Hedo Turkoglu is no Amar’e Stoudemire.
We knew that. We knew that on a lot of levels. But as the Suns season unfolds the ways in which Phoenix misses Stoudemire seem to grow.
One is against other teams with long front lines. Turkoglu was matched up on Zach Randolph on Monday night — and Z-Bo went off for 23 and 20 and had Turkoglu in foul trouble from the start. Turkoglu is not a great defender, but asking him to physically match up with the bigger, stringer Randolph on the block is a recipe for a 20-20 night.
So in the future, Suns coach Alvin Gentry said he would not put himself in that position by putting Turkoglu on the bench against teams with big front lines, the coach told the Arizona Republic.
“I will not play Hedo against a guy like Zack Randolph,” Gentry said. “It’s unfair to him. I’d rather have him in the game five minutes later where he has no fouls than to take him out in the first five minutes.”
It’s a smart strategy, but it only works if Robin Lopez starts playing better to help provide that presence the Suns need inside.