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Suns plan to play Bledsoe, Dragic at same time in backcourt

Jul 30, 2013, 5:56 PM EDT

Eric Bledsoe, Jerryd Bayless AP

One of the shifting attitudes around the NBA is in regards to position — the size and skill of players today don’t fit neatly in the “point guard” or “power forward” molds of the past. How do you define the position of Dirk Nowitzki, or LeBron James, or Kevin Durant.

As teams work more into a “positionless” system what they want to see are guys that work well together.

Which is why in Phoenix they plan to see if just acquired Eric Bledsoe can play with Goran Dragic in the backcourt. New Suns GM Ryan McDonough said as much to Paul Flannery of SBN talking about what Bledsoe offers.

“I see him as a basketball player,” McDonough said during an extended sit-down interview at the end of the NBA Summer League. “I try not to differentiate (positions). That’s one of the things we had success with in Boston on a limited basis with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. I’m hoping to see some of the same stuff with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. If guys are both tough and aggressive and can pass and shoot well, that leads to a lot of good things.”

The Suns are going to run under Jeff Hornacek, and both Bledsoe and Dragic will do well in transition. Both work well off picks and so expect the Suns bigs to set a number of drag screens (a top pick-and-roll set early in the clock before the defense sets), plus designed pick-and-rolls in the offense.

It’s a bit of an experiment, but the Suns can afford to do that. While they will deny tanking they are clearly in the “woeful for Wiggins” lottery chase for next season (and they have multiple picks in the 2015 draft as well). Here is how McDonough put it.

“This year is all about establishing a culture,” McDonough said “Playing hard, playing unselfishly, sharing the ball and developing a system. I won’t measure our success this year in terms of wins and losses. Are we getting better and are our guys buying in and playing the right way? That being said, I don’t want to be in the lottery forever.”

It’s a good plan. The Suns are not going to be good, they hope to be young and improving. Maybe in that they can find some combinations that work. Maybe Bledsoe and Dragic.

  1. antistratfordian - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    People will never give Erik Spoelstra the credit he deserves, but he is a primary driving force behind the “positionless” movement.

    Of course, it helps to have LeBron James. But even though James can play 4-5 positions that doesn’t mean he was looking forward to it… he had to buy in and Spoelstra was able to convince him and the entire team.

    • kingwithringz - Jul 30, 2013 at 7:40 PM

      I agree 110% Sir (Derrick Rose voice)

  2. mickdamill - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Suns wont be the best but I bet we beat the Lakers a couple of times.

  3. adoombray - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Neither Dragic or Bledsoe are SG’s. Dragic has an alright midrange shot, but he’s more of a playmaker who can’t bury a 3 and won’t even try to hit the lane. Bledsoe is a high energy perimeter defender who gets 6 feet of cushion because nobody is afraid of his jumper. This is not going to end well. One or the other will be gone by this time next year, if not by the trade deadline. Besides, you got, Gerald Green, Beasley, Caron Butler, Shannon Brown, PJ Tucker, and Archie Goodwin for the 2 and 3. There simply aren’t enough minutes at the 2 to justify either Bledsoe or Dragic’ contracts.

  4. jadaruler - Jul 30, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Spo doesn’t get enough credit but Don Nelson played small ball for decades. The Nuggets and Moe did as well.

    • kingwithringz - Jul 30, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      Spo won back2back championships doing it tho. Those other guys didn’t.

      • fredagsedb - Jul 31, 2013 at 7:08 AM

        You honestly don’t thing Don Nelson would have won those titles if he was given the same situation as Spoelstra?

        Credit to Spoelstra. He is doing a good job. But let’s not act like he invented blurring the lines between positions. Spoelstra does it because he has LeBron who can play 5 positions on the court, and is one of the best players ever. He didn’t invent or perfect the idea

  5. spyder9669 - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    adoombray…judging by your comments about Dragic…its obvious you have never seen him play. Did you just see that he was white and come up with random gibberish?

  6. jadaruler - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Ringz that’s the dumbest logic ever. Spo is a top 5 coach in the league, but giving credit for something that’s be going on for decades in the league is silly.

    Hell the Suns have done it for a while now. KJ and Hornecek, KJ & Kidd, its nothing new. Cotton would be proud one of his guys in keep the Suns uptempo tradition alive.

  7. saint1997 - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    I think Goodwin and Bledsoe would work better together

  8. 00maltliquor - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    That’s what I was saying LAC should have done with Bledsoe. Start him with CP3. Oh well, what’s done is done. They f’d up.

  9. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    I’ve always believed in playing your five best guys regardless of size and position. Look how well that worked for the 2006-2007 Warriors, beating the 67-win Mavericks in the first round. It also makes me wonder if the 95-98 Bulls could have been more dominant by not playing deadweight guys like Bill Wennington and Luc Longley at center.

  10. hildezero - Jul 31, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Ladies and gentleman… Your new 2015/2016 NBA Champions… The Phoenix Suns!

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