Dragic Trade Foretells Nash's Future
The Acquisition Of Aaron Brooks Is No Blockbuster, But Confirms Phoenix Suns’ Plans
By Bob Goodwood
Special For Modern Times Magazine
March 1, 2011 — After making an early-season trade that got them Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat and Vince Carter, the Suns almost made it to the trade deadline with their team intact.
At the last minute, the Suns swapped backup point guard Goran Dragic and the Suns’ first round pick in 2012 for Aaron Brooks. Not a big splash, but one that smarts a bit because of that first round pick. Sure, it is protected, but was it necessary?
Dragic still has a chance to be a top-tier point guard in the league but Brooks will always be a score-first guy. Seems like more of an even trade was warranted.
It is not like that the Suns can’t use Brooks, or that his skill set doesn’t fit. He will be an asset. And, while Dragic may become a great player, this deal is more about the Suns tweaking for another potential run over the next 3 years than it is about Brooks or Dragic.
The trade was not just a sign that Suns brass didn't see Dragic as the point guard of the future, but the fact that they would not need a point guard of the future for at least three more years. Simply, it tells us that they are looking to resign Nash for at least a two-year-deal after his current contract expires. That will put him at 40-years-old when the contract gives out. And, also about the time Stephen Curry will hit free agency. Hmm.
Heck, Nash may even play four more years, a la John Stockton, who played until he was in his early 40s.
Nash has said nothing about retiring and he has not slowed in his ability to lead a team and to bring out the best in players. There is no reason to believe he wants to step away at the end of his current contract, which expires at the end of next year.
Brooks is an undersized, quick, scoring, point guard. Dragic was trying to be Nash. Dragic had to go in order for the Suns to better position themselves as a premier squad once Brooks becomes acclimated to the system. That is, to move Robin Lopez to the bench and insert Marcin Gortat into the starting rotation.
Coach Alvin Gentry has made it clear since Gortat emerged that he doesn’t want to move him to the starting lineup because they need his scoring punch for the second unit. Brooks was partially brought here to change that. With the Suns’ starting unit since the trade mainly consisting of Lopez, Carter, Nash, Grant Hill and Channing Frye, they need to have another scorer on the floor and Gortat is the best choice.
Warrick is too inconsistent to be depended on and for consistent scoring from the guard or small forward position, drives to the basket are just as important as jumpshots, mainly because if your shot isn't going in, you have the skills to take it to the hole.
Brooks did that last year with starter’s minutes and if he can do that for the Suns, they become a stronger team. Warrick’s minutes off the bench might soon go to Childress since bench scoring might not be at such a premium.
Sure, keeping Nash, adding Brooks and moving Gortat to the starting five does not make the Suns title contenders, but it does chart out the future. And, with the addition of another quality player, they just might have a chance next year.
Let’s just hope they don’t end up needing that first round pick.