NBA

Phoenix Makes Another Trade In Hopes of Making Up Lost Ground

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The struggling Phoenix Suns, which reached the Western Conference Finals last season, have been active players on the trade market this season.  They recently traded away Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to Orlando in exchange for Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus and Vince Carter. Their ineptitude on defense is what has caused them to fall to a 13-17 record, and, in opinion, this trade did nothing to help them to improve their defense.  Also, Phoenix lost arguably its best shooter in Jason Richardson, who lead the Suns in scoring prior to the trade.  Now the Suns look to incorporate three new faces into a team that has already waved goodbye to one. So the question becomes, does this trade at the expense of Jason Richardson make the Suns a contender?  Only time will tell. Alvin Gentry joined KTAR in Phoenix to talk about how Vince Carter has been during practice and how he is going to utilize him, if five games and few practices would be an adequate amount of time before the team gets acclimated to each other, and how this year has been one of the toughest years in Phoenix having to mix and match lineups and all the new changes.

How Vince Carter has been during practice and how he is going to utilize him:

“Well, obviously Vince has been a really good player in this league and has been an all-star for many years in this league.  I think as far as we are concerned we are going to use him like we used J-Rich.  I think we will probably post the ball to him a little bit more and give him a chance to be a facilitator a little bit but we are excited about having him.  One of the things is that I didn’t realize he is a lot bigger than I thought he was, height-wise and girth and stuff, so hopefully he can help us in that area right there as far as post up and demanding double-teams and then be able to create space more and get off shots.  I think his three-point shooting will also go up.”

On the marked improvement in Jared Dudley’s game:

“He really did and I think for him and for us, it was all about the spacing…  To me I thought we got into a great offensive rhythm where he was catching the ball in rhythm with his feet set and he is a very accurate shooter when that is the case, which is why I think he can throw up seven three’s, seven-for-ten from the three, so we do like that. One of the things is that Vince has been a starter throughout his whole career and Jared knows how to play off the bench and he knows how to do that and has been kind of a sparkplug for that second unit, so we will take a look at that and see how we will do that but Jared really stepped up.  He did a great job for us in those two games.”
If five games and few practices would be an adequate amount of time before the team gets acclimated to each other:
“Well I think so.  I think it is really tough to kind of stick them in the mix.  We play a different style of basketball than they are used to.  I think Pietrus being at Golden State for a few years is a little more clued in as to what we are doing.  We have got a few more practices, it is probably going to take four or five games to finally start to feel good about it.  As I said to the guys, this is going to be an important stretch of games for us over the next couple of weeks or so and if we want to get back into the playoff race we are going to have to play really good basketball and find a way to win the majority of these games.”

How this year has been one of the toughest years in Phoenix having to mix and match lineups and all the new changes:

“It has been really tough because some of the other teams I have coached we had eight guys that knew they were going to play and that has been it.  Getting those guys accustomed to the minutes they are going to play and when we are going to sub in has been fairly easy.  The difficult thing around here is that we do have a deep team but at some stage we have got to develop consistency so that you know what you are going to get from guys night-in and night-out and you know how to use them.  That has been really tough because you know because this is our second change this season so we are trying to get guys to understand their roles and to, like you said, put a combination of guys out there that is going to great so, it is a challenge but it is something that we have got to get done and get done quickly.”

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