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Old 10-16-12, 09:50 AM
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Suns getting ready to dump big men?

The Suns have two weeks to decide which, if any, of their three non-guaranteed big men they will keep for their opening-night roster and whether they want to invest in 6-foot-5 rookie Diante Garrett as a fourth point guard.

The most pressing decision comes in choosing a big man among local favorite Ike Diogu, another NBA veteran in Solomon Jones or rookie sharpshooter Luke Zeller. More than choosing which player performs best, the Suns likely will end up choosing which player’s style suits them best.

Diogu gives the Suns a physical post player. Jones’ specialty is shot-blocking. Zeller is a big man who can stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting, something that will be missing with Channing Frye expected to miss the season due to an enlarged heart. With 13 roster players on guaranteed deals, the Suns do not have to add anyone but are looking for frontcourt insurance.

“Everybody brings something different to the table but all three of us compete,” said Jones, the 6-10 veteran of four teams over six seasons. “They can’t go wrong for picking any one of us. The only thing we can do is make the choice hard for them.”

The Suns likely would have waived one of the candidates by now if it had not been such a carousel of hot and cold from the trio this month.

Jones’ 7-4 wingspan gives him a reach advantage over the shorter Diogu, who has a better shooting touch and craftier post game while still rebounding well. Diogu had four points and five rebounds in 11 minutes Friday night against Portland. Diogu also has become an NBA journeyman (six stops over six seasons), and Zeller is looking to break into the league at the same time as his brother, Tyler.

“It’s a very desirable position to be fighting for and something you have to earn,” Zeller said.

Zeller, 25, might have entered camp with an edge because of how well he showed he can shoot during voluntary workouts. The 6-11 Notre Dame product went undrafted in 2009. He averaged 4.9 points as a senior and 9.1 last season for D-League champion Austin
but prides himself for finding his fit and always playing for winning teams.

“I’ve learned to be able to mentally focus to know if you miss one shot, the next two are going in,” Zeller said. “Being able to have that approach makes a big difference after you play for a couple years.”

Garrett had been getting chances to impress the staff with backup point guard Sebastian Telfair missing time recently with minor ankle, shoulder and wrist injuries. Telfair returned to full practice work Monday.

Garrett, 23, worked out for the Suns before going unselected in the 2011 draft out of Iowa State. He played for the Suns’ summer-league team this year and showed an enticing combination of height, length and speed.

“We’ve had him before and we think he’s maturing and progressing as a player,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “He’s got a great demeanor about him and he’s a very competitive kid.”
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