the Golden State Warriors are going to make the playoffs and that the Phoenix Suns will be the worst team in the division, I’m going with the Dubs for the sake of consistency; and also because I firmly believe they are much improved this season. Andrew, thanks for stopping by.
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