Records: Suns 18-39 (fifth in the Pacific Division) vs. Minnesota 20-33 (fifth in the Northwest Division)
PG: Goran Dragic (14.2 points and 6.8 assists) vs. Ricky Rubio (8.4 points and 6.7 assists)
SG: P.J. Tucker (5.5 points and 4.0 rebounds) vs. Luke Ridnour (12.2 points and 3.9 assists)
SF: Jared Dudley (11.4 points and 3.5 rebounds) vs. Andrei Kirilenko (13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds)
PF: Luis Scola (12.9 points and 6.3 rebounds) vs. Derrick Williams (10.3 points and 5.2 rebounds)
C: Marcin Gortat: (11.4 points and 8.6 rebounds) vs. Nikola Pekovic (16 points and 8.9 rebounds)
With the trade deadline passing last week, the Suns roster is solidified through the remainder of the season. Due to that, Phoenix is attempting to give several players minutes, and it’s only conditional on one thing.
“I like playing the rotation that helps you win,” Suns Head Coach Lindsey Hunter said. “Whether it’s a deep (rotation), if it’s shallow, whatever that is. I don’t personally try to dictate that.”
In the last couple games, reserve point guard Diante Garrett has received an opportunity to join the rotation. Garrett, who has been compared to “Devin Harris,” was called the quickest guy on the team by Hunter.
“He’s so naturally creative,” Hunter said. “He can get into the teeth of the defense at will.”
Meanwhile, shooting guard Shannon Brown hasn’t made an appearance in a game since the All-Star break. Although he is fifth on the team in scoring with a career-high 11.2 point-a-game average, Hunter is trying to dole out minutes to other wing players.
“He knows that (I’m giving other players a chance),” Hunter said. “I keep an open line of communication with Shannon, so it’s not like anything personal or anything like that.”
The last time the Wolves and Suns met on December 29, Suns power forward Luis Scola erupted for 33 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. It was a season-high for Scola, who shot 16-of-26 from the floor that night.
In addition, the 6-10 Argentine went to work against the Wolves when they had the service of power forward Kevin Love. Now Scola will receive the opportunity to face the Wolves without their former All-Star, who has a fractured right hand.
National Team Preparation
Polish national team head coach Dirk Bauermann was at US Airways Center to visit with his center, Marcin Gortat, early on Tuesday. The former German national team coach won silver with Germany at the 2005 FIBA European Championships.
Although he visited with two Polish National Team up-and-comers that play for Liberty and Gonzaga, the main objective of the trip was to talk with the Suns big man.
“If Marcin puts his mind to it, he could become one of the best, if not the best player in the EuroBasket 2013 Tournament,” Bauermann said. “The competition is obviously extremely strong.
“But if he comes in well-prepared and he’s totally committed, the sky is the limit for him. He could help us get to the Promised Land because we would be able to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Spain.”