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Thursday, February 20, 2014

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE 2014-15 NBA SEASON PART 4

  PART 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4 PART 5

NEW ORLEANS
RETURNING PLAYERS (6)
-          ERIC GORDON (SG, 14.90, 15.51 PLAYER OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          TYREKE EVANS (G/F, 10.76, 3 YRS-34M)
-          JRUE HOLIDAY (PG, 9.90, 3 YRS-32M)
-          RYAN ANDERSON (PF, 8.49, 2 YRS-17M)
-          ANTHONY DAVIS (F/C, 5.61, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          AUSTIN RIVERS (G, 2.44, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
NON-GUARANTEED CONTRACTS (2)
-          ANTHONY MORROW (SG, 1.15 TEAM OPT)
-          JEFF WITHEY (C, 0.82)
FREE AGENTS (7)
-          DARIUS MILLER (SF, 1.12 QO)
-          BRIAN ROBERTS (PG, 1.12 QO)
-          ALEXIS AJINCA (C)
-          AL-FAROUQ AMINU (F)
-          LUKE BABBITT (SF)
-          JASON SMITH (F/C)
-          GREG STIEMSMA (C)
PROJECTED 2014 DRAFT PICKS (0)
-          NONE
FUTURE DRAFT PICK ASSETS (2)
-          2016 2ND RD PICK FROM L.A. CLIPPERS (TOP 55)
-          2016 2ND RD PICK FROM SACRAMENTO (TOP 55)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK DEBITS (4)
-          2014 1ST RD PICK TO PHILADELPHIA (TOP 5 PROT THROUGH 2020)
-          2014 2ND RD PICK TO MINNESOTA
-          2015 2ND RD PICK TO WASHINGTON
-          2017 2ND RD PICK TO MINNESOTA (TOP 55)
POSSIBLE DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS JOINING TEAM (1)
-          PIERRE JACKSON (PG, 2013-42) - IDAHO STAMPEDE (D-LEAGUE), ELIGIBLE FOR CALL-UP
OTHER DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS (0)
-          NONE
OUTLOOK
-          RYAN ANDERSON’S INJURY TOOK AWAY ANY CHANCE NEW ORLEANS HAD OF MAKING ANY SERIOUS PLAYOFF PUSH THIS SEASON BUT THE TEAM IS TOO GOOD TO DROP FAR ENOUGH IN THE STANDINGS TO KEEP THEIR TOP 5 PROTECTED PICK SLATED TO GO TO PHILADELPHIA.  THE PELICANS GOT JRUE HOLIDAY IN THAT DEAL AND ALSO ADDED TYREKE EVANS TO A CROWDED BACKCOURT THAT ALREADY INCLUDED ERIC GORDON & AUSTIN RIVERS.  MOST AGREE THAT THE EXPERIMENT OF THE HOLIDAY/GORDON/EVANS LINEUP ISN’T WORKING AND WE’VE HEARD RUMORS OF BOTH EVANS & GORDON POTENTIALLY BEING MOVED.  EVEN IF THAT PROVES TO BE FALSE, THERE IS STILL PLENTY TO LIKE IN NEW ORLEANS.  

        THEY SPORT A STARTING FIVE THAT ARE ALL 25 YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER & ANTHONY DAVIS HAS TURNED INTO AN ABSOLUTE BEAST AT JUST 20 YEARS OLD.  DAVIS IS AVERAGING 20 & 10 PLUS OVER 3 BLOCKS AND A STEAL & A HALF PER CONTEST.  THE PELICANS WILL HAVE ABOUT 10 MIL OF CAP SPACE HEADING INTO THE OFFSEASON TO ADD TO THEIR CORE BUT THEY’LL HAVE TO SOLVE THE THREE GUARD MESS SOONER THAN LATER AND DECIDE WHICH YOUNG GUYS THEIR GOING TO RUN WITH.  2013 2ND RD PICK PIERRE JACKSON WOULD SEEMINGLY BE A NICE FIT OFF THE BENCH BUT IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF HE’LL GET DEALT AS WELL.  THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT IN NEW ORLEANS BUT PLAYOFF HOPES SHOULD BE TEMPERED FOR THE TIME BEING.

