Sunday, March 08, 2009

Worst Case Scenario

We needed a good road trip to keep the playoffs in sight. The Suns lost four toughly contested games, finding new ways to lose each one. They went cold in Orlando. They couldn't get a stop in Miami. They couldn't get the last shot to drop in Houston. They were out-executed in the clutch in San Antonio.

At this point it looks bleak for the Suns making the playoffs. The team hasn't quit. Nash is making plays, Shaq is still a force and different role players are contributing something each night. But this trip was a chance to step up to another level and really strengthen their case as a playoff contender. Unfortunately nothing good came out of it.

The Suns lost ground on the inconsistent Mavericks. We got word Amare Stoudemire is officially out until next season (even though it was highly unlikely he'd return). The Suns are four games back of the Mavs who currently reside in the 8 spot (aka the 'get housed by the Lakers' slot). They play two more times, including Tuesday night in Phoenix.

The team is not terrible. If they were in the East, they'd be battling for homecourt advantage in the first round. But Phoenix is in the West, where you need 50 wins to get into the party.

So maybe it's time to start thinking about the lottery. Here's the reality, as I've mentioned before. The Suns are going to battle until the season ends which means they'll be the best nonplayoff team. So the Suns are practically guaranteed (98.2% chance) of getting the 14th pick in the draft. If they don't get that pick- it'll be in the top 3 of the draft (1.8% chance of that happening). Is there a player out there who can have an instant impact at 14? Is there a rotation player that can be developed at 14? Even better question, what type of team are the Suns going to be going forward?

The Steve Kerr era has been a failure. This talented yet aging team continues to lose tough games and see a playoff run slip away. If Kerr has a strategy after the stutter-step mess this season has been, we'll see it deployed this offseason. Not sure how much faith I have in Kerr to rebuild this team quickly but perhaps some luck may finally give this franchise a boost.



At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I'm upset at Grant Hill's recent statement implying that he might not be back next year. He said something about his agent finding him a place to play, which suggests that either he plans to leave or the team doesn't want him back. Well, I want him to stay. --Josh

At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Great post, I feel that we are in about the worst position you can be, the ole "half in half out" of the playoff position. Unfortunately we'll probably end the season 2 or 3 games out of the playoffs and grab the 14th overall pick and probably pick someone terrible.

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Debt Reduction said...

It is hard seeing a good franchise become mediocre.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's it--shut it down. Start Goran Dragic, Alando Tucker and Robin Lopez to give them playing time. --Josh

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Hersey said...

It's not looking good. The team shouldn't quit though. The basketball gods don't look favorably on tanking.

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah, the Phoenix Suns don't tank. Tanking is obscene. But they *could* play as though they had nothing to lose.

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggested it last year at this time, and I'll say it again. I think the Suns should decline to pick up Nash's team option for next year. It's not a popular decision, but think about it. What good does it do to keep Nash around one more year. This team is not going to be any better next year. So why keep an aging, turnover prone point guard who can't play defense? It just doesn't make sense. The only reason to keep him would be for his trade value. But I've got to think Sarver would rather have the expiring contract.

Next year they need to make Amare the focal point and see what he can do. He can decline his option for the 2010-11 season, so it's time to make a decision about whether or not he merits another max contract. Until I see defensive improvement, I say he's not worth it. Max contracts should only be for complete, all-around superstars. Right now, Amare is not a complete player.

It's only going to get worse before it gets better. Hang in there.


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Russell. No more star treatment for Stoudemire until he absorbs some...well, not some Ron Artest, for the spectators' sake, but some Raja Bell.

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Hersey said...

I personally hope they don't renew Nash, so he can go somewhere and be fun to watch and win again (Blazers). Much like Amare, Nash's warts are more obvious now that the team is losing. You can only take away so much before a team really isn't a team anymore. Their value may seem low but it's deceptive. There are teams that Nash/Amare/Shaq could make significantly better. Sadly it's just not the Suns. This roster just isn't good together. This season has played like a bad movie. Good actors, some good scenes, overall- a disappointment.

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohio State guard Evan Turner is my man in the draft, and he can probably be had with the fourteenth pick, unless some team above #14 likes him as much as I do. He's a tall shooting guard who supposedly plays good defense and can create shots. This is a weak draft class, though. --Josh

At 9:48 PM, Blogger DV LD Debate said...

All we need going into next season is:

Starting 5:
Hill (only if he's cheap)

(Draft 2G/Scoring PG... Brandon Jennings/Ty Lawson)

I am comfortable trading both Shq and J rich if it means we can use the draft to get a second big man who isn't Rob Lo and combo sg/sf who can shoot the 3.

With those players and seriously reduced nash and diesel minutes... the team is crushing. Think of what this team could have done with good health the whole year.

Kyle Fleeger

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