Suns Preview Redux: Q&A with Bright Side of the Sun

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

To get a little more insight on tonight's matchup with the Suns, Dave King, the managing editor of SB Nation's Bright Side of the Sun, was kind enough to answer a few questions.

To get you ready for tonight's game against the Suns, we asked Dave King over at the Suns blog, Bright Side of the Sun, a few questions, which he was kind enough to answer. (Thanks Dave!)

Check out his answers below, then head on over to Bright Side of the Sun to see my answers to his Mavericks questions.

[Author's note: Thanks to Jonathan Tjarks and Doyle Rader for help getting these questions together with my real life busy-ness yesterday.]

Certainly the Suns have gotten off to a better than expected start. At what point should we consider them a serious threat to take a playoff spot out West? Are we already at that point?

I have been asking myself the "playoff contender" question after every game. Early in the season, when the Suns started 5-2, I said we had to wait 25 games. Later, when the Suns were 9-8, I still said we had to wait 25 games. At those earlier points, I thought the Suns' flaws would be exposed and the losses would come. But the team keeps winning, now at 15-10 with the league's 7th most difficult schedule, and winning records both at home (8-4) and on the road (7-6). I think this is a playoff team now. Not a deep playoff team, but a playoff team nonetheless.

The center spot has been in constant flux this year. Markieff Morris is now playing some minutes there. Miles Plumlee has been playing well but he's just in his second year. What does Phoenix need to do to solidify its center rotation?

At the risk of homerism, I'd say the center position is just fine. Miles Plumlee has been a revelation at nearly averaging a double-double while defending the rim pretty well (giving up 47% shooting at the rim, with the league average at 55%). The Suns like to go small at many points of a game, intentionally putting Channing Frye or Markieff Morris at the 5 in those lineups. That's all by design, and it's working. Sure, we could have a better center, as all but maybe 5 teams in the league would say. But it's not a problem area.

Will Emeka Okafor ever see time on the court for the Suns?

That's an interesting question. When he was acquired, the Suns immediately decided his neck issue was one he could rehab on his own with this own doctors. The best training staff in the world can't help Okafor's injury at this point. If he gets better by next month (almost no chance of that), the Suns might showcase him for a deadline trade. But most likely he's out a long time and becomes a free agent this summer. He wasn't acquired to play this year.

Is Gerald Green for real? He was once a journeyman dunking novelty but his game seems to fit nicely into Phoenix's system. Why has he worked so well?

Green's hot start was one of the main reasons I thought the Suns were overachieving early. But he tailed off as expected and lost a lot of his minutes when Bledsoe and Dragic both got healthy, and yet the Suns keep winning. Green is what he is: a sometimes good three-point shooter, an occasionally exciting dunker and otherwise a journeyman most takes more bad shots than good shots. However, he is also a really refreshing locker room presence just happy to be in the league and one of the reasons this team likes each other so much.

What should the Mavericks' game plan be to beat the Suns?

Monta Ellis and Dirk will both have great games - the Suns give up good games to quick guards and good shooting bigs all the time. The Mavs game plan should simply be to play their game they way they have all year and play their Suns killers a lot of minutes. If Marion and Carter have "f u" games against their former team that "screwed" them, or if Brandan Wright does his usual Brandan Wright stuff against the Suns, the Mavs will win.

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