Suns Readjusting to Life with Healthy Roster

Barry Gossage/NBAE

Perhaps the most pleasant change for Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek during post-practice interviews was the lack of injury-related questions he had to answer.

With Eric Bledsoe back from a calf injury that forced him to miss six games, the Suns are essentially back at full strength.

“He came out good today,” Hornacek said yesterday. “I think he’s fine and ready to be playing now.”

So that’s that. Their restored health, however, means an end to adjusting without significant players and a beginning to reincorporating them back into the rotation and system.

No one is more affected by this than Gerald Green. The 6-8 swingman filled in admirably as a starter while Bledsoe and, earlier last month, Goran Dragic missed a combined 10 games. He averaged 15.8 points while shooting 38.7 percent from three-point range in 12 games as part of the first five, establishing himself as the team’s third-leading scorer behind the backcourt teammates he had temporarily replaced.

Green will likely join the team’s fourth-leading scorer, Markieff Morris (12.6 ppg), on the bench, giving Phoenix a reserve unit that offers plenty of firepower.

To his credit, the veteran sharpshooter has maintained a steady team-first mentality while his role has changed several times over the course of a single month.

“I’ve liked the opportunity [to start], but I know Eric is a better player starting than coming off the bench,” Green said. “I’m down with whatever helps the team win.”

His attitude makes Hornacek’s job that much easier as he seeks to redefine roles, rotations and five-man units without sacrificing the progress made after a nine-win start to the season.

“He said ‘Coach, whatever. If I have to come off the bench, if I start, I don’t care, I just want to do whatever I can to help this team,’” Hornacek said of Green. “It’s a great attitude to have as a player. Coaches love it when you hear guys like that. I think he’s going to play the saem game whether he’s a starter or off the bench. He’ll give us a lift whenever he’s out there.”