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Big Al And The Suns: What Could Have Been

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Did the Suns miss out on the opportunity to make themselves true contenders in the West?

The Phoenix Suns missed out on a tremendous opportunity to make themselves true contenders in the West. 

The Suns' current roster has too many wing players. You do not need Hedo Turkoglu, Grant Hill, Jared Dudley, Josh Childress, and Jason Richardson. If you really want to, you can throw Hakim Warrick into the mix -- he is capable of getting time at small forward.

I screamed and yelled for Phoenix to jump in on the Al Jefferson sweepstakes; he ended up with the Utah Jazz. The Suns had the traded player exception to acquire him, but they instead used it in the trades for Warrick and Childress. I would have preferred to give the TPE to Minnesota and two future first-round picks than grab Childress/Warrick.

Here is a look at what the Suns could have looked like:

C - Robin Lopez

PF - Al Jefferson

SF - Grant Hill

SG - Jason Richardson

PG - Steve Nash

Bench

- Hedo Turkoglu

- Goran Dragic

- Jared Dudley

- Channing Frye

- Veteran big man

Even with acquiring Jefferson, a more traditional 4, the Suns still would have retained tremendous line-up flexibility.

A Robin Lopez/Al Jefferson/Channing Frye frontcourt combination is an excellent three-man rotation. They could have signed another low-cost veteran like Kurt Thomas to pick up 10-15 minutes a night. 

If Phoenix wanted to go with a small line-up, you could stick Hedo, Hill, or Dudley at the 4. That, in small doses and as a change of pace, works -- not with Hedo as your main guy at the PF position. 

With my fake Suns roster, Hedo, J-Rich, and Hill could split time at the small forward and shooting guard positions. 

Dudley would be used mainly as a 3.

Dragic would back up Nash and could also get time at the shooting guard position, paired with the two-time MVP.

My reasoning for bringing Hedo Turkoglu in off the bench is because Hedo likes to play with the ball in his hands. He is a facilitator more than a finisher. With the first unit, the ball needs to be in Steve Nash's hands on the perimeter and pounded into Jefferson on the inside. With the second unit, Hedo and Dragic are the players who create the offense. 

In the Western Conference, general managers need to realize the team you are trying to go through is the Los Angeles Lakers. To beat the Lakers, you need size and rebounding to neutralize Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Derrick Caracter (alright, I'm going overboard with Caracter, but the dude has been a beast in summer league).

The Suns team I put together above is more equipped for a seven-game series with LA than the roster Robert Sarver, Alvin Gentry, or whoever made the deals this summer has constructed.