Monday, July 12, 2010

Suns Acquire Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress in Separate Deals

The Phoenix Suns have traded Leandro Barbosa and Dwayne Jones to Toronto for Hedo Turkoglu. The Suns have also completed a sign-and-trade with Atlanta to obtain Josh Childress for a 2012 2nd round pick.

The Breakdown
The trade for Turkoglu is a good move for both teams. Turkoglu wasn't a good fit in Toronto and Barbosa was steadily declining in production in Phoenix while constantly suffering injuries. Still, I don't think Turkoglu is a great fit in Phoenix. He fits best in an offense where he'll get a good chunk of the ball handling responsibilities. In Phoenix, it's the Steve Nash show and he's going to have the ball in his hands the bulk of the time when he's on the floor. Turkoglu may have the ball more when Nash is on the bench. With another ball handler, Nash may also get more rest as he's getting up there in age. This is something to consider as we get a glimpse of the Suns rotation in the preseason and at the start of the regular season, as it could slightly hurt Nash's value.

Turkoglu was very disappointing last year, but I'm not sure his numbers are going to be much better in Phoenix. Although the Suns are a fast-paced team, Toronto was a very similar team last year. The Raptors were one of the highest scoring teams in the league and also one of the worst defensively. The Suns pace should only help moderately. What could help Turkoglu is the opportunity to play alongside Steve Nash. Nash is great at setting up his teammates and making everyone around him better. Additionally, he'll have to guard bigger guys most of the time which could create mismatches on both ends of the floor. His great ballhandling ability for his size could be a huge advantage if he's matched up against PFs, though he'll get destroyed on defense. If Turkoglu does indeed end up playing big minutes at PF for Phoenix, I will put basically any opposing PF on my squad in my starting line up against the Suns because I highly doubt Turkoglu will be able to do much defensively against most PFs.

Something else to consider if Turkoglu ends up starting at the PF is that he should have great rebounding numbers. The only real rebounding specialist they have is Robin Lopez, so there will be plenty of rebounds available that Turkoglu can grab. I would expect him to get close to 7 rebounds per game, up from 4.5 in Toronto.

Speaking of Lopez, I think this trade is a big boost to his value. He will be the only legitimate inside presence the Suns have. He'll get more touches on the block and his rebounding numbers are sure to improve with no other real rebounding threat on the squad, especially if they lose Amundson. Lopez is a sleeper you may want to take a chance on with the last pick in your draft or somewhere in the later stages of a deep league draft. The only concern with him is his health, but due to the rarity of centers that can be effective rebounders and shot blockers, I feel he's worth a look.

In addition to Turkoglu, the Suns have picked up Josh Childress to solidify their bench. Some people may have forgotten about this guy's game since he's been in Greece the last 2 years, but he can play. He came off the bench for the Hawks in a 6th man role and averaged 13 ppg one year. He should be a great fit in Phoenix. Not only can he score, but he shoots for a high FG%. He's shot over 50% from the field in 3 of his 4 years in the NBA. Considering he has 3 point range, that is an outstanding shooting percentage. Additionally, he's an excellent rebounder. I can see him pulling down 5-6 boards off the bench. Childress is an excellent fantasy player and look for him to be added in the next update of the Top 150.

Finally, Leandro Barbosa lands on a Raptors team that is in full rebuilding mode. The Raptors are very deep at SG with DeMar DeRozan starting and Sonny Weems and Marco Bellinelli coming off the bench. Barbosa is an upgrade over Weems and Bellinelli, but I'm not sure he's going to get the same minutes off the bench he did in Phoenix. Additionally, Toronto could opt to let their youngsters get the bulk of the playing time to give them experience. Add in the possibility of another Barbosa injury and you have a player you should stay away from on draft day.

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