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Suns Must Make Trade For Sixers Nerlens Noel To Help Bad Defense

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The Phoenix Suns admittedly are in “rebuild mode” and it’s obvious with their youthful roster, but rebuild shouldn’t be confused nor an excuse with deficiency. The Phoenix Suns have a major deficiency on defense.

They simply struggle to stop teams from piling up points on them and it’s becoming a major issue.

At the bottom of their division and one of the worst teams in the Western Conference, and the NBA, the Suns rebuild is moving at a snail’s pace. While fans can get excited with the offensive promise of youngsters such as Devin Booker and the performances of Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix needs to start building a defensive anchor to go along with their young offensive building blocks.

True, Phoenix has big men such as Alex Len and veteran Tyson Chandler to man the paint and rookie Marquese Chriss’ shot blocking ability is promising, but the Suns are allowing teams to score on them in alarming bunches and it’s costing them games.

It cost them a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday when Minnesota rallied from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit, courtesy of a 27-6 run, to rally past Phoenix 98-85. Minnesota outscored Phoenix 31-10 in the 4th.

It cost them the game against Denver when the Nuggets’ 16-point outburst in the first quarter ballooned to a 20-point lead. In that game Denver outscored Phoenix 34-15 in the second quarter, took a 53-33 at the half and despite cutting the Denver’s lead to 3 in the 4th quarter, Phoenix lost 120-114.

Phoenix needs to invest in a youthful rim-protector, a true defender, who they can pair with Len, Chriss and others for the future.

The Suns need to make a trade for Philadelphia 76er’s Nerlens Noel.

Noel is a potential defensive anchor who won’t command the ball on the offense, won’t take shots away from Bledsoe, Booker and others and is the young player that a veteran such as Tyson Chandler can mentor and mold into a piece of the franchise’s foundation.

Noel, 22, is a 6-11 228 pound rim protector who can also score in the paint if needed. He is also readily available on the trade block and has already garnered interest from teams such as the Toronto Raptors.

So who could Phoenix offer to Philly? Brandon Knight? Draft Picks?

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein recently reported that interested rivals believe Knight “will be made available” although Phoenix has maintained otherwise:

“We’re certainly not looking to move Brandon, we haven’t been close to trading Brandon,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said earlier this month, per Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports.

Phoenix may not want to trade an attractive piece such as Knight for a player who will be a free agent at the end of the season, but the Suns should explore all opportunities.

While Knight might be pursued more by a contending team, he also meets a need for Philadelphia who is motivated to move Noel:

Noel would be a nice addition to the Suns, one who can instantly boost their defensive presence and perhaps allow the Suns to use a “twin towers” approach to their starting lineups by starting any combination of Chandler/Len/Noel.

It would also allow Phoenix to make Chandler and/or Len available in trade, fetching more potential draft picks in return.

Will Phoenix roll the dice on a Noel trade? Maybe, but one thing is sure, they need to address their major issues on defense before it starts stunting the development of their key players.

 

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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Indiana Pacers

Clippers’ Paul George Booed by Pacers Fans

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Paul George

Los Angeles Clipper superstar Paul George wasn’t fazed by the relentless boos showered down on him during Monday’s game in Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers, the team he spent several seasons with before requesting a trade in 2017, in fact, George teased a tell-all in which he will tell his side of the story that led to his trade request, hinting that he is set to take aim at many within the organization.

As far as the boos, George says the fans are booing the wrong people. George, who dropped 36 points in the victory, was booed every time he touched the ball, and was subjected to chants of “Paul George s—!” during the game, was playing back in Indiana for the third time since the trade.

“I’m not surprised,” George said, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “That’s Indiana for you. It’s a Hoosier thing.”

“You know, someday I’ll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana,” George said. “And I promise you, I’m not the one to boo.”

“… I’m not gonna share the teaser,” George continued. “… I like being the villain. I’m here two nights out of the year. The people they should boo is here a lot longer than I am.”

George was pressed by the media to divulge details, specifically about general manager Kevin Pritchard who said George’s trade request was like a punch to the gut.

“You’re getting close to trying to get this story out, aren’t you?” George asked. “… I’m not going to bad-mouth KP. That’s just Kevin’s side of the story.”

George has excelled in every game back in Indiana since the trade, and Monday’s game marked the third straight time he scored 31 points or more against his former team. However, judging from George’s post-game comments, he may be saving his best performance yet against the Pacers organization.

