Steve Nash, Goran Dragic

Lakers point guard Steve Nash lays it in as Phoenix guard Goran Dragic applies pressure during a game on Feb. 12. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times / February 12, 2013)

The Suns have three viable players at small forward in Marcus Morris, P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green.

Morris can play either forward position but might start alongside twin brother Markieff.  Marcus has some shooting range and some power, although he's not as strong as his brother.

Tucker is an aggressive defender and emerging role player. Green, an athletic scorer, was acquired from the Indiana Pacers in a trade for power forward Luis Scola.

The Lakers might start Nick Young at small forward.  Wesley Johnson is also an option, although the former Sun may come off the bench.

Young is a high-volume scorer. Johnson is still looking to emerge as a consistent contributor.  The Lakers hope Johnson develops into a lock-down defender with a steady outside shot.

Shawne Williams and Marcus Landry, both fighting to make the final roster, bring shooting and toughness to the position.

Small forward is not a standout position for either franchise.

Power Forward

Coach Mike D'Antoni has to decide if the Pau Gasol/Chris Kaman tandem is the right choice, or whether Gasol should start at center with Kaman coming off the bench.

Heading into camp, Gasol is probably penciled in as the power forward.  While that wasn't a natural fit for Gasol last season alongside Dwight Howard, D'Antoni can better play to the 7-footer's strengths next to Kaman.

Gasol can be the inside focus. Kaman has a steady jump shot and thrives in the pick and roll.

The Lakers can start Jordan Hill at the four, adding energy and rebounding.  Both Elias Harris and Ryan Kelly are young possibilities off the bench, both fighting to make the team.

Williams and Landry also can play power forward.

Markieff Morris has an impressive combination of power and skill.  He's strong and can play in the post but also can make the three-point shot. His best-case scenario might be developing into a Rasheed Wallace-type player, although Morris' inside game hasn't yet neared Wallace's prime.

Channing Frye is hoping to get back on the court after a heart issue. His status is unclear.

The Suns also have Miles Plumlee and can play Marcus Morris at the four.

With Gasol starting, the Lakers clearly have the advantage.  If it's Hill, the two teams are about even at power forward.


The Suns have a solid center in Marcin Gortat.  They also picked up Alex Len in the draft and traded for Vyacheslav Kravtsov.

Markieff Morris, Frye and even Plumlee can play center, but Phoenix isn't particularly strong at the position.