Wow Suns fans. Reading the comments and listening to the local sports talk radio one would think our team started the season as favorites to win it all and suddenly and unexpectedly fell apart. All the negativity has me confused.
Where exactly do fans think this team should be by now? We are a 6 or 7 seed in the West and that's exactly how we look. I am sorry if your hopes are being dashed but that's where this team ended last year and that's where this team started this year.
There's a good chance we will improve as the season progresses and if we get lucky on the injury front we might not get bounced in the first round. Until then, I find it much more enjoyable to watch for signs of improvement as the season progresses then dwell on the mistakes of the past. Especially as long as The Big Mistake is playing so well.
Shaq isn't going anywhere and if he wasn't playing better then Amare then this wouldn't be "his team" right now. Nash is not going to get younger and suddenly be able to play like it's 2006 again. Boris Diaw is not going to be an all-star. But together this group has a lot of talent and with enough time might just be decent. Or, they may never figure it out and ego's and dissent might tear the team apart before they ever get a chance. I am a homer and will at least give them time to fail before calling it quits and calling for a coaching change or a trade or a new GM.
Yes, it blows getting smoked by a Heat team that was on fire after getting embarrassed by the Blazers. Having our MVP wannabe go MIA isn't much fun to watch. Seeing former all NBA defensive player get abused like a school yard nerd calling for less recess is disheartening to say the least.
But did you really think this team with a new coach preaching defense for the first time in years and trying to deepen the rotation beyond seven would be better by now?
There's no question that the Suns need to improve. They know it. We know it. If the playoff's started in December we would be through.
Fortunately, the playoffs don't start in December. The plan for this year has ALWAYS been to learn on the fly how to play team defense and at least two styles of offense all the while incorporating rookies and new players into a deeper rotation. There is no way that it was going to look great by December.
Let's not forget that the player who's individually stunk the worst night in and night out is one-trick Raja who unless he's spotting up for a three is useless on both ends of the floor. It doesn't help that we've been the thinnest at this position with Tucker still on the shelf and LB barely having a chance to play at all. Having no depth behind our worst starter is not something you can exactly coach around with an adjustment.
Speaking of adjustments, I've noticed some critique of Porter on this front.
Did anyone else notice that after three blown entry passes against the Heat's fronting defense Porter called a time out and low and behold there was adjustments. The ball rotated strong to weak or strong to the high arc where Shaq sealed his man for an entry pass. Those passes that no longer were attempted by Sean the Rookie but instead were coming in from Grant Hill, the team's second best distributor. This reminds me of a few years ago when the zone would stifle D'Antoni's vaunted offense. It took a bit of time but the Suns learned how to play through that and they will learn how to play against this type of defense as well.
Instead of leaving Raja (our alleged defensive stopper) to continue to get thrashed by Wade, Porter "hide him" on Marion and let Hill or Barnes try and slow Flash.
Has anyone else noticed Shaq coming out of the lane to trap ball handlers for this first time ever in a Suns uniform?
Are you seeing Amare get the ball in the low post or Shaq clearing out so LB can drive?
I don't agree with every move Porter makes but I do think his honeymoon period should probably extend beyond one month of play and a .647 record.
Sure, the Suns have only beaten one good team but I seem to recall the same thing in previous years. Remember going 0-4 against the Hornets and 1-3 against the Lakers last year? Of course, I also remember going 3-1 against the Spurs during the regular season that didn't matter much come spring time either.
I am getting tired of preaching patience (get it?) but that's exactly what's needed. Even after an poor showing at home on national TV. We got beat by a Heat time that was seriously pissed and a couple of our guys didn't show up ready to play.
We've seen this before from Amare and we've also see him get his act together and go on an extended tear. I hope we see that soon. There's not much this team is going to do without him but in the mean time there's a lot the team can do to get better.