I am writing this post with my opinions about the NBA and more specifically the Phoenix Suns for a friend of mine who for some reason has the Suns closest to his heart. Normally, if I were to write a blog about the NBA, it would be about the Timberwolves, or related material to what is going on in the NBA that particular week or day. But, I want to appease my friend, and share my opinions with you all on this subject. However, I do not claim to be a NBA expert, I am a fan and enjoy watching these games. I use to play quite a bit as well, so I have some sense of how the game is supposed to be played.
The Phoenix Suns are a great team, they put people in the stands when they play at home in Phoenix, and whenever they are on the road as well. They should. They have a two time MVP in Steve Nash, who will probably go down in the record books as one of the top point guards in the games history. He will be named with guys like Cousy, Magic, Kidd, Isiah Thomas (despite all of his mishaps with the Canadian basketball league and the D league New York Knicks, the man is still a hall of famer, and a great player) as well as many other great names in NBA history. They also have a young energetic and charismatic Forward who came directly out of high school named Amare Stoudemire. Amare, although has had major injury concerns about his knees, is turning out to be one of the great starts of the NBA. This is also one of the fastest teams in the NBA. They try and come into the game with the idea to out run all of their opponents out the door. They have had this mentality for many years, as long as I can remember. Even back in the days when they had Kevin Johnson running the point position, this was what they were known for. They were and are successful at playing this kind of game, but in my opinion which I already mentioned is not an expert one, this style of play gives up on other truly important main concepts of the game of basketball.
The first concept is that of playing defense. The Phoenix Suns are currently in the top 5 of teams that give up the most points in the NBA. They are giving up over 105 points a night. This kind of play just will not win championships. As much as my friend would love the Suns to win it all this year and every year, it will not happen until great defense is being played every single night.
This team like I wrote before earlier is a great team to watch. They are a lot of fun. But when you give up over 105 points a night, you stand little chance of winning in the playoffs. This team the past several years has really been built for the regular season, and not the playoffs. They always seem to get into the playoffs, and then burn out. The teams that get into the playoffs are usually the best of the best. Now maybe in some years one could say certain teams got in with below .500 records, see the Eastern Division of the NBA, but for the most part, we are seeing the best teams face each other. These teams that are in the playoffs are playing the best basketball in the world. If you give up over 105 points a night in these short playoff series, you are not going to win anything.
Then in the middle of the season, the Suns made what I believe to be a move of desperation. Signing Shaq was the wrong decision. Although Shaq is obviously a first ballot Hall of famer, he is really way past his prime, doesn't play good defense (which is what the Suns need most from a center), and cannot play the type of basketball that the coach, D'Antoni wants to continue playing. Shaq cannot be expected at his age, with his injuries to be running back and forth with guys like Amare, Barbosa, Nash and Diaw.
In my opinion, the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls were the epitome of what a great all around team was all about. This team not only won the NBA finals in an amazing fashion, but also rounded up the most regular season wins at 72. Many people will say, with ignorance that it was all because of Jordan. This is really a sign that most people are completely unaware of the small details within the game. Jordan in my opinion, was and is to this day the greatest basketball player in history, but he had a lot of help gaining those incredible feats as well. You can't forget about Phil Jackson won coach of the year in 95-96, Kukoc won 6th man of the year, and Rodman was getting an absurd amount of offensive and defensive rebounds every night, and this is not even referring to Scottie Pippen, who is just a guy in the 50 greatest NBA players of all time. This team played like a team. They played defense every single game, and it helped them become a dynasty.
The Suns have also had some pretty painful defeats this year that cannot go unnoticed by Suns fans. The fact of the matter is they have been beaten up by some of the real trash of the NBA. Namely, my beloved Timberwolves who got the best of the Suns on two occasions this year. The Suns have also been defeated by the Clippers, Hawks, The Rockets before this recent trend of them being amazing, the Heat, who may actually be worse than the Wolves, and the lowly 76ers. Some of these defeats have come more than once this season as well. This Suns team has also not fared well against the best of the West either. They have lost to the Lakers more than once by a fair margin of victory too, they have lost to the Mavs, Hornets, Spurs, Warriors and unfortunately many other good teams in the East. So, this does not forecast well for a team that is headed for the playoffs against all the power of the NBA.
The Phoenix Suns are not a team like the great one's before them. They will continue playing this fast paced entertaining style of play, putting people in the seats wherever they go, but never get the jewelery to go with it. I am sorry to my friend, who devotes most of his free time to the Suns and their plight for an NBA championship ring. This has been and most likely will continue to be his primary interest within sports, which is unfortunate. The Phoenix Suns are doomed to be the team that is always left at the door waiting for his date that never actually shows up.