NEW YORK
RETURNING PLAYERS (10)
-          AMARE STOUDEMIRE (PF, 23.41 PLAYER OPT)
-          CARMELO ANTHONY (F, 23.33 PLAYER OPT)
-          TYSON CHANDLER (C, 14.60)
-          ANDREA BARGNANI (F/C, 11.50 PLAYER OPT)
-          J.R. SMITH (G/F, 5.98, 6.40 PLAYER OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          RAYMOND FELTON (PG, 3.79, 3.95 PLAYER OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          IMAN SHUMPERT (SG, 2.62)
-          METTA WORLD PEACE (SF, 1.66 PLAYER OPT)
-          PABLO PRIGIONI (PG, 1.66)
-          TIM HARDAWAY JR (SG, 1.24, TEAM OPTS IN NEXT 2 YRS)
NON-GUARANTEED CONTRACTS (0)
-          NONE
FREE AGENTS (5)
-          TOURE MURRY (G, 1.02 QO)
-          COLE ALDRICH (C)
-          KENYON MARTIN (PF)
-          JEREMY TYLER (C)
-          BENO UDRIH (PG)
PROJECTED 2014 DRAFT PICKS (0)
-          NONE
FUTURE DRAFT PICK ASSETS (1)
-          2014 2ND RD  PICK FROM SACRAMENTO (TOP 55)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK DEBITS (6)
-          2014 1ST RD PICK TO DENVER
-          2014 2ND RD PICK TO HOUSTON
-          2015 2ND RD PICK TO HOUSTON
-          2016 1ST RD PICK TO DENVER (RIGHT TO SWAP)
-          2016 1ST RD PICK TO TORONTO (LESSER OF NY/DEN PICKS)
-          2016 2ND RD PICK TO SACRAMENTO (TOP 37 PROTECTED)
-          2017 2ND RD PICK TO TORONTO
POSSIBLE DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS JOINING TEAM (1)
-          AHMAD NIVINS (F, 2009-56) - PAU-ORTHEZ (FRANCE), FA IN 2014
OTHER DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS (0)
-          NONE
OUTLOOK
-          MY BELOVED KNICKS CONTINUE TO BREAK MY HEART EACH TIME I LOOK AT THEIR LIST OF SALARIES AND FUTURE PICKS BEING SENT OUT.  NEW YORK’S FUTURE SEEMINGLY HINGES ON CARMELO ANTHONY’S DECISION OF WHETHER OR NOT TO RE-SIGN DURING THE OFFSEASON AND, IF SO, FOR HOW MUCH.  THE KNICKS ARE ALSO SADDLED WITH THE MASSIVE EXPIRING CONTRACTS OF AMARE STOUDEMIRE, TYSON CHANDLER & ANDREA BARGNANI.  THEY’LL LIKELY PRESERVE CAP SPACE FOR THE 2015 OFFSEASON BUT THAT MEANS THEY’LL NEED TO BE CREATIVE TO HELP MELO OUT.  IT SEEMS IMPERATIVE THEY MAKE THIS YEAR’S PLAYOFFS BECAUSE IT WOULD BE AWFUL TO SEE DENVER GET A HIGH LOTTERY PICK AT THE KNICKS’ EXPENSE.  

        THEY’LL ALSO BE WITHOUT THEIR SECOND ROUND PICK THIS YEAR AND THE FOLLOWING 3 YEARS WHILE ALSO SENDING THEIR 2016 1ST TO DENVER OR TORONTO.  TIM HARDAWAY JR. & IMAN SHUMPERT ARE THE LONE YOUNGSTERS WITH POTENTIAL WHO UNFORTUNATELY PLAY THE SAME POSITION AND ARE NEW YORK’S ONLY VALUABLE TRADE CHIPS.  THEY’LL NEED J.R. SMITH TO AT LEAST FIND SOME MIDDLE GROUND BETWEEN LAST YEAR’S SIXTH MAN AWARD SEASON & THIS YEAR’S ABOMINATION.  UNLOADING RAYMOND FELTON AND HIS CONTRACT IN ANY DEAL WOULD BE IDEAL AS WELL.  NEXT SEASON COULD BE MORE OF THE SAME IF NEW YORK CAN’T RID THEMSELVES OF SOME OF THE DEAD WEIGHT BUT THERE’S STILL REASON FOR OPTIMISM.  OH WAIT, NO THERE’S NOT.

