Under Steve Nash, the Phoenix Suns saw the postseason on five separate occasions. During those five occasions, the Suns appeared in three Western Conference Finals with Nash leading the helm. During the peak of the Suns success, the team displayed such talents like Amar’e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill among a bevy of other noticeable players.
Over the years as the Sun’s postseason success dwindled so did the talent, Coach D’Antoni would depart after the 2007-2008 season, Marion would be traded for Shaq during the 2006-07 season, Shaq would be traded in the summer of 2009 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Stoudemire would sign to the New York Knicks.
Through the perennial playoff Suns to the mediocre Suns, one thing stood consistent with the Arizona team.
Now, Nash has fled to greener pastures as a Los Angeles Laker, and even another veteran face synonymous with the Suns, Hill, has escaped to the other L.A. team, the Clippers, what will the Suns life be like?
Losing mixed with lots and lots of rebuilding.
Let’s look at their off-season they had, they sought Michael Beasley out and signed him. Although, he had a reputation in Minnesota, perhaps the forward ,who averaged 11.5 points over 47 games last year, can excel in Phoenix. Maybe all it takes is a new team, a new coach, a new environment to mold a player, but it could also prove to be a detriment as well. Keep in mind this is a team that is in serious rebuilding mode and it’s questionable if the team’s front office has a serious plan in place for the long-term.
That’s not to say, this can’t be the move that will propel a gifted offensive player such as Beasley, but considering his history in the league it’s hard to imagine.
Goran Dragic returns to Phoenix after a few seasons with the Houston Rockets, and it’s been questioned if Dragic can fill Nash’s sneakers. The answer is simple; NO. Nash’s near perfect game can not be duplicated, so expectations shouldn’t be placed on Dragic’s soldiers by fans that look at him as Nash’s replacement. Nash can not replaced, no way you cut and slice it. Rather Dragic will be a point guard that will lead for the Sun’s offense and is a fundamentally sound player.
The Suns attempted to make a grab at Eric Gordon, which would have been incredible for the franchise, but the New Orleans Hornets would match their offer. Phoenix would pick up Jermaine O’Neal in free agency as well, who will provide a veteran leadership role to a team that lost two of the best leaders in the NBA: Nash and Hill.
Phoenix also picked up Luis Scola, amnestied by the Houston Rockets, and will bring a hard work ethic to the team as well as being polished down low with smarts, but lacks athleticism. The Suns also have Wesley Johnson and drafted Kendall Marshall. Marshall is a player that has above average (great) playmaking skills including passing, but has issues with the other end of the game.
It would have been phenomenal to see Marshall being mentored by Steve Nash, but unfortunately that wasn’t mean to be.
With two key pieces of the Suns in Los Angeles, the Suns are retooled with average to above average players, but chemistry is still a huge unanswered question with the group. In addition, there isn’t a firm sense of a go-to-guy in Phoenix; there’s a possibility that one could emerge, but once again this could fall back on a chemistry issue.
As aforementioned, Beasley’s role in Phoenix has many senses perked up because it remains unseen if this will be a new, revitalized Beasley or will it be the Skittle-eating Beasley that many know so well.
In summary, the Western Conference — as usual — is a deep, talented, and competitive conference, and truth be told the Phoenix Suns just may give the Sacramento Kings as the worst team in the west.
I mean, unless, 75% of the teams are riddled with injuries, the Suns will be watching the 2013 Playoffs from their recliners.