Suns' roster lacking 'clutch' player

BY foxsports • September 17, 2012

After a summer of roster juggling, the Phoenix Suns have inspired the
big thinkers from at least one basketball-bouncing website to expect a
fourth-place finish.

That’s fourth in the Pacific
Division.

This judgment was passed down by five
writers from Hoopsworld.com (three fourth-place votes, one fifth and one
third), who are taking the time to examine each NBA team in categorical
form.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of their Suns
critique was the uncertainty inside the “Top Clutch Player” category.
With Steve Nash now working in Hollywood, the author of this Suns
preview listed Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley and Luis Scola as clutch
candidates.

We’ll see if someone emerges as the
season progresses; unfortunately, entering training camp with this
question in the wind pretty much explains why the Hoopsworld guys expect
little more from Phoenix than a hearty stab at the eighth playoff spot
(if that).

If Beasley becomes the stretch-run leader
on a nightly basis, it would strongly suggest that the Suns have struck
reasonably priced gold.  Beasley is the only player on the
payroll with the physical capacity to be special.

I
know. Dragic has a shot at being really good,
too.

NASH RIDING OFF TO SUNSET
BLVD.

In a recent tweet, Nash informed his
followers of a “last stand” night on the town with the Suns' training
staff. The two-time MVP indicated he was picking up the tab for dinner
and upper-tier transportation.

It’s only right that
these expert caretakers of muscles, joints and ligaments be shuttled
around town in a stretch limo.

We’ll soon see how
much of a stretch it will be for Lakers coach Mike Brown to present the
merging of Nash into Kobe Bryant’s
traffic.

HARDEN
KNOCKS

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins --
who often is given credit for more than he seems to deserve -- recently
took on the role of front-office media emissary.

When
asked about the contractual future of teammate James Harden, the
fabulously remunerated Perk assured his inquisitor that OKC and Harden
were closing in on a deal. That, of course, would be funeral music for
fans of the Suns or any team seemingly interested in hiring Harden as a
free agent next summer.

But subsequent reports
strongly suggest the luxury-tax-threatening franchise is not close to
re-signing the former Arizona State star. And, by the way, Harden
reportedly is still seeking a max deal.

A max deal
probably won’t come directly from OKC, but the Thunder could wait for
another team to offer its max-level deal (which would be less than the
Harden or any other player's own team can offer) and match it ... and
then chew on the luxury-tax ramifications.

So, like
that nerdy character on the Cox telephone commercial who gave his phone
number to three “smokin’ hot ladies,” we’re saying there is a
chance.

BARNES
HOPPIN’

Former Suns forward Matt Barnes is
moving down the hall from his Lakers stall at Staples Center for a space
in the Clippers' dressing room.

The addition of the
crusty journeyman raised a few eyebrows from league observers who may
think ol’ Matt may not fit in with solid citizens such as Chauncey
Billups and Grant Hill.

Not so fast, chemistry
students.

“First of all, they’re trying to win a
championship ... not a trophy for having the most nice guys in a locker
room,” an NBA personnel executive said of the Clippers. “Second, he
(Barnes) fills a need for a wing defender and he brings them some
toughness.”

By the way, in case you’re thinking the
Clips already had some knuckleheads in new additions Jamal Crawford and
Lamar Odom, please note that both players are considered solid
teammates.

Well, as solid as they can be when not
associated with their cable TV shows.


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