Phoenix Suns: Unexpected Success for The 2012 Season
Phoenix Suns: Unexpected success for the 2012 season.
When so many blockbuster trades and free agent signings have transformed the NBA landscape, it’s easy to overlook a team that didn’t make many changes. It’s easy to overlook a Phoenix Suns team that many experts are pedicting to miss the playoffs. It’s easy to forget that last year was considered a dissapointment, and that when last season began the team was considered a playoff team. So here we sit a year later and although they haven’t made the big free agent or trade splasho of other teams, the Phoenix Suns have quietly transformed their squad. It’s important to remember that the biggest move the Suns made last year was trading for Marcin Gortat, and then making him their starting center toward the end of last year. Once the Suns traded for Gortat they became a more competitive team and if you do the math their winning percentage with Gortat over the course of a whole season last year would have likely made them a playoff team. So let’s take a look at the team and where they stand.
Point Guard: Steve Nash. Many of the so called experts call for him to be traded. These are the same experts that predict year after year that his play will decline. Steve is now 37, and remarkably led the league in assists last year. While age will inevitably catch up with him, he still remains an elite point guard. Five years ago most general managers in the league would have called him the best point guard in the game. Now, even though his play is at the same level, his age makes him appear to be past his prime. Steve Nash remains a dominant point guard and will lead the team to the playoffs this year. I also feel that Steve will make the All Star squad since a resurgent Suns team will get him the attention he deserves.
Shooting Guard: Jared Dudley. Although many fans will make the argument that Shannon Brown is a better fit due to his athleticism, Dudley has proven himself as a solid starting off guard. Although his athletic ability leaves something to be desired, his overall skill level makes him a great option. His solid defense, consistent hard play, and great outside shooting makes him a perfect fit for the team.
Small Forward: Grant Hill. Although Grant is 39 years old he remains a very good player. While many people may think of Grant as being old, the truth is that he was a highly coveted free agent this off season. Last season Grant averaged over 15 points a game, and was without a doubt the best defender on the team.
Power Forward: Channing Frye. Often considered soft, Frye has an unwarranted bad reputation for being too much of a finesse player. While Frye does have some post moves, the truth is that his greatest strength is his 3 point shooting. To tell a player that has a deadly 3 point shot that he needs to play inside more is laughable. While he is not the typical power forward Frye fits in perfectly in an offense that relies on spreading the floor.
Center: Marcin Gortat. I have a bold prediction here, Marcin will be an All Star. He averaged nearly 14 points a game and 11 rebounds as a starter last year. This year I’m picturing him averaging 16 and 12. Not many centers in the Wetern Conference, or anyone outside of some guy named Dwight Howard, can put up similar numbers. Gortat gives the Suns somehting they have always lacked, a true big man that is defensive minded as well as offensively skilled.
Reserves: The Suns picked up Shannon Brown, and expect the return of a health Robin Lopez. Combine them with Sebastian Telfair, Josh Childress and the rookied Markief Morris and the Suns have a solid bench unit. In a condensed season the Suns bench will prove to be an asset that most other teams would love to have.