Making the correct decisions in the Valley of the Sun

What a difference a year makes … when you add a new head coach to a veteran team.

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Suns starting Barnes at small forward
“Grant brings a lot to that second unit with a lot of stability as a veteran with possibly two rookies on that second unit,” Porter said. “He can relieve some of the pressure that Goran (Dragic) may get at times and I like Grant to have the ball in his hands. That’s one of his strong points – to make decisions and make plays.”

With the goal to limit Hill to about 25 minutes per game, Hill would have sat for long stints if he started. Instead, he must adjust to a bench role after doing it only eight times in a 705-game career.

“I don’t mind it at all,” Hill said. “One of the things we talked about at training camp was our depth can be a weapon for us. You look at the Lakers and their second unit did wonders for them coming in a lot of times to extend a lead and provide a spark.
“Hopefully, we can wear you out as a team and continue to hit you with talent and guys who can make plays.”
Porter likes Barnes’ shooting range to spread the floor while still having a solid wing defender.
“It didn’t really matter to us,” Barnes said. “Once my shots start falling, I can help stretch the floor. I can help Raja (Bell) out there because this league is full of two and threes who are scorers. I’ll just bring a lot of energy.”

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Those who under-estimate the Phoenix Suns this season will be in for a rude awakening, both, in the regular season and at playoff time … given:

i) This new role for Grant Hill;
ii) A reduced role for Shaquille O’Neal;
iii) The additions of Matt Barnes, Alando Tucker, Robin Lopez, Goran Dragic, Sean Singletary & Louis Amundson; and,
iv) The arrival of Terry Porter, with his focus on Rebounding, Defense & Team Offense.

If they eventually fall this season, sometime in May … let’s say, to the Lakers’ juggernaut, it will not be because they are once again ill-equipped to go the distance as they’ve been in seasons past under the premise of Seven Seconds or Less.

Thus far, every decision the Steve Kerr/Terry Porter tandem has made, in an effort to re-tool their once mis-directed team, has moved the Suns closer to realizing their long term goal of reaching and then winning the NBA Finals Series.

For the 1st time since the 1995-1996 season, this team has the type of Marquee Players, QUALITY DEPTH throughout the roster, Coaching & Style of Play it takes to be considered a Legitimate Contender for the League Championship.

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8 Responses to “Making the correct decisions in the Valley of the Sun”

  1. Roger Says:

    With 4 All Stars on this team, how can they be overlooked?

  2. khandor Says:

    Roger,

    In the majority of the Season Previews I’ve seen, thus far, most other NBA observers/analysts are prognosticating that the Suns will most likely retreat somewhat in the WC standings this season or remain at a similar level to last season.

    2007-2008 WC Final Standings … 2008-2009 Projections

    1. LA Lakers [57] … similar
    2. New Orleans [56] … similar
    3. San Antonio [56] … similar or down slightly
    4. Utah [54] … similar or down slightly
    5. Houston [55] … up
    6. Phoenix [55] … similar or down slightly
    7. Dallas [51] … similar
    8. Denver [50] … similar
    9. Golden State [48] … down
    10. Portland [41] … up
    11. Sacramento [38] … similar
    12. LA Clippers [23] … similar or up slightly
    13. Minnesota [22] … similar or up slightly
    14. Memphis [22] … similar
    15. Oklahoma City/Seattle [20] … similar

    When I look at their current team, however, I do not see this happening.

    I see a new roster which is finally going in the right direction, as far as ever winning a NBA championship is concerned.

    IMO … Steve Kerr and Terry Porter know what’s necessary to accomplish this goal.

    Whether or not they can actually accomplish it … is a different story altogether, given the strength of the other top teams in the WC right now.

  3. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    I think the Suns will surprise some people this season.

    But I think it’s premature to state “Thus far, every decision the Steve Kerr/Terry Porter tandem has made, in an effort to re-tool their once mis-directed team, has moved the Suns closer to realizing their long term goal of reaching and then winning the NBA Finals Series.”

    Phoenix was the #1 seed in the West before trading for Shaq. They ended up as the 6th seed and were forced to play the Spurs in the first round. The Spurs beat them 4-1. With Marion, the Suns took the Spurs to 6 games (in the semifinals) the year prior and won 6 more regular season games.

    Let’s see how the new-look Suns fare over the course of the regular season.

  4. khandor Says:

    Brandon,

    IMO, those former Suns teams were little more than a mirage in the desert, given their collective inability to rebound the ball effectively.

    Have you read what I’ve written elsewhere on this blog concerning, “What it takes to Win the NBA Championship?”

    In sharp contrast to those hallucinatory Suns teams, this version is grounded in the Fundamentals For Success esposed by men like Steve Kerr & Terry Porter, who have seen & experienced, up close & personal, what it takes to go the distance in this League … and it isn’t to be found in the principles of Seven Seconds or Less, no matter how ‘attractive’ that specific style of basketball might be to some/many in the hoops community.

    In this League, at this level … what it takes to WIN IT ALL is deeply rooted in the Basic Concept of ‘Ubuntu’ & ‘The Holy Grail Tenets’ of ‘Celtic Pride’, ’33-in-a-row’, ‘The Big 3′, ‘Showtime’, ’4-4-4′, ‘The Bad Boyz’, ‘Running With the Bulls’, ‘Never Under-estimate the Heart of a Champion’, ‘Sacred Hoops’, ‘Playing the Right Way’ and ‘Air Force One’.

    “No Rebounds, No Rings.”Pat Riley

    This new [old school] Suns team has a legit chance to develop that feeling which all great teams build up prior to Winning It All.