OKLAHOMA CITY
RETURNING PLAYERS (10)
-          KEVIN DURANT (G/F, 19.00, 2 YRS-39M)
-          RUSSELL WESTBROOK (PG, 15.72, 3 YRS-50M)
-          SERGE IBAKA (PF, 12.35, 3 YRS-37M)
-          KENDRICK PERKINS (C, 9.65)
-          NICK COLLISON (F/C, 2.24)
-          REGGIE JACKSON (PG, 2.20)
-          JEREMY LAMB (SG, 2.20, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          STEVEN ADAMS (C, 2.18, TEAM OPTS IN NEXT 2 YRS)
-          ANDRE ROBERSON (G/F, 1.16, TEAM OPTS IN NEXT 2 YRS)
-          PERRY JONES III (PF, 1.13, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
NON-GUARANTEED CONTRACTS (1)
-          HASHEEM THABEET (C, 1.25)
FREE AGENTS (2)
-          DEREK FISHER (PG)
-          THABO SEFOLOSHA (G/F)
PROJECTED 2014 DRAFT PICKS (4)
-          1ST RD – 23RD OVERALL (FROM DALLAS)
-          1ST RD – 303TH  OVERALL (OWN)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK ASSETS (2)
-          2014 2ND RD PICK FROM PHILADELPHIA (ONLY IF B/W 51-55)
-          2017 2ND RD PICK FROM MEMPHIS (TOP 55)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK DEBITS (1)
-          2014 2ND RD PICK TO TORONTO
POSSIBLE DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS JOINING TEAM (1)
-          GRANT JERRETT (PF, 2013-40) - TULSA 66ERS (D-LEAGUE) - ELIGIBLE FOR CALL-UP
OTHER DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS (7)
-          ALEX ABRINES (G/F, 2013-32) - BARCELONA (SPAIN), FA IN 2016
-          YOTAM HALPERIN (G, 2006-53) - HAPOEL JERUSALEM (ISRAEL), FA IN 2016
-          PACCELIS MORLENDE (G, 2003-50) - ASVEL VILLEURBANNE (FRANCE), FA IN 2014
-          TIBOR PLEISS (C, 2010-31) - LABORAL KUTXA (SPAIN), FA IN 2017
-          GIORGOS PRINTEZIS (F, 2007-58) - OLYMPIACOS (GREECE), FA IN 2015
-          SZYMON SZEWCZYK (F/C, 2003-35) - VIRTUS ROMA (ITALY), FA IN 2014
-          LATAVIOUS WILLIAMS (F, 2010-48) - CURRENTLY A FREE AGENT
OUTLOOK
-          KEVIN DURANT, RUSSELL WESTBROOK & SERGE IBAKA ARE LOCKED UP LONG-TERM FOR THE BEST TEAM IN THE NBA THIS SEASON.  KENDRICK PERKINS WILL FINALLY BE IN THE LAST YEAR OF HIS STILL AMNESTY ELIGIBLE CONTRACT.  REGGIE JACKSON BROKE OUT THIS SEASON AND SIGNIFICANTLY RAISED HIS TRADE VALUE.  STEVEN ADAMS, JEREMY LAMB & PERRY JONES III ARE ALL YOUNGSTERS SHOWING GREAT POTENTIAL TO SUPPLEMENT THE TEAM’S THREE STARS.  OKC WILL ALSO HAVE 2 LATE FIRST ROUND PICKS THIS YEAR TO CONTINUE ADDING ROOKIE SCALE CONTRACTS TO THEIR ROSTER.  THEY HAVE A POTENTIAL FUTURE STUD IN ALEX ABRINES, THE 32ND PICK IN 2013, WHO IS STILL A YEAR OR TWO AWAY.  

        THE THUNDER ARE SIMILAR TO SAN ANTONIO IN THE FACT THAT THEY COLLECT ASSETS AND DEVELOP PLAYERS SO WELL.  THEY HAVE BUILT A FOUNDATION WHICH SHOULD ALLOW THEM TO CONTEND FOR THE NEXT 7-8 YEARS AS LONG AS KEVIN DURANT REMAINS HEALTHY.  KD IS THE FRONTRUNNER FOR MVP THIS SEASON AND LEBRON’S MAIN COMPETITION EACH YEAR GOING FORWARD.  THEY SHOULD BE THE TEAM TO BEAT IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FOR AWHILE AND ARE A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.

