Exclusive: Asmir Begovic Talks Suns Playoff Chances and the East/West Playoff format


Brynn Cooper was joined by Stoke City goalkeeper and NBA fanatic Asmir Begovic. We asked him his thoughts on his Phoenix Suns and their trade deadline moves, how he thinks they will shape up for the rest of the season. We also asked him his thoughts on recent suggestions in the media that the NBA is jealous of the Champions League and its international competition.

BC: Firstly Asmir, what are your thoughts on the season so far for your Phoenix Suns?

AB: I think the Phoenix Suns have done ok. They are in the playoff race in
the very competitive Western Conference which is always a good feat,
so they are where they would expect to be. I was very confused by the
deals the team made on deadline day I have to say. Shipping off Dragic was
inevitable and the return was sufficient. But to deal away Thomas, a
player they had under contract for another 2 years, deal away Plumlee who
gave them size and depth off the bench for Brandon Knight and Marcus
Thornton to me was very strange. Knight has some very good qualities but
is due to be a restricted free agent in the summer with no guarantee’s he
will be resigned. Let’s hope the GM knows what he is doing. But overall a
pretty good season so far and hopefully we can make a late playoff push.

BC: How will Bledsoe cope as the ‘leading player’ with Dragic leaving?

AB:  I think Eric Bledsoe is made for that role. He is now the go to guy and
him and Dragic were never going to last that long playing together. He has
really developed into a fine player this year and given that he is still
very young the future is bright for him and that’s good news for the
Phoenix Suns.

article-2329473-19F50677000005DC-371_634x442(Asmir pictured at the Miami Heat game in 2013, NBAE/Getty Images)

BC: Do they have a realistic shout at the playoffs now?

AB: The Suns are still within a shout for sure. The way Westbrook is
playing for OKC makes things difficult and the Pelicans are a strong
contender also. They have a couple of games left against their nearest
rivals and they could be crucial. It’s all still to play for and hopefully
the Suns can get hot soon.

BC: What are your thoughts on  the potential to switching to a top 16 playoff format seeing as Phoenix have been one of the team’s suffering from a lack of playoff appearances with a winning record?

AB: It would be interesting for sure, certainly benefit the Suns but in
saying that, I am very much a traditionalist and I would keep things they
way they are for the most part.

BC: What are your thoughts on acquiring Brandon Knight? Did you do any recruiting at NBA London?

AB: Brandon Knight is a very talented player and could prove to be a good
pickup. The thing that concerns me is the length of his current deal. If
he leaves at the end of the season we have to bring in a replacement and
at what price?? If they resign him then I would say he is a very good
pickup. Unfortunately, I was never called by the Suns GM but as it turns
out he didn’t need my help anyway.

BC: There have been comments about the NBA being jealous of the Champions League. Is it something worthwhile for the NBA, playing against teams from other countries?

AB: The Champions League format is very difficult for American teams due
geographical reasons. I wouldn’t mind seeing NBA team more often in the UK
but I think that’s as far as they could take it. The NBA is lucrative
enough so they shouldn’t lose too much sleep over that issue.

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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