    ———————————————–

    re: on being slightly premature

    Trust that, in general, there is but one activity in this Life about which I would be chagrined if it turned out that what I did on the regular was deemed to be ‘too’ soon to enjoy properly the full fruits of my labours … and it doesn’t involve the NBA in any way, shape, or form. :-)

    [Note 1: At this time in my life, knock on wood, neither is this particular difficulty a concern of mine. :-) ]

    However, other than when engaged in that one pursuit … Being PREMATURE, in the judgment of others, is inherently a major part of what it is I do on the regular, and who it is that I am, relative to most others who inhabit this same planet. For this reality, I make no apologies. ;-)

    Where I come from …

    “The Proof of the Pudding is in the eating.”Anonymous

    Nothing More and Nothing Less than That, for

    “He who waits for the cow to leave the barn, first, before closing the door will surely find himself with no cow and, hence, no milk.” – SoT

  5. The J Says:

    I find it interesting how people seem to imply the Suns were not a succesful team. No they didn’t win a championship, but it could be easily argued that is what they were headed towards. They took the Spurs further than anyone else in a year where the Spurs would win another championship. Considering they took them 6 games, with one loss coming with suspensions to key players (wont drag up that boring old “conspiracy”) and another the subsequent game where they were burnt out from playing under-manned, I think it could be argued they were atleast on the championships door. Had the suspensions not occured they may have beaten the Spurs and most likely passed the Jazz and Cavs on their run to the rings. Worst-case they were the second best team in the NBA that season. Rather than build on this Kerr begins to rebuild this team, and we are told that the run and gun style just doesn’t work. I’m sorry, but while I am all for fundamentals, it would have been nice if someone saw this through.

    And don’t get me wrong, the moves they are making might be pretty decent. My only concern is that it will take a couple of years to truly bring this together and continue to adjust the players mentality and for Kerr to tinker with this team. Meanwhile, nobody is getting younger, especially not Nash, Shaq or Hill, and by the time this philosophy is ready to take shape, the stars might be ready to take their retirements.

  6. khandor Says:

    The J,

    First.

    Thanks for providing your comment. :-)

    You are welcome here at any time.

    Second.

    Please read this.

    Then take a look elsewhere around my blog.

    Try checking out what I wrote back in Dec 2007 about the Suns when they were in 1st place in the WC standings, and perhaps what I wrote about their chances for the title last season in January, February, April, etc.

    Third.

    I’m not making it ‘seem’ as though the Suns were not ‘successful’ during their recent run near the top of the WC.

    What I’ve done is say that the Suns … as they were constituted … had no legit shot at ever winning the NBA Title, while playing the way they did during that specific era, for a specific reason.

    In order to win the League Championship a team needs to have what it takes to be triumphant in 4 separate 7-game series match-ups against the best teams in the NBA.

    To do this … history has shown that a team which does not consistently rebound the ball with a positive differential and hold its opponents’ offense in check, on a game-to-game basis, at levels which are amongst the best in the League, has almost zero chance of achieving this goal.

    Ifs, ands, or buts are simply not a part of this equation … any way you want to slice it.

    Fourth.

    IMO, it matters not to Misters Kerr & Porter where their team actually wins the NBA Championship this year, with this current group of players, marquee or otherwise. Or, the next for that matter. Or, the next after that, etc., …

    They are after bigger fish in the ocean.

    What matters to men like this is that their organization, under their watch, is now doing business the Right Way …

    with designs on creating the culture associated with Winning It All that has stood the test of time in this League, from the days of yore with The Great Bill Russell to this past season with the Boston Celtics’ re-commitment to the principles of ‘Ubuntu’ and the Centrifugal Force of stawarts like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce & Ray Allen, operating in conjunction with bit players like Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe, PJ Brown, James Posey, et al., and their emphasis on Rebounding, Defense & Team Offense …

    and with the intention of doing their best to win the NBA title each & every season they are associated with the Suns.

    This is now a very different situation in Phoenix for the long haul, not the short term.

  7. Donn Says:

    I think I agree with The J and Brandon……The only problem Phoinex had was lack of bench depth and a REAL point guard to play if Nash was hurt, tired or having a bad game……All the guards we had on the team 2-3 years ago were playing like off guards, none of them could “direct traffic”….We had a better record at the end of those years……Don’t forget, even though we had to score in 7 seconds, D’Antoni only used 7 players, as opposed to a team like the Spurs or Jazz that had deep benches…..We were able to get that far with 7 players!!!…..I’m sorry, that run and gun offense works just fine…..The problem we had was a weak bench and no point guard…..They had said all those years we were fun to watch but wouldn’t get far on no defense, and every year we got right back to the Finals, but by the time we got there, those 7 players were worn out from doing all the work….Had we had 2 more players, or a scoring point guard like Mo Williams, or Carlos Arroyo or Mike Bibby, or Andre MIller nobody woulda been able to stop us…..Defense and rebounding are never bad, but a deep bench ALWAYS will help you win

  8. khandor Says:

    Donn,

    Thanks for your comment.

    ——————————————————–
    re: The only problem Phoinex had was lack of bench depth and a REAL point guard to play if Nash was hurt, tired or having a bad game.
    ——————————————————–

    You are entitled to your own opinion but the history of championship teams in this League says that the prior versions of the Suns, under Mike D’Antoni, simply could not REBOUND the ball well enough and Hold their opponents’ Score in Check well enough to win 4 separate Best-of-7 Playoff Match-ups, in the NBA.

    The cold, harsh fact is … it takes 16 W’s these days to go home with the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the year, and those Suns teams never ever came close to getting THAT done.

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