ORLANDO
RETURNING PLAYERS (8)
-          ARRON AFFLALO (SG, 7.75)
-          GLEN DAVIS (F/C, 6.60)
-          VICTOR OLADIPO (G, 4.98, TEAM OPTS IN NEXT 2 YRS)
-          NIKOLA VUCEVIC (C, 2.75)
-          TOBIAS HARRIS (F, 2.38)
-          MAURICE HARKLESS (SF, 1.89, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          ANDREW NICHOLSON (F/C, 1.55, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          DORON LAMB (SG, 0.92)
NON-GUARANTEED CONTRACTS (4)
-          JAMEER NELSON (PG, 8.00)
-          JASON MAXIELL (F/C, 2.50)
-          RONNIE PRICE (SG, 1.32)
-          KYLE O'QUINN (F/C, 0.92)
FREE AGENTS (1)
-          E'TWAUN MOORE (PG, 1.15 QO)
PROJECTED 2014 DRAFT PICKS (2)
-          1ST RD – 3RD OVERALL (OWN)
-          1ST RD – 12TH  OVERALL (FROM DENVER, LESSER OF NY/DEN PICKS)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK ASSETS (3)
-          2015 2ND RD PICK FROM L.A. LAKERS (TOP 40)
-          2016 1ST RD PICK FROM PHILADELPHIA (TOP 14 PROT, TOP 11 IN 2017, TOP 8 IN 2018)
-          2017 1ST RD PICK FROM L.A. LAKERS (TOP 5 IN 2017 & 2018, UNPROTECTED IN 2019)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK DEBITS (1)
-          2014 2ND RD TO CLEVELAND
POSSIBLE DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS JOINING TEAM (0)
-          NONE
OTHER DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS (4)
-          RASHARD GRIFFITH (C, 1995-38) - RETIRED
-          MILOVAN RAKOVIC (PF, 2007-60) - TRIUMPH (RUSSIA), FA IN 2014
-          REMON VAN DE HARE (C, 2003-52) - RETIRED
-          FRAN VAZQUEZ (PF, 2005-11) - UNICAJA (SPAIN), FA IN 2014
OUTLOOK
-          ORLANDO HAS COLLECTED SOME VERY YOUNG & INTRIGUING TALENT THANKS TO DWIGHT HOWARD FORCING HIS WAY OUT.  THE LIKES OF NIKOLA VUCEVIC & TOBIAS HARRIS HAVE PROVIDED SOLID PLAY WHILE THE TEAM HIT A HOME RUN BY DRAFTING VICTOR OLADIPO IN THE 2013 DRAFT.  ANDREW NICHOLSON & KYLE O’QUINN LOOK TO BE NICE ROLE-PLAYING BIGS AS WELL.  ARRON AFFLALO HAS TRANSFORMED INTO AN ALL-STAR CALIBER TALENT THAT THE TEAM SEEMS CONTENT TO MAKE PART OF ITS CORE MOVING FORWARD.  ADD IN A TOP 3 PICK AND ANOTHER LIKELY IN THE LATE LOTTERY AND THE MAGIC’S REBUILD LOOKS TO BE FAST FORWARDING RATHER QUICKLY.  

        ORLANDO WILL ALSO HAS EXTRA FIRST ROUND PICKS IN BOTH THE 2016 & 2017 DRAFTS TO ASSIST IN FUTURE TRADES OR TEAM BUILDING.  ONE DOWNSIDE IS THAT VUCEVIC & HARRIS WILL BOTH BE DUE FOR CONTRACT EXTENSIONS BEFORE THE SEASON AND IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF ORLANDO CAN USE ANY OF ITS CAP SPACE TO ATTRACT MARQUEE TALENT IN THE OFFSEASON.  STILL, GM ROB HENIGAN HAS SET THE FRANCHISE UP NICELY TO HAVE A TEAM FULL OF YOUNG, PROMISING TALENT THAT COULD BE PLAYOFF BOUND PRETTY SOON & LIKLEY TO STAY THERE FOR A WHILE.

