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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Sun Sets on Phoenix's Playoff Hopes

It’s a slow news day and I had to come up with a cheesy title! Bear with me here.

Has there been a more disappointing team than the Phoenix Suns? In their first year since they fired Mike D’Antoni for consistently folding against the Spurs, they won’t even make the playoffs. They beat the New Orleans Hornets last night to temporarily save their playoff chances, only for the Dallas Mavericks to come swarming in and blowing out the Utah Jazz to eliminate them. This all could’ve been prevented on Sunday when they were in Dallas to try and cut their lead on the 8th seed in the Western Conference to 2 games. Instead, they gave up 81 points by halftime and got blown out.

It all started when they hired Terry Porter as head coach. Porter made it to All-Star weekend before getting dumped. The problem? Rumored chemistry issues with the players, and it wasn’t fun to watch Phoenix anymore. They were at times running a half-court offense that paralleled the San Antonio Spurs. Slowing down the game is not what these Suns were meant for.

Alvin Gentry was hired to give the Suns a chance at the playoffs, and he is currently squeaking over the .500 mark as an interim. The fast and exciting team was back, but so was the awful defense of the past that has stopped them from reaching the NBA Finals.

In a year where Shaq has played his best basketball since he won the championship with Miami, Grant Hill has been healthy all year, and Steve Nash continues to put up great numbers, they have the golf clubs ready! Why? Because it was also a year where Amare Stoudemire had a sub-par year and had an eye injury that ended his season. Steve Kerr inexplicably traded Boris Diaw and Raja Bell for Jason Richardson of the Charlotte Bobcats. They did nothing to improve their defense and instead threw away one of their best defenders in Diaw.

It really has been a trainwreck season for Phoenix, and I’m not sure the fans are going to be happy with Steve Kerr’s moves. He has caught the Suns dearly. Like the Spurs, the era has ended. The days of cruising to the playoffs is over. The days of being labeled a “serious contender” to win it all is over.

This team is getting older. Nash, Shaq, Hill, all in their 30s. Stoudemire has the knees of a 77 year old. It’s time to rebuild in the desert. Maybe trade away Amare like they had planned to 2 months ago. Hope that the lottery balls bounce their way in the draft. The only question remains is if Steve Kerr is on the hot seat after this failed season.

1 comment:

Manny Stiles said...

Kerr was brought in to build a team that made money for Cheapskate Sarver, not to build a team that won.

note: Raja Bell was the team's best defender... hands down (see:charges taken 2005-2008)

Robert Sarver has destroyed this franchise and it started LONG before they pushed D'antoni out the door. Bryan Colangelo built the funnest team to watch play in the history of the game and they shoved him out because he couldn't be forced to submit to Master Sarver's commands.

I hate it. The bastard ruined it all. This franchise is going to mire in mediocrity all because of "the bottom line". They traded away and passed over way too many draft picks for CASH - picks that would have DEFINITELY helped this team (Spanish Chocolate, Rajon Rondo, Luol Deng, on and on) and let vital role players walk for nothing (Eddie House, James Jones, etc.) and absolutely WASTED the trade of Joe Johnson - Diaw, $20mil and two draft picks they never will use) They'll trade Amare and rust away into the wind for years to come. It's too bad too. The town and yes, basketball fans everywhere deserve better.

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