The Suns are known for scoring. As for defense, they’ve actually been better at it than a lot of fans give them credit for. It’s not true that the Suns back away and let the other team shoot layups just to get the ball back quicker. Sometimes they guard layups and only give up open 10-footers. See? But if coach Terry Porter has his way, even that will change. Here’s the Arizona Republic (Paul Coro):

“Our defense will be better just because we’re going to have different schemes,” said Porter, who will have the Suns denying middle penetration, a change from previous seasons, when the Suns forced dribblers to the paint. “It’s always a challenge when you get a new group together. You have to see how everyone responds and plays off each other. From an energy standpoint, we’re going to be solid. Effort is going to be consistent. It really comes down to having more of a presence at the defensive end.”

It’ll be interesting to see how big a factor aging legend Shaquille O’Neal is this season, especially on defense. More from the Arizona Republic:

Depth will bring rotation challenges for Porter to manage. He said a 10-man rotation is hard but added that going nine deep could work. Dragic, a 22-year-old Slovenian, is one of those with a role, backing up Nash. The Suns went through a whirlwind summer to get Dragic. Porter has just begun to get a live look at Dragic in recent weeks. “He’s really good at reading different pick-and-roll situations and fast breaks,” Porter said. “The challenging part for him will be just the adjustment to the culture, the NBA style of play and the physicality of the game. Most point guards struggle a bit their rookie year. “At times, I’m probably going to have to be a little more patient than I am, because I played that position.”

As long as the Suns keep their offense as it’s been, with lots of exciting fast breaks and sweet pick-and-rolls, cutting and movement, I’ll love watching them play. Hopefully, what they do with the ball doesn’t change much now that Mike D’Antoni is gone.

–Jeff