Suns Fantasy Scouting Report
Each week, a selection of highly regarded former NBA coaches, assistant coaches and scouts will provide Phoenix fans with their insights, official scouting reports and “inside tips” to help contestants play in our weekly Suns Fantasy Challenge, presented by Casino Arizona.
The developer of our new-and-improved fantasy game, Hotbox Sports, has assembled a trio of coaching minds to assist you in selecting your lineup for this week’s games, including former NBA Head Coach Don Casey, NBA veteran assistant coach Jim Eyen, and a highly regarded assistant and scout in Tim Cook.
Before we dive into the scouting report, though, we want to congratulate our latest winner, “LW Cheffy,” who has earned a 2013-14 Suns Yearbook. We also need to give a shout-out to recent HotBox Cup winner from the Washington Wizards’ fantasy game, “Team Random SL” of Tampa, Florida, who won $200 for having the highest score in any of the NBA games, and is in the running for a grand prize of $7,000, which will be given to the highest total for all NBA Hotbox Sports games this season.
It’s not too late for you to sign up to play and win! Register now and set your Suns lineup at Suns.com/fantasy today!
Now, on to this week’s match-ups.
- Dec. 10 @ LA Lakers
- Dec. 13 vs. Sacramento Kings
- Dec. 15 vs. Golden State Warriors
|DON CASEY’S “CASE IN POINT” REPORT|
Morris' production comes in waves. He tends to string a few nice games together and will then cool off for a few games. Markeiff has proven he can put up solid numbers on any given night. Ultimately, he is a solid addition, as long as you have the patience to ride out his cold spells. Morris puts up 12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, so he’s building a very nice foundation to his NBA game, and like so many NBA players, he will profit statistically from more and more minutes as they come to him. I like Morris at home against the Golden State Warriors this week, as I think he will absorb the athleticism of David Lee and rise to the occasion that the night.
Tucker has scored at least 12 points in three of four recent games. He is taking and making 3-pointers at a high rate of 54.5 percent for the first time in his career, and could be a sneaky short-term fantasy pick up. Look for Tucker, who averages 9.0 ppg and 4.8 rpg, which is very steady for an off the bench player, to be utilized in the lineup as Coach Hornacek tinkers with his rotation. I like PJ to exploit the non-depth of the Lakers on Tuesday as he continues his good play and becomes a valuable option for Phoenix.
|JIM EYEN’S “EYE ON” REPORT|
I like Frye as a starter at home against the Kings. In addition to the home-court advantage, Channing has performed very well against Sacramento this season. Two weeks ago, Frye had 17 points and nine rebounds in a close loss at Sacramento, playing without the Suns’ injured point guard in Eric Bledsoe. Frye was 7-of-13 from the field and 3-6 from the 3pt. This time with a healthy Bledsoe and (Goran) Dragic running the pick-and-rolls, there will be even greater pressure on the Kings big men to help and recover back to guard the perimeter. The Kings are giving up close to 40% in 3-point accuracy to their opponents, so odds are, the opportunities from the 3-point line will continue to be there. When the Suns and Kings meet, it will be the fifth game in eight days for the Kings while the Suns will have had two days off prior to the game. The scheduling favors the Suns and Frye’s offense because of his ability to spread the floor.
I like Green against the Sacramento Kings, too. The two teams have played twice already this season and Green has flourished vs. the Kings. He scored 23 points in each game, on 14-for-26 from the field with 10-of-16 from the 3-point line. He added four assists, five rebounds, two blocks, and a steal, proving he can “pepper” a stat sheet. On the season, Green is shooting 38% from 3-point land and that combines with the fact Sacramento is giving up 39% in that category, proving the opportunities from the 3-point arc will be there. Granted, with Bledsoe out of both games earlier this season with an injury, Green’s playing time increased to 35 and 36 minutes per game, respectively. However, even with Bledsoe back, I believe Green will still earn enough minutes on the floor to approach the numbers he put up against the Kings. The Suns will catch Sacramento on their fifth game in eight days and, combined with the Kings’ difficulty in matching-up with his versatility, the advantage goes to Green.
I like Eric Bledsoe against Golden State as the Suns are playing at home and Bledsoe is back in the starting lineup after playing off the bench in his first two game back from a shin injury. Although, his first start at Memphis was an undistinguished fantasy performance (nine pts on 4-for-13 shooting/five assists/three rebounds), he'll have enough games back in the starting lineup before the Warriors game and can get back into full rhythm. In addition, the Warriors are coming off a tough stretch playing six games in nine days, including a three-game road trip to the east. Guard Stephen Curry is logging over 40 minutes per game for Golden State and I think his fatigue will factor favorably in Bledsoe's favor, as the Suns guard will use of his speed and quickness in the open court. For the Warriors, there is not much experience in the way of depth as Toney Douglas, Curry's backup, has been slowed by injury. The Warriors will have their hands full trying to contain Bledsoe in Phoenix's up-tempo offense. In the half court, Bledsoe will use his quick handle to exploit the pick and roll, and Golden State's bigs will have a hard time keeping him out of the lane or pulling up behind the screen for good looks.
I like Dragic at home against Sacramento in this match up. Dragic has been improving every year since he’s been in the league and he took good advantage of having to play without Bledsoe for a good stretch earlier this year when more was expected from him at the offensive end. During that time, Dragic delivered good fantasy numbers and has recently averaged 20 points over 10 games. He is also averaging about 20 points a game against the Kings while shooting 43% from the 3-point line. Dragic will be able to use his creative handle to get open looks with his patented step back jumper against bigger defenders and he'll use his size and strength against the smaller guards when he spends some time handling the point. Dragic can use his experience against the lesser experienced guards of the Kings. He is an unselfish player which is verified by his 7.1 assists per game, which leads the NBA's shooting guards, so he'll find the open man when he gets into the lane. In conclusion, he is a decent rebounder for a guard and adding to his previous mentioned offensive tendencies, his stellar defense should produce some steals. He has a good opportunity to fill up the stat sheet.
|TIM “COOKIEMAN” COOK’S REPORT|
Morris has proven himself as a solid contributor in the front court, averaging 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 61.5 FG% from downtown in five recent contests. If he remains consistent, he is worth a look as a regular starter in the Suns Fantasy Challenge, as he offers significant production across the board. This week, Phoenix plays at the L.A. Lakers , then at home vs. Sacramento and vs. Golden State. I like Marcus Morris against the Sacramento Kings, as I think his activity inside and outside is a major match-up problem for anyone on the Kings besides Demarcus Cousins. Morris’ high energy and consistent all-around play will present problems on both ends of the floor against Sacramento.
Plumlee has flown well under the fantasy radar screens this year. He averages 10.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks this season. Plumlee is likely to continue his trend of production because Alex Len (ankle) currently poses no threat to come in and take the starting job. Plumlee has really improved his game and provides great energy and stability to the Phoenix post position play. I like him against Sacramento because I believe he will beat everyone down the court and get easy transition buckets against a somewhat questionable front line of the Kings.