The Phoenix Suns will play host to John Wall and the Washington Wizards for an early Sunday game. The 6:00 p.m. local start time should come just after the Arizona Cardinals wrap up their home game against the St. Louis Rams giving Arizona sports fans plenty of options to watch bad teams.
The Wizards are winless on the road in nine tries and 6-12 overall on the season. The Cardinals, of course, are a 3-9 disaster this season. The bright spots for both games are the play of two visiting rookies, both number one picks in their respective sports. Sam Bradford has his Rams team playing better than they have in years, and John Wall at least makes the Wizards watchable. Sun's Coach Alvin Gentry enjoys watching the Wizards young point guard.
"Oh yea, I think he's terrific. One thing I think we have in this league if you look around, is an abundance of young point guards," Gentry said.
Wall will start for the Wizards with former Arizona Wildcat Gilbert Arenas bringing his $18 million contract off the bench. The two point guards do play together, however according to the stats site 82game.com, they have not been successful on the floor at the same time. In fact, the Wizards most used line up includes Wall along with Kirk Hinrich, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Al Thorton and is a minus 28 in point differential in 120 minutes of total floor time. The second most lineup swaps Arena for Wall with that same grouping of other players and is a plus 18 which makes them the Wizards highest rated unit.
The Suns could opt to play Goran Dragic more in tandem with Steve Nash to counter the Wizards two-point guard line up when Arenas and Wall are on the floor together, but Gentry didn't seem inclined to do that. He said the Suns have played against two ball handers before and won't let that change his rotations. While that makes it a challenge for the Suns to defend they also have distinct size differential with Jason Richardson or Josh Childress who can post up Wall or Arenas and have a rebounding advantage.
The problem for Washington of course, is that Wall is the future of the franchise and while he's an impressive talent already, his low field goal percentage (41.4 percent) and high turnover rate (18.2% of his plays result in a turnover) make it difficult for him to lead his young team to wins. That's not to say they aren't dangerous, at least according to Gentry.
"They're a young team with a young point guard but they are very, very talented and very, very dangerous. There's been so many games where they've been up but they just can't close out," Gentry said.
The Suns continue to start Earl Barron for defensive purposes. Gentry felt he took Roy Hibbert out of the game on Friday and so he gives the worst defensive team in the league a different look. Barron and Channing Frye will be matched up with Javale McGee and Andray Blatche.
Blatche is more of a low post threat but he can also shoot from range and also face up and attack off the bounce. McGee is an active player who rebound and loves to dunk lob passes from Wall. He doesn't have much of a low post game. Barron will probably start with the McGee assignment to try and counter the energy while Frye has the height and mobility to contest Blatche's mid-range game.
The game starts at 6:00 p.m. Arizona time (8:00 p.m ET) and will be broadcast locally on UPN My45. You can follow along via the live game thread at Bright Side of the Sun as well.