Fizer's Take: Phoenix Suns
For the first time in a Steve Nash era, the Phoenix Suns were no longer the dominating presence as everyone perceived they were. Mike D'Antoni is gone... Terry Porter is in... Steve Kerr wants to focus on Defense... Steve Nash is still the PG... and they traded away three of their best defensive stalwarts in Shawn Marion, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell... Well, the the latter two were traded last season to exchange them for a Jason Richardson who doesn't really scream Defense in my opinion... What's the result of this "make-over"? Pfffft... An F... An NI... Thumbs down... Whatever you want to call it... This was a disaster. If it wasn't a disaster, then why did Steve Kerr fire Terry Porter just months after hiring him and replace him with D'Antoni 2.0 (less than motivating) Alvin Gentry? It was clear that the Suns were much more comfortable with the Run N Gun style that D'Antoni had brought in but everyone knows that it doesn't scream championship to the ears. By the time Gentry took over, it was too late as the Suns missed the playoffs for the first time since Steve Nash took over. Despite the disappointment, the Suns look forward to a bright future. They did host the 2009 NBA All-Star weekend but that's juts about it. They did had a resurging Shaquille O'Neal who had games in which he scored 40 or more, one against the Toronto Raptors. Amar'e Stoudemire was still the leader in rebounds and scoring but miss the last remaining weeks of the season after suffering from a detach retina in his eye which is a rare but very dangerous injury. This forces STAT to wear goggles for the remainder of his career. Grant Hill still sounds like a veteran that can contribute and J-Rich is doing a solid job for the team. But as far as the playoff appearance is concerned, it never happened. The Suns would go through the offseason to find the answers.
They landed the last lotto pick at 14 and took in a potentially great forward in Earl Clark. Clark is considered to have a top 5-upside though right now, you can see that he still has more questions than answers on him which makes him one of the biggest enigmas in the 2009 Draft Class. Still, no one was complaining when the Suns took the ex-Louisville stud in hopes of shaping him up for future seasons to come. Think of a Tim Thomas with a better chance to be good IF he works hard and that is a BIG IF... Taylor Griffin was a surprise pick at the second round and though it was a surprise, a part of me was thinking that a brother of a number 1 pick will earn a spot on the draft board and so Taylor did. He's an athletic player who could end up being in the bench for the Suns if he continues to work hard. Now who says you wouldn't get noticed even if you're a brother of a future All-Star? Taylor just did.
Interesting offseason for Phoenix that leave them without nothing for the Shaq trade though they did get Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic whom didn't stayed long in the Suns roster. But they did get a solid signing when they acquired Channing Frye via free agency. A big signing since they badly need a forward that can score and help Amar'e downlow. Still, the question remains regarding how much effort would he have on D much like STAT. Sure familiar names are still there, Steve Nash, who recently signed a 3-year deal with the team, Grant Hill also, Leandro "Blur" Barbosa, Lou Amundson and a bunch of crafty players trying to mold this team back into respectable shores. Channing will make his mark as a fantasy beast and is expected to lessen the pressure off of Amar'e and of course be a candidate to win the Most Improved Player Honors... But with Steve Nash no longer the 2005 and 2006 player, can the Suns find miracle and burn the other teams out of the playoffs? Will STAT rebound from a devastating injury? How will this system be effective in the playoffs SHOULD the Suns make it? A lot of burning questions for a team that Steve Kerr had "rebuilt".
NBA Draft Grade: B+
NBA Offseason Grade: B-
Predicted W-L: 43-39
This is just a writer's opinion... Anyone care to comment, I am open for it^^
offense wins game. defense wins championships
"offense wins game. defense wins championships"
maybe but the suns came close a few years ago, until robert horry nailed nash into the stands and got amare, diaw suspended and ended their hope. that team (nash, barbosa, marion, diaw, stoudamire) was good enough to win the nba in my opinion.
McGee becomes the next Duncan?!? Are you high?
marcusfizer21, you made a number of good points, however, you only looked at last season. In order to understand where the Suns are today and why the organization is going in reverse, you have to look at their recent 5 year history and their owner, Robert Sarver.
Why do I say that? Instead of rebuilding through the draft, Sarver literally gave away 5 or 6 number one draft choices since he became the owner in 2004. I think one of those choices turned out to be Rudy Fernandez, but I can't tell you who the other players were. However, I can definitely state that any team which gives away their number one draft choices year after year to save money is destroying their future. That's exactly what happened to the Suns.
If Robert Sarver was in New York, he would have been headline news every day for making those stupid moves, but in Phoenix he managed to sneak in under the radar.
This may not be dead on accurate, but here's essentially what happened to many of the Number One Draft Choices Sarver gave away. I think the list speaks for itself, just imagine where Phoenix would be today with some or most of these guys were on the roster. Those players were:
Traded Luol Deng to Chicago for rights to Jackson Vroman, cash and a future first round pick.
Nate Robinson and Martin Gortat
Rajon Rondo and Sergio Rodriguez
That first year Phoenix got Nash, I thought they were the best team in the league. They were playing video game ball just raining 3's with Joe Johnson and Quentin RIchardson. But it's been all down hill since. I don't like what management has been doing there for awhile and I don't think Kerr is any better. He comes in and talks about commitment to defense and then immediately trades Marion and Raja for JRich and SHaq. DOes that make sense to anyone? The whole Shaq thing was dumb becuase he didn't fit and they should have just used Marion's expiring deal to get a better younger big man instead of adding another season of 20 mill with SHaq.
There's no doubt that Phoenix has an outstanding history in the league. That's why when Sarver gave away so many number one draft choices it was truly horrible and played a pivotal role in the downfall of the franchise's future. Can you imagine what Phoenix would look like today if they retained the contracts of just 3 of the 6 guys Sarver gave away? You can pick the three that you like.
the downfall of having a good team so many years in a row. Your draft picks have no roster spots because they are full of vets, trying to make a run at a championship.
Sarver gave away 6 Number One Draft choices by my count [See my post earlier in this thread]. There isn't a team in professional sports that can survive that kind of short term stupidity. Sarver thought he could rebuild through free agency and trades and that didn't work.
Everyone criticizes the moves of Steve Kerr, and justifiably so, but I wonder how much independence Kerr has. Is Sarver the one really pulling the strings, such as the trade for Shaq?