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.