PHILADELPHIA
RETURNING PLAYERS (6)
-          THADDUES YOUNG (F, 9.41, 9.97 PLAYER OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          JASON RICHARDSON (G/F, 6.60 PLAYER OPT)
-          NERLENS NOEL (C, 3.32, TEAM OPTS IN NEXT 2 YRS)
-          MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS (PG, 2.30, TEAM OPTS IN NEXT 2 YRS)
-          TONY WROTEN (G, 1.21, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          ARNETT MOULTRIE (F/C, 1.14, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
NON-GUARANTEED CONTRACTS (5)
-          JAMES ANDERSON (G/F, 0.98)
-          LORENZO BROWN (SG, 0.82)
-          BRANDON DAVIES (PF, 0.82)
-          HOLLIS THOMPSON (SF, 0.82)
-          ELLIOTT WILLIAMS (SG, 0.98
FREE AGENTS (2)
-          EVAN TURNER (G/F, 8.72 QO)
-          SPENCER HAWES (C)
PROJECTED 2014 DRAFT PICKS (5)
-          1ST RD – 2ND  OVERALL (OWN)
-          1ST RD – 11TH OVERALL (FROM NEW ORLEANS)
-          2ND RD – 32ND  OVERALL (OWN)
-          2ND RD – 46TH OVERALL (FROM BROOKLYN)
-          2ND RD – 56TH OVERALL (FROM HOUSTON)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK ASSETS (0)
-          NONE
FUTURE DRAFT PICK DEBITS (3)
-          2014 1ST RD PICK TO BOSTON (TOP 14 PROT IN 2014 & 2015, IF NOT 2015 & 2016 2ND RD PICKS)
-          2014 2ND RD PICK TO HOUSTON (TOP 55)
-          2014 2ND RD PICK TO OKLAHOMA CITY (ONLY IF B/W 51-55)
-          2016 1ST RD PICK TO ORLANDO (TOP 14 PROT, TOP 11 IN 2017, TOP 8 IN 2018)
POSSIBLE DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS JOINING TEAM (1)
-          ARSALAN KAZEMI (F, 2013-54) – PETROCHIMI (IRAN), FA IN 2014
OTHER DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS (1)
-          FURKAN ALDEMIR (PF, 2012-53) – GALATASARAY (TURKEY), FA IN 2015
OUTLOOK
-          WHILE NEW GM SAM HINKIE CONTINUES TO LOOK FOR FIRST ROUND PICKS IN EXCHANGE FOR IMPENDING FREE AGENTS EVAN TURNER & SPENCER HAWES, HE HAS ALREADY PUT THE TEAM IN A POSITION TO BE VERY EXCITING VERY QUICKLY.  SHIPPING OFF JRUE HOLIDAY WILL GIVE PHILLY TWO LOTTERY PICKS IN THIS YEAR’S DRAFT.  MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS IS A ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE WHO HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGEST SUPRISES OF THE YEAR.  NERLENS NOEL HAS YET TO PLAY BUT MOST FEEL HE CAN BE A DEFENSIVE ANCHOR, WITH A DEVELOPING OFFENSIVE SKILL SET, FOR YEARS TO COME.  

        THE SIXERS CURRENTLY WOULD HAVE THE 2ND OVERALL PICK WHICH MEANS ADDING ONE OF JOEL EMBIID, ANDREW WIGGINS OR JABARI PARKER PLUS NEW ORLEANS PICK, CURRENTLY 11TH OVERALL, IN WHICH COULD GIVE THEM A FOUR-MAN WRECKING CREW OF POTENTIAL STARS.  IF THADDEUS YOUNG MAKES IT PAST THE DEADLINE HE COULD BE A 26 YEAR OLD VETERAN PRESENCE WHO IS PUTTING UP 17 & 6 THIS SEASON.  PHILLY ALSO HAS THREE 2ND ROUND PICKS TO WORK WITH IN THIS YEAR’S DRAFT AND THEIR 2ND ROUND PICKS FROM THE LAST TWO YEARS STILL HAVE VALUE PLAYING OVERSEAS.  IT WILL TAKE SOME TIME TO ALL COME TOGETHER BUT THE FUTURE IS VERY BRIGHT IN THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE.

