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Gentry Considering Starting Warrick Over Turkoglu, Foul Trouble Biggest Concern

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Phoenix Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry spoke more today about the possibility of starting Hakim Warrick over Hedo Turkoglu at power forward. He's been open to the idea for several weeks now and Turkoglu said he would not be opposed to coming off the bench.

It's been a difficult transition for Turkoglu, who has never played the power forward position in the NBA and has been frequently overmatched by bigger players such as Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom, and DeJuan Blair. Turkoglu has been giving a good effort, but has found himself in early foul trouble in several games, which has taken him out of any kind of rhythm offensively.  

"I don't know. We'll take a look at it. One of the things I talked to Hedo about is that to have him guard a Zach Randolph or something like that is a little unfair, so there is a possibility," Gentry said after Suns shootaround.

"We'll see how it goes. I don't want him in foul trouble, so if I think it's a situation where he's going to get in immediate foul trouble, then we'll change our rotations and it could be as early as two or three minutes in the game."

Warrick, who's listed at 219 pounds, is also too thin to be effective against bigger power forwards, but it's a position he's played his entire NBA career. This gives him the advantage of experience when it comes to fronting in the post and playing without fouling.

The rebounding and defense from the Suns power forward position would be less of an issue if center Robin Lopez were fully healthy. Lopez said this week that he's still not regained the same level of athleticism as he had last season before injuring his back.

"I think I'm not quite as explosive as I was last season. I need to get back to that, but I also kind of need to figure out how to play not being quite as explosive," Lopez said this week about his condition.

He feels that eventually he will get back to the same level of play and in the meantime needs to get better at being effective without the same quickness and explosion. Robin says he's not in any pain, but just needs more time to recover from last year's injury. Lopez is only averaging 5.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season, which is down from the previous year's numbers. 

The Suns face the Sacramento Kings tonight, who start Carl Landy at power forward. Landry, 6-9 and 248 pounds, is also undersized for the position, but is a very physical player. It will be interesting to see how Hedo responds. 

According the game notes from the Suns PR department, the Suns have won 25 consecutive home games against their Pacific Division opponents, not including the LA Lakers: Kings (nine straight), Golden State Warriors (10 straight), and Los Angeles Clippers (six straight).