Obviously, we will miss Brandon's scoring, but even when he isn't scoring Brandon frequently creates problems for the other team by occupying the other team's best defender and punishing the other team for playing a weak defender. Could Phoenix adjust their defensive alignment with Brandon out? How would we attack them if they did? I think it is interesting to consider.
In our first game after Brandon's recent injury, we were facing the Thunder. In the previous game against the Thunder Andre Miller had abused Russell Westbrook, getting him in foul trouble and scoring in the post. The Thunder came out early in the game with Sefolosha guarding Miller and Westbrook shifted over to guard Rudy Fernandez. There is no way a team could pull a stunt like this is Brandon is playing. Westbrook would have been destroyed by Brandon. Rudy, however, did not take advantage of a smaller player guarding him. He had an OK game, scoring in his usual way, on long-distance jumpers when left open. Miller had a great game against a larger player known as a quality defender. I can't really remember if OKC stuck to this defensive alignment for long or if they switched out of it before long, but they definitely didn't fear putting a smaller player on Rudy.
Similarly, Andre Miller had a really good game (more like a really good first half) against the Suns in our most recent meeting. Nobody abuses Nash completely because he evens the score on the offensive end so often, but Miller did take it right at Nash when Nash was defending and got him in foul trouble. I think this is going to be a key to this series. We have to make Nash work on defense and hopefully have a couple of games where his effectiveness is limited by foul trouble. I'm worried if the Suns will try to protect Nash by switching his defensive assignment to guarding Rudy. Again, I don't have confidence that Rudy can take advantage of the smaller player. The good news is that Richardson is not the defensive player that Sefolosha is. I think Miller can still take advantage of that matchup. Even if he does it doesn't create the desired effect of getting Nash into foul trouble (assuming the refs will even be willing to make calls against Nash).
Do you think this is a defensive alignment the Suns will employ? I think the obvious counter-tactic the Blazers could employ is going big with Martell next to Batum on the wing. Posting up is not necessarily Martell's strength, but I doubt that Phoenix would try to defend Martell with Nash if we made the adjustment. I'm not sure that the coaching staff will adjust quickly if Phoenix does switch up the defense. I'm also concerned that decisions will be made based on protecting Rudy's fragile psyche over what may make the most sense on the court. Would the Blazers pull Rudy out pretty quick if the matchup dictated that was the right move? Some tough decisions for the coaching staff created by Roy's absence.