Gentry likes that Collins didn’t attend Appalachian St.
(Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images)

As the Suns open the season in L.A. against the Clippers tomorrow, they’ll have an asset off the bench that they didn’t have at the beginning of the week. Phoenix was awarded 6-11 Jarron Collins off of waivers from Portland yesterday, beefing the frontline up a little around the basket.

The eight-year veteran, who has spent every career regular season with the Jazz, holds career averages of 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16.9 minutes. Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said that he is unsure if Collins will play tomorrow after only one practice, but sees his value against a team that features 7-footers Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby.

“We needed some size and experience and Jarron is a smart player,” Suns President of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Kerr said. “He knows how to guard people and he’ll give us an option defensively and on the boards that we definitely needed.”

With an injured Robin Lopez and the Suns having been badly outrebounded during the preseason, Gentry liked the option of possessing another big body on the bench to turn to if needed. He likes him for his toughness.

“The guy was able to last for a lot of years with Jerry Sloan in Utah,” he said. “I rest my case. We need some rebounding and we somebody to help us defend the post.”

Gentry also noted his alma mater.

“He’s a real smart player,” he said. “He picked up what we’re trying to do real quickly. The guy is a Stanford grad, ok?

“That’s all you need to know,” he continued. “This is (talking about himself) an Appalachian St. guy. There’s no comparison.”

One player who is looking forward to his pro debut tomorrow is Suns rookie Taylor Griffin. Griffin, who anticipated making his pro debut against his brother, Blake, had a change of plans yesterday when the Clippers reported that Blake will miss the next six weeks with a suffered a non-displaced stress fracture of his left patella.

“I think my parents looked forward to it more than anything,” Taylor said. “It’s pretty significant because it was his first home game, our first game playing each other and kind of the hype that surrounds it. But it will be good. He’s not thinking about this game, he’s thinking about getting back on the court.”

The elder Griffin, Taylor, says that he speaks with his brother about every other day and that they have used each other to help transition into the pros. He said that his brother is “pretty upset,” but that his brother “recovers pretty quickly.”

With Jason Richardson serving a two-game suspension, Gentry kept mum on what he plans to do with the starting lineup.

“We might start Jared (Dudley), we might start LB (Leandro Barbosa), we might start three big guys,” he said.

When asked if he had three big guys, Gentry responded, “We’ll start three medium guys.”
Gentry said Richardson’s scoring will be missed. He’s expecting him to be the team’s second-leading scorer this season.

At least the Suns will have Steve Nash, who sat out of yesterday’s practice with back spasms. The two-time MVP was once again running the show at practice again today.

Louis Amundson, who missed some of practice with a sprained ankle today, will reportedly be ready to go tomorrow. As will Amar’e Stoudemire, who’s last regular season contest was the game when his eye was injured against the Clippers.

“It’ll be fun being back at the same position, playing against the same team that ended my season last year,” Stoudemire said. “So I’m back with a vengeance.”

  • Beavis

    “It’ll be fun being back at the same position, playing against the same team that ended my season last year,” Stoudemire said. “So I’m back with a vengeance.”

    I’m looking forward to this.