The Suns had an experienced NBA small forward Jared Dudley and traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in July for another accomplished small forward Caron Butler who was traded eight weeks later to Milwaukee. It leaves a vacancy for what might be training camp’s most competitive position. The guard and center spots have competitive depth but the starters are clear. At small forward it could be one of the returnees Marcus Morris and P.J. Tucker or newcomer Gerald Green. “It gives us a lot of options” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “If we need scoring at the position maybe that is when Gerald gets hot and gets going. If we need a defensive stopper then P.J. might be the guy. If we want that overall guy maybe it’s Marcus. It just depends how they work with other players and who we have on the court that’s beneficial.” Tucker has the most starting experience but is considered better as a player off the bench who can infuse the energy that Hornacek wants be a change of pace and stop a hot hand. Sometimes Tucker will not be denied. He went from battling for a rotation spot in training camp last year to becoming an indispensable defensive piece with 45 starts. “Last year was kind of my intro back to the league” said Tucker who played five years in foreign leagues after logging 17 games for Toronto in 2006-07. “Being comfortable here now and knowing what I can do and what the coaches want me to do it’s a chance for me to definitely take it to another level. Marcus Morris spent only the final two months of last season with the Suns going from seven early starts to four games when he did not play. In his first Suns training camp this week he has his best opportunity having been drafted in Houston but often used as a power forward — or assigned to the D-League. “I feel like this is a starting point for everybody” Morris said. “It’s a whole new organization. I’m coming in with the same attitude that I came in with last year to be aggressive and show the coaches what I bring to the team. “I can score the ball well. I can guard and defend. That was what the main question was whether I could defend the threes (small forwards). But I’m a basketball player. I hate when people limit my game to whether I can guard threes. The threes have to guard me too.” The Suns could wind up starting the Morris twins pairing Marcus with Markieff at power forward. He said that has been their plan and their destiny since they were dreaming about an NBA career.
Phoenix Suns have options to explore at small forward
Arizona Republic | Oct 3