Nothing Special, Really

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Date Has Been Set, Part 2

A while back, I left this cryptic post. Either most of you didn't care what it meant or couldn't figure it out. And if you're a Suns fan, well then shame on you I say, shame!

Nov. 1st is the first game of the season. Suns vs. Seattle. In Seattle. Of course I'll be there. As soon as I saw the date, I knew I'd be there, yelling my head off from the upper deck. Well, that all changed this weekend, thanks to three little numbers.


No more upper deck for me. Instead, I'll be sitting lower level, in the corner. Amazing seats. And it's all courtesy of Wac.

Do I have the best girlfriend or what?

So I guess it's not too early to give my thoughts on the upcoming season. Honestly, I'm a bit nervous this year, as I'm not quite sure that we improved in the areas that we needed to improve in. Instead of improving our defense & rebounding, we got faster & smaller. To me, that's kind of like trying to beat the Math portion of the SATs by studying harder for the English portion.

(Does that analogy make sense? I hope so, I never took the SATs so I don't know).

I'm less worried about losing Kurt Thomas than most because I don't think it's a good mindset to go into a season worrying about how you might have to defend one player. Besides, no one can defend Tim Duncan, but the Spurs can still be defeated. And I think we have enough parts to do the job. Anyways, here's my thoughts on our roster this year:


Steve Nash - is this the year he starts to decline? I don't see any reason why he would, but he's not any younger. Nevertheless, we're still screwed if he goes down with any kind of injury. More than anyone else, his health is critical to our success. (Sorry if I offended you by saying that, Shawn).

Raja Bell - The perfect backcourt mate for Nash, but I'd like to see him become a little bit more consistent & a little less streaky. He disappears offensively too often.

Shawn Marion - Yes, Shawn, you are one of the best players in the league, and you bring a set of skills that few players possess. Yes, the Suns need you, but not as much as Amare or Steve. You've got 19 million reasons to stay quiet, so be quiet. It's frustrating as a fan to hear him say that he doesn't want to be here anymore, and it's even more amazing that he'd make those comments in light of how Joe Johnson's faring down in Atlanta.

Grant Hill - I'm excited about his ability to add another dimension to our offense, but I think he'll really affect our defense. I think he might have slowed down too much to guard a lot of the players he's gonna be up against. And there's the whole ankle thing too.

Amare Stoudemire - Can't we just do a knee transplant and call it a day? I'm curious to see if he decides this is the year that he starts playing defense. For all his talk about wanting to be the best, he sure doesn't put forth the effort. Nevertheless, hopefully he won't be as tentative this year as he was last.


Leandro Barbosa - He really came into his own last year, but I'd like to see him develop a couple more moves on offense instead of relying solely on his quickness. He was completely neutralized against San Antonio when they wouldn't let us run.

Boris Diaw - Are we gonna get Fat Boris or Bad-Ass Boris this year? We could really use Bad-Ass Boris again.

Brian Skinner - I like this pickup. He's a good rebounder and a decent shot blocker. And he can run with us, something that Kurt couldn't do. He won't replace Kurt's low-post defense, nor does he have a reliable outside shot like Kurt did, but I think he can do the job when needed.

Marcus Banks - He probably won't be in the rotation that much, which is a shame because he really has some skills. I saw him when he started against the Sonics last year, and it seemed like, if anything, he just didn't have the confidence. Maybe another year in our system has done him some good.

Everyone Else

Sean Marks - I'm convinced the only reason he's on our team was because our quotient of white players to black players was too low. I wouldn't be surprised to see Boris Diaw & Leandro Barbosa traded to Indiana for Troy Murphy & Mike Dunleavy, just to even things out some more.

Eric Piatkowski - One of the better nicknames of the NBA, the Polish Rifleman. Which is why I'm not surprised he's never done anything in his career.

Alando Tucker - He seems like he's gonna end up like a Desmond Mason-type player. I'm not saying that as a compliment. At best, like Josh Howard without a 3-pt shot.

D.J. Strawberry - I haven't seen him play, but with all the talk of how incredible he is defensively, I think he's got some intrigue. Of course, he wouldn't be on the roster if Banks lived up to his hype, but hopefully, between the two of them, we can find a point guard for life after Nash.

So I think it's safe to say we'll make the playoffs again this year and probably advance to the Conference Semis again, but between Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, & Utah, I think we've got our work cut out for us. As San Antonio showed last year, it's easier for teams to impose their style against us than it is for us to impose our style on them. I don't think that the Suns needed to make any drastic changes, we just need improved defense play from our own players, especially Stoudemire & Barbosa. The lack of any significant low-post defense will hurt us occasionally, but I do like that we replaced Kurt Thomas with someone who's more athletic & a better shot-blocker. He should give us what Steven Hunter gave us a couple of years ago. Overall, I think this could be the year that we take home a championship, but it's not going to be any easier. Houston is much improved, San Antonio is still the champs, Utah is a big matchup problem for us, and Dallas is, well, they'll probably collapse again so no need to worry about them.

It all starts in 4 weeks. I can't wait!


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