Yes, this is the original Suns team logo...hot!
Last Year's Record: 55-27
Key Losses Departures: Mike the Stash, Brian the Goat, some bench guys that never played, DJ Strawberry and I guess Gordan Giricek who was only rented for a few months anyway and decided to play in Turkey instead of signing with yet another NBA team (I don't think his team mates like him very much)
7 seconds or less
Key Additions: Coach Porter, 80,000 Trailblazer fans, Matt Barnes, Robin "Ro-Fro' Lopez, Goran Dragic , Louis "Pony Boy" Amundson and Alando Tucker who might actually play this year.
Defense, rebounding, toughness and accountability
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
Oh, not that much. Typical quiet summer in Phoenix. Steve Kerr likes to chill by the pool and occasionally replace his head coach and entire bench. No biggie.
There were a couple of rookies signed and that was kind of nice after you know, selling all those picks. But really, why bother right? It's not like the Suns would have wanted Luol Deng or Sergio Rodriquez anyway.
The Dragic kid did come with some drama but then his bags arrived and we are all cool now. I do worry about his very pale complexion in this sun but not so much about his game. He won't score much but will lead rookies in assists will impress with his passing, vision and general smoothiness with the ball.
I got to see Rookie Lopez play in Vegas and now a few times in the preseason. He's a super charged guy who like most young super-charged guys will likely pick up tons of fouls and be wildly inconsistent this year. I do think he will blossom into a very nice NBA center which the Suns desperately need since the other one is kind of...senile
Matt Barnes will be back to being Matt Barnes of two years ago. He will start in front Grant Hill (an idea I love because it brings Hill off the bench with Dragic). Barnes is an intense guy that brings another level of tough to Phoenix. He's basically Raja Bell but bigger and with more tattoos. And he can drive and finish too and might even play point guard!?!
Alando Tucker is most likely to surprise folk. After four great years as a power forward at Wisconsin he's going to play shooting guard for the Suns. He's great in the lane both on the glass and taking his man to the post and he can shoot well from mid-range and decent from 3. Mostly I am impressed with his on-court maturity. He doesn't look like a guy who barely played in his rookie year. He's going to get some notice this year and he deserves it.
And then there's that entire new coaching staff thing and the whole ditching of the run-n-gun and something I think they call D Fence?
2. What are the team's biggest strengths?
With all the drama from Shaq's mouth and Nash's back and Porter's making the guys do defensive slides in practice the reality is that Amare Freaking Stoudemire is the most offensively dominant player in the game.
Now that he will have a full year playing the power forward instead of being mismatched against bigger-assed Centers we will see that the man actually can play defense as well. We will also see eye protection become cool again. It's about time.
And yes, Steve Nash is still alive and kicking and at least the 3rd or 4th best point guard in the West. Older. Wiser. Still the best pure shooter in the game.
3. What are the team's biggest weaknesses?
The Suns are pretty well balanced at all positions and have a nice mix of vets and youth. They will likely struggle as most teams do getting used to a new style of play that includes a motion oriented offense that milks the clock and an emphasis on defense.
Beyond that, the Achilles heal is at Center. We know the Big Heal will probably only play 40-50 games and leaves leave Rookie Lopez carrying a lot of the load. Behind him you end up having to move Amare or Boris Diaw back to the pivot and neither is a good choice. There are also some signals that Pony Boy Amundson will back up Lopez during Shaq's nap time(s).
4. What are the goals for this team?
- Limit the number of restraining orders
- Adjust to Porter's new "work the clock" style
- Hold teams to under 44 FG% and about 98 points per game
- Avoid too many foot-in-mouth incidents
- Make it back to the Western Conference Finals (I give this about a 20% chance)
- Make Chad Ford eat his words
5. How many fans will the Suns have after people realize they are playing like the Pistons?
Great question. We've already seen the bandwagon lighten and good riddance. The Suns needed to change and since their old coach wouldn't budge, they pulled the trigger on a new guy.
Some people will mourn the passing of the D'Antoni era and for all the excitement he brought and the credit he earned, it was time to move on. Letting the other team score quickly so that you can run it back on them was a blast. So was disco.
So bandwagon fans - you are always welcome in LA. Or New Orleans. Or Philly for that matter.
Suns fans are looking forward to a season of lowered expectations and back to basics basketball. Call us the Little Hot Fundamental.
Predicted Record: 55-27 (why change a good thing)