A few questions remain to be answered for the Phoenix Suns with Training Camp coming to a conclusion today. The team has spent the past five days in San Diego going through two-a-days with morning and evening practices getting ready for the pre-season. Coming into the season there were only a few certainties making this an important week for the team.
The starting point guard spot is Goran Dragic's. The team made that abundantly clear when they made him the crown jewel of the off-season.
Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat will be the starters in the paint as they provide the most proven proven and talented duo on the roster at the four and the five. With the current roster Gortat is the second most tenured member on the team (with Channing Frye out) entering his third full year knowing the system.
After those three the minutes seem to be up for grabs.
Everyone is pushing each other in camp as Gentry thinks Markieff Morris is making even the veterans better, "I think Markieff is pushing (Luis) Scola." That extra 10 pounds of muscle doesn't hurt as Morris has dedicated this off-season to getting better especially after the team made an aggressive play to get the veteran Scola to fill the void to what was the worst position (statistically) on the team last season.
Competition can bring out the best in some while it can do the polar opposite for others alienating their confidence. For the Suns the positional battles at the two, the three, and at the back-up point guard spots are giving Coach Gentry a lot options.
When you look at some of the most successful teams of the bast decade, the best five do not have to start the game, but instead having one of the better players come off the bench gives them a distinct advantage. As Coach told me, "the best five guys may not necessarily start," which indicates the importance of having play-makers on the bench.
Which leads directly to the biggest question the team has to answer in camp and in the pre-season -- Who starts at the two?
"If I was a betting man," said Coach Gentry about the two guard battle. "I would say Jared is going to start there, but things can obviously change before the season starts."
As coach continued on he gave the impression that Michael Beasley will be the starting three touting his play-making ability and stating that, "not many threes in this league can stay in-front of him." With Beasley at the three and Dudley at the two that means the odd men out of the starting rotation are Shannon Brown and Wesley Johnson. Again, the best five guys may not start the game.
Earlier this week on SB Nation Arizona I reviewed the different line-ups and what they bring on the court. The most important factor in choosing the starting wings is having a play-maker on the bench. Sure, either Sebastian Telfair or Kendall Marshall will run the offense, but having a proven scorer to get the ball to in clutch situations is important.
When Dragic, Scola, and Beasley are off the court, who gets the ball with seven seconds on the clock?
Coach Gentry was not in Vegas when he made his "betting mans" proclamation, so nothing is set in stone, but it seems like the questions are beginning to be answered entering the pre-season. Now the team has four weeks of pre-season action and practices to hammer down the details on the rotation.