With the Phoenix Suns first preseason game a week away I am fascinated by the different combination of line-ups head coach Alvin Gentry has at his disposal.
With the offseason additions of Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and Luis Scola plus holdovers Jared Dudley, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat - the versatility of the roster is plentiful.
According to 82games.com here is a break down of where each of these players logged minutes in 2011-12 (the % listed below is the % available minutes at that position for the team he was on).
-Goran Dragic 13% SG
-Michael Beasley 33% SF, 24% PF and 1% PF
-Jared Dudley 41% SF and 40% SG
-Wesley Johnson 8% SG and 48% SF
-Markieff Morris 45% PF and 4% SF
-Luis Scola 58% PF and 22% C
I believe Gentry can be even more creative if he wants. In a league where Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge are now their team's starting centers, Morris and Scola should be able to get significant run at the five.
As I've talked about length in the past in addition to playing small forward it makes sense for Michael Beasley to play the four especially against smaller teams.
On a roster with two point guards, who have earned minutes in Goran Dragic and Sebastian Telfair, plus a third who could earn a role with rookie Kendall Marshall, it makes sense to give Dragic run at the two for stretches.
Outside of the times when Gentry goes extremely small with Dragic at SG, the rest of the minutes can be divided between Dudley, Brown and Johnson.
If Phoenix wants to go extremely big Gortat could shift to the four, which he used to do on occasion in Orlando to play with Dwight Howard, and play Jermaine O'Neal at center.
Morris and Scola at the four/five, Gortat with either those two, Gortat and Beasley, Scola and Beasley - I could go on and on and on.
Big, small or traditional are all options for head coach Alvin Gentry.
I don't know if it makes sense for Gentry to go with a set rotation in which each player knows his role night in and night out.
This roster seems to lend itself to playing match-ups on a game to game basis and keeping the hot hand in (Gentry has always played the hot hand with the Suns even if it meant Nash sat for entire fourth quarters).
Gentry doesn't have an easy job this year. He has a lot of young players, who are playing for their reputations and numbers for future contracts. It's going to be a very delicate balance he needs to play.