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Houston Rockets

Carmelo Anthony Warned Chris Paul About Houston Rockets

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Carmelo Anthony

Portland Trail Blazers’ forward Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul have both spent time with the Houston Rockets, and both had unceremonious exits from the organization.

But upon his exit from the Rockets after only 10 games, Anthony says that his experience prompted him to warn his close friend Paul to “be careful” with the Rockets organization, who ended up trading Paul a few days after general manager Daryl Morrey told Paul they weren’t going to trade him.

Anthony wasn’t shocked at how things played out for Paul in Houston.

“No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Anthony said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “When my situation happened in Houston, he was the first person that I called to come to my room. And we had to clear some things up, and I wanted to know if he had anything to do with it. And that was the first thing that I wanted to know, and he told me, ‘No.’ And from that point on, I told him, looked him in his eyes and said, ‘Look, just be careful.’ You know what I mean? Just be careful. And damn sure if [the same situation] didn’t happen to him.”

Paul was dealt to the Thunder over the summer in package that brought point guard Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.

“I was shocked,” Paul said, according to The Undefeated. “Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade, and he said he wasn’t going to trade me [to Oklahoma City]. That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.”

“I haven’t talked to nobody in their organization, no,” Anthony said. “I’m not angry. I’m not bitter at it. It happens. I wish I had an explanation when it happened, but I’m past it.”

Anthony also discussed a potential vibe around the league that the Rockets may not forthcoming, with the situations involving he and Paul as examples as to why some may be weary with the Rockets organization.

“Well, nobody has an answer, right?” Anthony said. “My situation and Chris’ situation is totally different, but nobody has an answer. Like, nobody really has an answer for my situation. Still. The only people that know is me. Me and them. That’s it. And I don’t even think they know. It’s just something that was already established before I even got there. It was on a trial-run basis. You look back at it, and 10 games is an evaluation. So that’s the business, right? You see New York have a press conference eight games in, 10 games. So that’s the new analytics. That’s the new game. Everything’s based off of your first 10 games. And once you know that, it gives you clarity on a lot of things.”

Anthony says that he did speak to Paul following Paul’s trade to the Thunder.

“No, he didn’t say I was right,” Anthony said. “He was in Vegas when all of that happened, so we was talking. And when I talked to him, he was like, ‘Man, look, I understand it. It’s messed up, but I understand it.’ And for me, I’m like, ‘Yo, it took me months to kind of, like, get past that.’ My pride was hit. My ego was hit. I had to really get past that. To a point where it was like, ‘Man, Chris, is you good?’ I wanted to make sure he was good. So he told me he was good, and that was that.”

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Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers’ LeBron James Praises Luke Walton

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Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar forward LeBron James is praising former Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton, who is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, when the Kings came in to play the Lakers on Friday.

James says that with all the devastating injuries and the non-stop distractions of the constant trade rumors, Walton “did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances”, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

Walton was the head coach during James’ first season with the Lakers in 2018-2019 and led the team to a 37-45 record, missing the playoffs.

“Throughout everything that was going on, we were two of the guys that just tried to remain positive and patient, even with the circumstances that we had,” James said during shootaround on Friday.

James reflected on the challenges of last season, pointing to key injuries as contributing factors to the disappointing season.

“I mean, we were right where we wanted to be on Dec. 25, went up into Golden State and played against a very good team and had a very good game,” James said. “And then the injury happened and I’m out 6½ weeks.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted that, including myself and including Luke. And we were just behind the eight ball. But throughout it all we just tried to remain positive, even throughout with the young guys, with the older guys and whatever the case may be. So I think he did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances.”

“Um, I agree with LeBron,” Walton said. “[There’s] a longer answer and I’ve spent time reflecting on last season, but for now, couple of hours before a game, it is more focused on tonight’s task and our game planning and rotations and things like that.”

Walton is now at the helm in Sacramento, but he talked about how special it is to return to Los Angeles, even on the opposing side.

“It’s always a special place for me to come into this building,” Walton said. “I have a lot of great memories in L.A. It’s a great opportunity playing here and coaching here.”

“LeBron, he’s one of the greatest players of all time if not the greatest,” Walton said. “So I’m sure last year getting hurt, not making the playoffs, I mean, he’s going right now. And this team kind of follows that lead. They’re playing incredibly well. Their defense and offense starts with him. He looks really good.”

 

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