Posts Tagged ‘Shawn Marion’

Whither the Suns in the Western Conference

September 16, 2008

At the beginning of last season, this corner forecast the precipatous decline of ‘Seven Seconds or Less … and then went on to proclaim early-on that, after 3 years at-or-near the top of the Western Conference, knocking on the door of the NBA Finals, Phoenix WOULD NOT EVEN MAKE IT OUT OF THE 1st ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS LAST SEASON …

* NBA Playoffs Preview [2007-2008]
* Legitimate Contenders in the NBA: Part IV
* Eclipse of The Suns: An Update
* Hubris, The Big Aristotle and the Phoenix Suns
* Eclipse of the Suns

which is precisely what happened.


Looking back on 2007-2008 …

Q1. What exactly did the Suns accomplish, since the start of last season?
A1. By …

* Replacing Mike D’Antoni with Steve Kerr [former PG with the Bulls & Spurs]
* Adding Grant Hill [6-8, 225]
* Replacing Shawn Marion [6-7, 230] with Shaquille O’Neal [7-1, 325]
* Replacing Mike D’Antoni with Terry Porter [former PG with the Blazers]
* Retaining & then elevating Alando Tucker [6-6, 205]
* Adding Robin Lopez [7-0, 255], Matt Barnes [6-7, 226], Goran Dragic [6-4, 180], Sean Singletary [6-0, 185] and Louis Amundson [6-9, 225]

they’ve changed the entire culture of the organization … AND dramatically improved their chances of returning to the upper echelon of the Western Conference next season and beyond.

That’s what they’ve done in Phoenix over the last 12 months.

Whereas, last year at this time, the Suns were an ALL OFFENSE, NO DEFENSE & POOR REBOUNDING team, using a bandjo-tight 8-man rotation … with almost no legit chance to ever win four [4] consecutive series in the NBA playoffs [what it takes to claim the title!] … as they head to training camp this year … this is NO LONGER the eternal and/or external make-up of this team.

THIS TEAM, this season … with the line-up it can now put on the floor, night-in and night-out:

1 – Nash [6-3, 178]
2 – Bell [6-5, 215]
3 – Hill
4 – Stoudemire [6-10, 249] 
5 – Shaq
1 – Singletary [or Dragic]
2/1 – Barbosa [6-3, 202]
3/2 – Tucker [or Barnes]
4/3 – Diaw [6-8, 235] [or Amundson]
5 – Lopez
1 – Dragic [or Singletary]
3 – Barnes [or Tucker]
4 – Amundson
3 – Piatkowski [?]
4/5 – Marks [?]

is as deep and athletically talented as any other outfit in the Western Conference,

this side of the LA Lakers, and

has a solid chance to return to the Western Conference Playoffs … WITH a legit opportunity to win a round or two and, possibly, advancing to the WC Finals, once again … as an upper echelon team, in the NBA.

By returning the focus in Phoenix to what makes for a championship calibre product, in this League … i.e. a commitment to REBOUNDING, Team Defense and a Balanced [higly structured] Team Offense … Steve Kerr may have accomplished in just one season at the helm something which Jerry Colangelo, Bryan Colangelo & Mike D’Antoni [before him] were NOT able to do over the course of their careers in the ‘Valley of the Sun’ … i.e. transform this team into a LEGITIMATE CONTENDER for an NBA championship … i.e. please see, What it takes to win the NBA Championship.

Which is not an easy feat … working for an owner with the reputation of one Robert Sarver.

Q2. Could it be … ‘The Rising of a New Sun[s] in Phoenix‘ this season? 
A2. Yes, Sir, indeed … it just might be that exact thing.


Turning up the Heat in Miami, Part II

February 11, 2008

Seems as though some astute NBA observers …

e.g. Kelly Dwyer, Yahoo! Sports: Behind the Boxscore, where reprises happen

began to see yesterday what was alluded to … here … last week, re: the upcoming ‘climate change’ in South Florida.

Despite their loss to the Lakers (94-104) – who are very very good right now – as Hubie Brown (NBA TV Analyst) told the ‘Hoops World’ (during the 1st half of ABC’s national broadcast),

“Shawn Marion is an energizer … that, when they (the Heat) get (Udonis) Haslem back, look out!”

If Pat Riley can resign ‘the Matrix‘, add the right Free Agent signing(s) this summer (Rasho Nesterovic?), and then secure a solid (Lottery?) pick in the 2008 NBA Draft … the Heat should be right back in the middle of the Eastern Conference next season … playing an exciting (Elton?) Brand of basketball.

Turning up the Heat in Miami

February 7, 2008

In the aftermath of trading Shaquille O’Neal, for Shawn Marion & Marcus Banks, these are daunting numbers for Miami … 


#15, last place, in the Eastern Conference (EC)

10 games back of the 8th, and final, playoff spot

#27 (last in the EC) in Rebound Differential (-3.23) … a vital statistic, in the NBA, which Determines Winners from Losers …

#30 (last in the NBA) in Scoring Differential (-7.63).

Q1. Where does the Heat go from here?

A1. Straight up … with a bullet … in the Eastern Conference standings.

