Pheonix Suns Mid-season update
The Phoenix Suns still have hope.
The Phoenix Suns' bandwagon has never looked emptier.
For one of the better, more storied, more popular franchises of this decade, they have fallen far.
They are far removed from 60-win seasons, from leading the Western Conference race or from long playoff runs. They look different from themselves, and it has been well-documented that management is abandoning ship and offering up anyone not named Steve Nash.
This past All-Star was finally held in Phoenix. Two or three years ago, having the event in the Valley would have been a great thing, like last year in New Orleans.
But now, there was perhaps an air of disappointment from the crowd, not the same party-like atmosphere from N'Awlins. Perhaps they were bitter (they certainly seemed it while boo-ing Tony Parker in the Skills Challenge), perhaps they were merely confused about the future of star forward of Amare Stoudemire?
Either way, they didn't seem all that happy.
Until, a certain big man put on an amazing, co-mvp winning type of a performance, and finally sparked some
enthusiasm into this team.
I believe this team still has potential. Let me explain why.
The news leaked during the weekend that come Monday afternoon practice, Terry Porter would no longer be in charge of the team. General Manager Steve Kerr has seemed to acknowledge that his coaching choice this past summer was not the correct one.
I admire Terry Porter; he was a great player and is a great guy. But he was never the right man for the job here in Phoenix. (Where did he earn a reputation as a defensive specialist? when he ran the show in Milwaukee about 5 years ago, they had one of the highest offense's in the league, with almost no defense)
I honestly don't think they ever should have let Mike D'Antoni go. This is what truly made me distrust Steve Kerr. Steve Nash obviously favors him over any coach you can name; he knows how to utilize his players the best, and never even had a true chance to prove he could utilize Shaq in the same way.
But both way, both coaches are gone now, and reports indicate that head assistant Alvin Gentry will take over, for now at least. I honestly don't know enough about Gentry to judge whether he is a good fit for the team, but he at least has the chance for a new start.
Now for the trade rumors on Stoudamire: If I were the Suns, I wouldn't be so quick to throw away Amare for one or two talented role players or a few draft picks.
I'm more of the opinion that Stoudamire is over rated in terms of being able to lead a team, but there is no denying talent like him does not come along every day.
There has always been talk of trouble in the locker room with Stoudamire, stating that he wants to be 'the man' on a team. If that is truly want he wants, very well, give it to him, but it will cost him playoff wins.
He is playing on a team with two hall of famers who still make a huge impact on the game (even if its not as much as previous years) there is few better team mates you could ask for.
Nash and Stoudamire’s pick and roll is still as dangerous as its ever been, and Shaq is in a resurgence that no-one ever expected.
The team still has a bench and role players that when they are playing right, they can contend with almost any team.
The Jason Richardson trade was an underrated steal, Richardson is a player who can thrive in almost any system and can really hurt teams when he gets his shot going.
I think, in the end, the Phoenix Suns are still a tremendously talented team who can win a series in the playoffs. The problem is they've had their self-esteem knocked; they are no longer thriving on the fast-paced offense and have now turned on each other.
Gentry's main challenge will to sit these players down, and get them to simply forget the first half of the season, and start copying that old Cactus Shaquille O'Neal in the All-star game.
A little effort and the right attitude go a long way.
This team can do something, they aren't done just yet.
They just need to jump back on their own bandwagon.
By Joe Buckley
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer
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