Nuggets vs. Suns preview: Hickson, teammates going for back to back wins in Phoenix

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

The Nuggets are back in action tonight in Phoenix, the first back-to-back of the season. Eric Bledsoe and the Morris brothers pose an interesting dilemma in this one.

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Game 6: 2013-14 NBA Season
Denver Nuggets (1977 - 1981)

@
Phoenix Suns (2014 - Pres)
1-3 (0-1 road)
Series 0-0
3-2 (2-0 home)
November 8th 2013
US Airways Center - Phoenix, AZ
7:00 PM MT
Altitude 2 TV / 950 AM
Starters
Ty Lawson PG Eric Bledsoe
Randy Foye SG Gerald Green
Jordan Hamilton SF P.J. Tucker
Kenneth Faried PF Channing Frye
JaVale McGee C Miles Plumlee
Notes
You're here! Blogs Bright Side of the Sun
Wilson Chandler (hamstring) is questionable, Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out Injuries Emeka Okafor (herniated disc) is out, Goran Dragic (sprained left ankle) is day-to-day
Nuggets new head coach Shaw is 1-3 Stat Suns new coach Jeff Hornacek is 3-2

It's preview time once again! For this go-round we chat with Dave King from Bright Side of the Sun to get his take on the early season Suns. You can read our Q&A with King right here on the Nuggets. And remember tonight's Nuggets game is on Altitude 2.

1.) What did you think of the Marcin Gortat trade and do you think the team will try to move Goran Dragic at some point this season? Anybody else you think could be traded? I was thinking Channing Frye ... side note: it has been AWESOME seeing Frye back on the floor after his heart issues last season.

Dave King: As far as trades, that's really up in the air right now. The only guys left are guys you probably want to keep around for team leadership. Dragic, Frye and Tucker really want to stay with the Suns to bring a good, positive vibe to the team and proper work ethic while they rebuild on the way to the top. No malcontents. If the Suns falter big time, it's smart to trade at least Frye to a contender for another first rounder, likely at the bottom of the round. Sure the Suns already have four next year, but they are all assets to use in future trades. Look at what Houston did with extra picks a couple years ago.



2.) What has surprised you about the Suns (3-2, but 3-1 at time of writing) start to the season? The 2-1 start had to be nice, at least?

DK: 3-1, as of this writing, with the only loss to the Thunder on the road. What surprised me for far? Well, everything and nothing. I knew from all off-season and the preseason that the Suns had the right game-plan, spirit and attitude to win games the correct way. They know who they are as a team. The only question was, and is, the talent level. Unless Eric Bledsoe becomes a superstar, the Suns really don't have anyone like it and its hard to win tough games without a couple of those. Likely, the Suns go 25-57 again, but this time with big time hope for the future and a true direction. You've got to understand, last year was absolutely terrible in the chemistry/direction/future department. This year is so refreshing already.



3.) What do you like about Eric Bledsoe? What are his strengths/weaknesses that you've seen thus far? The Suns have the upper hand with his restricted free agent status coming up, but do you see him wanting to stay in Phoenix?

DK: The Suns can pay Bledsoe whatever he's worth, and the market will set that worth. This time, the Suns have no one else on the team making big money, so it will be easy to match any offers. No pressure at all - just wait for the market. Kind of like New Orleans a year ago with Gordon. Even though Gordon wasn't committed to NOLA, they had no one else vying for their money. Let's hope Bledsoe wants to stay - and this season will dictate that.



4.) At Summer League, Seth Pollack dubbed Archie Goodwin ... SUPERSTAR! Do you see Goodwin and Alex Len getting more playing time as the season wears on?

DK: Certainly, they will play more as the year goes on. The game is just too fast for them right now. They weren't drafted for readiness, but rather for the future. Goodwin just-turned 19 and Len just-turned 20 years-old. Plus, Len is recovering from ankle issues. They will be fine, with gradual minutes increase throughout the year. They both practice the right way - really hard - and both are great students, according to coaches. They just need time. They both have great skills that just need to be developed and honed. Both can be high quality NBA players. It's just a matter of how hard they prepare.


5.) What are your thoughts on the coaching change in Phoenix? What does Jeff Hornacek bring to the table and what is his system?

DK: Hornacek brings four really necessary traits - patience, positivity, teaching skills and a clear scheme. Every single player knows exactly what is expected of them, what they need to work on, and how to do it. There's no uncertainty, which makes execution a lot easier on the court. He started 7-1 in Summer League, then 5-2 in preseason and now 3-1 in regular season. Again, I expect the Suns to finish at the bottom (my actual prediction was 24-58), but that's okay and Hornacek will still have these guys playing hard. Much like Orlando a year ago - they lost 60 but everyone felt good about it (even their veterans Davis and Nelson and Afflalo) because it was a growth year. That's what the Suns face as well, and then it will be a rapid rise back to the top in future years.

**

Big thanks to Dave for joining us!

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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