Fact #1. At 36 years of age, The Diesel simply cannotDefend, Rebound and/or Finish around the basket, at a very high level, any more … with a +15.84 Efficiency Rating this year (Career Averages). 

Fact #2. At 30 years of age, The Matrix is still a Rebounding, Defending, scoring machine, who is performing at or above his Career Averages this season … with a +23.74 Efficiency Rating.

Adding Marion & Banks to the Heat’s current line-up, thusly:

PG – Jason Williams (6-1, 180)
OG – Dwyane Wade (6-4, 216)
SF – Shawn Marion (6-7, 230)
PF – Udonis Haslem (6-8, 235)
C – Mark Blount (7-0, 250)

Bench Players
G – Marcus Banks (6-2, 212)
G – Daquan Cook (6-5, 205)
G/F – Ricky Davis (6-7, 205)
F – Dorell Wright (6-9, 210)
PF – Alexander Johnson (6-10, 230)
C – Earl Barron (7-10, 245)

PG – Chris Quinn (6-2, 175)
PG – Smush Parker (6-4, 190)
C – Joel Anthony (6-9, 245)

instantaneously makes Miami into:

i) A better Rebounding team;

ii) A better Defensive team, especially in the half-court, with a plethora of athletic, good-sized guards, forwards and centers; and,

iii) A better Offensive team, capable of playing an up-tempo game by scoring often in transition, in bunches, from high percentage shots. 

Q2. Did the transaction help the Suns solidify their status as one of several “contending” teams in the Western Conference?

A2. Definitely.


Q3. Did it help the Heat regain a measure of respectibility this season (short term), and heading to the future (long term)?

A3. Without a doubt!

With a re-energized Pat Riley, two viable scoring options, D-Wade & S-Marion (plus, an outstanding defender) … if the Heat can return U-Haslem to full health

Do not be at all surprised to see Miami challenge for the 8th (and final) Playoff spot, in the EC, before the end of this season.


Eclipse of The Suns

February 6, 2008

In his heart-of-hearts, 5-time NBA Champion, part owner & GM, Steve Kerr knows that Phoenix, as constituted … playing the “style” of basketball advocated by Head Coach, Mike D’Antoni, i.e. Offense first & foremost; Defense & Rebounding distant after-thoughts … has absolutely zero (“0”) chance of ever winning an NBA championship.

What it takes to win the NBA Championship 

But … should he actually decide to trade Shawn Marion & Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O’Neal … what he’d be doing for this franchise would be mortgaging the Suns’ foreseeable future for a chance to win it all in the next 2 years. 

Suns will regret trading for Shaq

Shaquille O’Neal is a venerable and accomplished Center in the annuls of the NBA – a veritable legend – who was once THE Dominant Force in the League but who, unfortunately, can no longer play the game at that same level today: 

07-08 MIA 32 32 28.5 0.581 0.000 0.482 3.0 4.8 7.8 1.4 0.6 1.7 2.91 4.00 14.2
Career   1013 1004 36.4 0.580 0.050 0.524 3.8 7.7 11.5 2.7 0.6 2.4 2.86 3.50 25.6

That said, however, if inserted into the Suns’ revamped line-up, thus:


Steve Nash, PG

Raja Bell, OG

Grant Hill, SF

Amare Stoudamire, PF

Shaq, C

Key Bench Players

Leandro Barbosa, G

D.J. Strawberry, G
Alando Tucker, G
Eric Piatkowski, G-F

Boris Diaw, F

Sean Marks, F-C

Brian Skinner, C

and, permitted to play within a conventional “style” of NBA basketball, e.g. similar to what Steve Nash was required to play when he teamed with Dirk Nowitzki, in Dallas, which took their team to the Western Conference Finals …

How good would Shaquille O’Neal really have to be – and, For how many minutes a night? – in order to, instantaneously, re-make the Phoenix Suns into a PRIME FORCE in the NBA for the next two years (the length of his current contract)?

Hmmmmmmmm … 14.2 PPG; 7.8 RPG; 1.4 APG; 1.7 BPG … in combination with Nash (a 2-time MVP), Bell, Hill (a multi-time All-Star) & Stoudemire (a multi-time All-Star), supported by Barbosa, Strawberry, Tucker, Piatkowski, Diaw, Marks & Skinner.

The so-called ‘basketball experts’ who feel that Steve Kerr doesn’t know what he’s doing, should he decide to complete this trade … are doing nothing more than MOURNING the LOSS of what THEY BELIEVE to be the Avant Garde way The Game SHOULD be played (in their eyes) in the NBA today … i.e. delivering “fast-paced & highly entertaining” basketball to the masses … which is what the Suns have done since the 2004-2005 season.

But Steve Kerr, if you asked him … would be only glad to say, “Forget that … I Want To Win My 6th NBA Championship … Nothing More and Nothing Less; Avant Garde basketball be damned! … and, this move, right here, is the BEST WAY for me to make this happen with this team, under the current landscape (i.e. after the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol).”

Full Speed Ahead, Mr. Kerr! … it’s the only chance you’ve got to successfully fend off challenges from the other top teams in the Western Conference, i.e. the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Portland Trail Blazers, over the next decade.

Carpe Diem!