Driving Over Speed Bumps: Suns Weekly Checkup for 02/25/08

First things first, srp has an update for his Call Your Shot contest.

Here's the Pre-trade vs. Current numbers:

Pre-trade Stat: Current Stat: Differential:
PPG 109.4 109.1 -.3
OPG 103.3 104.2 +.9
FG% 49.2% 49.1% -.1%
OFG% 45% 45.3% +.3%
TREB Diff -6 -5.03 +.97
Win% 70.8% 67.9% -2.9%

Its still early but here's the headline so far:
Offense and Defense are worse. Rebounding is better. Winning is worse (4-4 since the trade).

And finally here's the standings in our little contest and the "score" which is based on the absolute value of the prediction vs. actual. I can post the actual calculation used sometime later.

1st: Mazzou - 0.14
2nd: Hawk42 - 0.2
3rd: kidzero - 1.06

The rest
kidzero: 1.81
kj7: 2.16
srp: 2.50
Aluminum Foyle: 3.66
Turumbar: 6.06
AZSEAFan : 6.56
SilverSprings: 7.46
calphxfan: 8.40
Jsun: 11.36

Now, on with your regularly-scheduled weekly checkup.

The Shaq era got off to a shaky start if you're judging solely by the win/loss column. The Suns played a terrific game offensively in Shaq's debut on Wednesday, but still fell short to the Lakers. On Friday, the Suns put on one of their best defensive showings of the season against the Boston Celtics, and were able to win while only scoring 85 points. Unfortunately, yesterday's game against the Pistons is what happens when you combine Wednesday's defense with Friday's offense: You get a game so ugly that it makes you wish you were watching 80-year-old ladies dancing instead of your team playing like it was 80 years old. Seriously, what happened yesterday? I honestly thought that unsightly debacle against the Lakers at the start of the season was the worst we'd see from the Suns all year. I'd have to say this one topped that and then some, if for no other reason than this time, I couldn't use "I'm on vacation" as an excuse not to watch. But maybe we just need to be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day and all that. Shaq would seem to agree.

For those who missed it, we had a few interviews posted this week. We learned what it's like to be a beat writer from the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro. Suns.com's Dan Hilton also checked in to let us know what it was like around the office the day the Suns traded for Shaq. Finally, we heard from ESPN Deportes' Alvaro Martin on a variety of subjects including Shaq's impact on the Suns, and the popularity of the NBA in Latin America.

Last but not least, srp did some analysis on whether Steve Nash is tired or losing a step. I personally think he's looked a little worn down for quite some time now, but the explanation for that could be anything from me imagining it to a lingering injury that hasn't been disclosed to the media. Hopefully, it's nothing that a visit from Rick Celebrini wouldn't cure.

Up next, the Suns will take to the road for a back-to-back set against the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets. Then, they'll return home to face the 76ers on Saturday. In other words, we have two "no excuse for losing" games and one "nothing to lose" game this week, when it comes to working Shaq into the offense. If the Suns want to prove this crazy thing is going to work, they can start by winning that one against the Hornets. That's something the pre-trade Suns weren't able to do this season.

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