PHOENIX – It took the Phoenix Suns all of 27 games this season to realize the current make-up of players wasn’t going to work, so the team turned its roster upside down shipping out leading scorer Jason Richardson, Earl Clark and offseason addition Hedo Turkoglu.
The Suns brought back Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus from Orlando in the move.
“Today was like the first day of school,” said forward Grant Hill after the team had about an hour walk-thru for the players to meet and get acclimated with each other.
The team will almost have to go through a mini-training camp for the new additions to get comfortable with the Suns style and offensive system.
“I’m still going to make some mistakes because I’m new to the system. It’s not like you’re used to drive a Chevy and then they give you a Ferrari. You’ve got to get used to the speed,” said Mickael Pietrus.
However, Hill believes it won’t take much time for his new teammates to get in a groove.
“The guys and what they bring to the table, they’ll be able to contribute and be a big part of things right away,” said Hill.
For Marcin Gortat, having a two-time MVP in Steve Nash will help facilitate the transition.
“I’m definitely waiting for Steve Nash to play the pick and roll whenever he wants to, just I’ve got to make sure I’ve got my eyes open,” said Gortat.
The 6-foot-11 Polish center is anxious to show what he can do in a larger role after having backed up Dwight Howard throughout his career.
“I’ve been in the shadow of one really big, big boy in the last four years. Finally stepping out from that shadow is a huge monster of an opportunity and I’m looking forward to it,” said Gortat.
The team sent out three players, but got three quality players in return meaning it will remain a chore for coach Alvin Gentry to find consistent minutes for all the guys.
It’s a challenge he welcomes.
“If you’ve got enough good players that you’re struggling with minutes, we’re in pretty good shape,” said Gentry.
The team will go through a hard practice on Wednesday, its first with the new group, before having to face the streaking Miami Heat on Thursday.
“Miami’s got a lot of offensive talent, so we’ve got to play great team defense, try to keep them out of transition and off the free throw line and put pressure on them with our offense,” said guard Steve Nash.
Coach Gentry sees the Miami game as a good test for his new team.
“It’s a great challenge. Those are the teams that you can use as somewhat of a measuring stick,” said Gentry.
The Phoenix Suns tip-off against the Miami Heat at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Sports 620 KTAR’s Craig Grialou contributed to this report.