BURNS AND GAMBO
Burns & Gambo draft its own Phoenix Suns Dream Team, Day 2
They’ve tackled the Arizona Diamondbacks, and now Burns & Gambo will draft their dream teams for the Phoenix Suns.
On Arizona Sports throughout the week, the show’s hosts Dave Burns and John Gambadoro will draft their best 10-men squads, along with producer Jordan Byrd and defending champion/anchor Sarah Kezele.
At the end of the week, judges will determine who has the best team. We will recap that, along with each day of progress assembling the team.
As a reminder, the Shaquille O’Neal rule is in effect, meaning you get a player based on their career in Phoenix and not as a whole. Players are eligible for the positions they are listed for by Basketball-Reference in their Suns careers.
Here are the results from the first four rounds on Tuesday in the photo gallery below, and the related link provided as well.
And now, the next four rounds from Wednesday’s show.
All statistics via Basketball-Reference
17. Stephon Marbury, PG (Team Byrd)
Marbury gets unfairly buried in Suns lore behind some awesome point guards. A Third Team All-NBA selection in Phoenix, Marbury’s three-year Suns run was a terrific 21.3 points (sixth all-time) and 8.1 assists (fourth all-time) per game.
I wish Byrd would have gotten him on a team where Marbury could find more minutes, as he won’t play much behind Jason Kidd and Dick Van Arsdale, but Byrd’s still easily got the best sixth man in the format.
18. Larry Nance, PF (Team Gambo)
Gambo’s perimeter heavy team gets the player who recorded the most blocks per game in a season (2.6) and career (1.9) of any Sun.
Nance, a one-time All-Star in Phoenix, also brings a balanced 17.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals.
I really like Connie Hawkins, Grant Hill and Nance flying around the court as athletic slashers that Steve Nash finds while Walter Davis gets buckets. My favorite team thus far that just needs a half-decent center to finish things off.
19. Dennis Johnson, G (Team Burns)
Burnsy made the wise turn of drafting for fit, and Johnson gives him some much-needed defense.
Johnson was First Team All-Defense for all three of his Suns seasons, as well as a two-time All-Star that averaged 17.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
20. Truck Robinson, PF (Team Kezele)
A dude named Truck sounds like what Sarah needs to add some beef next to Alvan Adams in the frontline.
Despite being 6-foot-7, Robinson posted 9.5 rebounds a night with Phoenix in the early 80s, including 2.6 offensive rebounds. A PPG number of 18.1 isn’t too shabby, either.
As Byrd mentioned on the air, this was one of the half-dozen names I had circled for value, but Sarah was all the wiser and grabbed him before anyone else could steal him later.
21. Eddie Johnson, SG/SF (Team Kezele)
The trend of microwave scorers off the bench continues in this draft.
Johnson averaged 18.4 points per game in Phoenix on a very good 54.5 true shooting percentage considering the era he would have played in. As Johnson often states on Suns telecasts, he’d be launching many more threes now than he did back in the day, 2.1 attempts per game on a 36.3% efficiency.
22. Joe Johnson, SG/SF (Team Burns)
JJ is one of the best ball-handling role players the Suns have had and is a versatile option for Burnsy off the bench.
Johnson can be a shooter (39.3% from deep on over three attempts a game), playmaker (3.5 assists) or scorer (14.0 points). Remember, this was on some loaded Suns teams led by Nash, so Johnson was never fully unleashed as the seven-time All-Star he became.
Burnsy’s got the best ball-handlers in the draft led by Paul Westphal, Jeff Hornacek and the Johnson duo off the bench, all to set up his top selection Amar’e Stoudemire.
23. Charlie Scott, PG (Team Gambo)
This draft has established how many great players the Suns have had and the one who averaged the most points per game over his career in the Valley was Scott at 24.8.
Scott made three All-Star teams in Phoenix and added 4.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 44.7% from the field.