PHOENIX
RETURNING PLAYERS (8)
-          GORAN DRAGIC (PG, 7.50, 7.50 PLAYER OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          CHANNING FRYE (PF, 6.80 PLAYER OPT)
-          ALEX LEN (C, 3.65, TEAM OPTS IN NEXT 2 YRS)
-          GERALD GREEN (G/F, 3.50)
-          MARKIEFF MORRIS (PF, 2.99)
-          MARCUS MORRIS (PF, 2.94)
-          MILES PLUMLEE (C, 1.17, TEAM OPT IN NEXT YR)
-          ARCHIE GOODWIN (SG, 1.11, TEAM OPTS IN NEXT 2 YRS)
NON-GUARANTEED CONTRACTS (2)
-          DIONTE CHRISTMAS (SG, 0.82)
-          ISH SMITH (PG, 0.99)
FREE AGENTS (5)
-          ERIC BLEDSOE (PG, 3.73 QO)
-          SLAVA KRAVTSOV (C, 1.88 QO)
-          P.J. TUCKER (SF, 1.15 QO)
-          LEANDRO BARBOSA (G)
-          EMEKA OKAFOR (F/C)
PROJECTED 2014 DRAFT PICKS (4)
-          1ST RD – 17TH  OVERALL (FROM WASHINGTON)
-          1ST RD – 22ND OVERALL (OWN)
-          1ST RD – 29TH OVERALL (FROM INDIANA)
-          2ND RD – 52ND OVERALL (OWN)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK ASSETS (2)
-          2014 1ST RD PICK FROM MINNESOTA (TOP 13 PROT, TOP 12 IN 2015 & 2016)
-          2015 1ST RD PICK FROM L.A. LAKERS (TOP 5 PROT, TOP 3 IN 2016 & 2017, UNPROTECTED IN 2018)
FUTURE DRAFT PICK DEBITS (1)
-          2015 2ND RD PICK TO MILWAUKEE
POSSIBLE DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS JOINING TEAM (1)
-          ALEX ORIAKHI (PF, 2013-57) – SIOUX FALLS SKYFORCE (D-LEAGUE), ELIGIBLE FOR CALL-UP
OTHER DRAFT RIGHTS HELD PLAYERS (2)
-          DWAYNE COLLINS (F, 2010-60) – CURRENTLY FREE AGENT
-          MILOS VUJANIC (G, 2002-36) - RETIRED
OUTLOOK

-          PHOENIX WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ONE OF THE WORST TEAMS IN THE LEAGUE THIS YEAR BUT INSTEAD SIT FIRMLY WITHIN THE PLAYOFF RACE WITH EMERGING TALENT & A STOCKPILE OF DRAFT PICKS.  ERIC BLEDSOE SHOWED REAL STAR POTENTIAL BEFORE BEING INJURED TO THE TUNE OF 18-4-5 PER GAME.  GORAN DRAGIC BLEW UP TO THE TUNE OF 20-4-6 AND THAT BACKCOURT TANDEM WAS ELECTRIC.  BLEDSOE WILL COMMAND A NEAR-MAX DEAL THIS OFFSEASON BUT PHOENIX HAS EVERY INTENTION OF MATCHING ANY OFFER THAT COMES HIS WAY.  WITH THE BACKCOURT SET FOR THE NEAR FUTURE, HEAD COACH JEFF HORNACEK HAS ALSO MANAGED TO UNLOCK ALL OF GERALD GREEN’S POTENTIAL.  MILES PLUMLEE & THE MORRIS TWINS HAVE ALL BEEN SOLID TOO.  BOTH FIRST ROUND PICKS FROM 2013, ALEX LEN & ARCHIE GOODWIN, CAN BARELY CRACK THE ROTATION FOR A TEAM THAT WAS WRITTEN OFF BEFORE THE SEASON.  

        AND GUESS WHAT?  THE SUNS WILL HAVE 3 AND MAYBE EVEN 4 FIRST ROUND PICKS IN THE DRAFT, NETTING INDIANA, WASHINGTON & MINNESOTA’S PICKS.  THEY’LL ALSO HAVE THE LAKERS PICK, TOP 5 PROTECTED, IN 2015.  WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN A REBUILD NOW LOOKS LIKE THE SUNS COULD BE A FEW KEY PIECES AWAY FROM BEING A SERIOUS CONTENDER.  THE BIG QUESTION IS WHAT PHOENIX CAN PARLAY THOSE DRAFT PICKS INTO THIS OFFSEASON.  THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE 2 OF THOSE PICKS COULD BECOME THE STAR PLAYER THEY CURRENTLY LACK AND IT WILL CERTAINLY BE INTERESTING TO SEE HOW IT PLAYS OUT.

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