Monday , Jun , 14 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Phoenix Suns 2004 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – Phoenix traded point guard Stephon Marbury and swingman
Anfernee Hardaway to the New York Knicksin January to clear up salary cap
space. The Suns also finished the regular season with a dismal 29-53 record
and did not qualify for the postseason.

The Suns did sign head coach Mike D’Antoni to a two-year contract extension.
D’Antoni, who is the 12th head coach in team history, will remain with the
Suns through the 2006-07 season. He became Phoenix’ head coach on December 10,
2003 after Frank Johnson was fired and guided the Suns to a 21-40 record.

Phoenix has two extremely talented forwards in Amare Stoudemire and Shawn
Marion. Stoudemire missed 27 games in his sophomore season but still averaged
20.6 points and nine boards, while Marion checked in with 19 points and 9.3
boards per game.

Twenty-two-year-old Joe Johnson is a solid shooting guard. He finished the
year with averages of 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Leandrinho
Barbosa played the point after Marbury was dealt and did an ok job. However,
the Suns would upgrade the position of the opportunity is there.

The Suns have three players who are athletic and explosive offensively.
Phoenix will look for another player to fit in with Johnson, Marion and
Stodemire.

Expect Phoenix, which should be very active in free agency to draft to fill a
position. Barbosa is suited to be more of a backup point than a starter.
Wisconsin’s Devin Harris or St. Joe’s Jameer Nelson will be available if the
Suns decide to take a playmaker. Don’t rule out Arizona’s Andre Iguodala, who
is 6-6 and can play either small forward or shooting guard.

Key Player(s): Amare Stoudemire (forward), Shawn Marion (forward), Joe Johnson
(forward/guard), Leandrinho Barbosa (guard).

Team Needs: Point guard, center and depth.

Draft picks: 1st round (7th overall).

PHO