While Nash rests, Gambo can lean on Scott to carry the offensive load.
24. Shaquille O’Neal, C (Team Byrd)
Despite his disappointing run with the Suns, O’Neal’s numbers were better than you might remember.
He posted 16.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game over two seasons. While he won’t dominate, the Big Cactus still provides an undeniable interior presence.
25. Leandro Barbosa, G (Team Byrd)
The Brazilian Blur shot 39.4% from three-point range on over three attempts a game, giving Byrd the shooting he needs to space the floor for Kidd and Van Arsdale off the bench.
The former Sixth Man of the Year award winner forms a strong bench backcourt with Marbury.
26. Deandre Ayton, C (Team Gambo)
As I mentioned yesterday, Gambo had this thing won if he picked players who would be maximized by Nash, and this was the most obvious one.
Ayton’s productivity is already there through two seasons at 17.1 points and 10.8 rebounds a night, and now he gets Nash putting him in the right spots and making sure he gets the ball.
On top of that, the most mobile center the Suns have ever had gets on this team that’s full of athletes that Nash will run up and down relentlessly.
27. Goran Dragic, PG (Team Burns)
Burnsy keeps loading up on ball-handlers.
Dragic is the last Suns player to make an All-NBA team, making the third team for the 2013-14 season. That year was a huge bump from his career numbers that saw him earn the NBA’s Most Improved Player award as well.
Dragic becomes the most efficient scorer on this team, with a 60.4 TS% in that breakout season.
28. Cliff Robinson, F (Team Kezele)
Sarah needed some more versatility and athleticism on the wing and picks it up here with Robinson.
Uncle Cliffy’s four years with the Suns amounted to averages of 16.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot it from deep too, hitting 37.1% of his 2.7 attempts per game.
Also, he gets bonus points for appearing on Survivor.
29. Raja Bell, SG (Team Kezele)
Sarah can deploy Shawn Marion and Bell for defense if she wants to lock some lengthy scorers down.
A two-time member of the league’s All-Defense team, Bell is our most prolific three-point shooter yet at 5.8 attempts per game with the Suns on an outstanding 42.2%.
This is definitely the most “modern” team in terms of perimeter scoring options that can shoot.
30. Paul Silas, PF (Team Burns)
The record for most rebounds per game in both a Suns season (12.5) and career (12.1) belong to Silas.
An All-Star in the 1971-92 season, Silas fits the mold of a tough first big off the bench for Team Burns.
31. Maurice Lucas, PF (Team Gambo)
Gambo said he wanted some toughness and it’s hard to do much better than the guy nicknamed “The Enforcer.”
Lucas made the All-Star team in the 1982-83 season for Phoenix, and in his three-year Suns career, he averaged 15.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
This continues the trend of this round in grabbing specialists for the bench.
32. Danny Manning, F (Team Byrd)
A great, sneaky pick for Byrd.
Manning’s stats aren’t going to jump off the page from his five Suns seasons, but do-it-all wings have been a rarity in Phoenix, and he was one of them.
By going small with Dan Majerle and his only other forwards being Charles Barkley, this was a necessary pick for Byrd that evens out his team nicely.
Full teams through 8 rounds
Staring 5 – Jason Kidd, Dick Van Arsdale, Dan Majerle, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal
Bench – Stephon Marbury, Leandro Barbosa, Danny Manning
Starting 5 – Steve Nash, Walter Davis, Connie Hawkins, Larry Nance, Deandre Ayton
Bench – Grant Hill, Charlie Scott, Maurice Lucas
Starting 5 – Paul Westphal, Jeff Hornacek, Joe Johnson, Tom Chambers, Amar’e Stoudemire
Bench – Dennis Johnson, Goran Dragic, Paul Silas
Starting 5 – Kevin Johnson, Devin Booker, Shawn Marion, Truck Robinson, Alvan Adams
Bench – Eddie Johnson, Cliff Robinson, Raja Bell