I was perusing the ESPN boards the other day and I found a fantastic post(author GMATCallahan) addressing the whole "Marion vanished in the playoffs" schtick.
I thought I'd share it with you all:
"It's a myth that Marion "vanishes" in the playoffs. Because a half-court game isn't his strong suit, he may offensively "vanish" for certain stretches against certain opponents (read: San Antonio), but his career playoff averages are as follows: 17.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, .463 field goal percentage, .346 three-point field goal percentage, .811 free throw percentage. He's also turned in the following single-game playoff performances:
In those five games (all of which contributed to series victories), Marion averaged 34.0 points and 14.6 rebounds.
Also, in that seven-game 2006 Western Conference Semifinals versus a much bigger and physically stronger Clipper team, Marion averaged 25.6 points and 12.6 rebounds (vintage Barkley numbers), including 33.3 points and 12.7 rebounds over the last three games, after the series had been tied at 2-2. And in two career Game Sevens (both in 2006), Marion has averaged 22.0 points and 9.5 rebounds, shooting .545 from the field.
I noted Marion's career playoff averages, which are very solid and representative of his overall performance. Indeed, he's produced many other impressive games that I didn't bother to include, and here's just one of the many more.
As for Marion versus the Spurs, it's true that he suffered an offensively unproductive 2005 Western Conference Finals, during which he averaged just 7.8 points, shooting .391 from the field and .143 on three-pointers while only attempting three free throws in five games (although he did average 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals). Bruce Bowen really limited him and that one poor series forms the basis for the exaggerated "Marion vanishes in the playoffs" notion.
However, Marion bounced back smartly in the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals versus San Antonio by averaging 15.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 1.2 steals, a .521 field goal percentage, and a .471 three-point field goal percentage. Included in that series were a couple standout performances from him, as Marion proved the Suns' best player in Game Five (24 points, 17 rebounds) while Stoudemire and Diaw were serving their suspensions. Marion also stepped-up in Game Three (26 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals) while Stoudemire was in foul trouble due in part to some questionable calls.
How about Game Six of the 2003 Western Conference First Round versus San Antonio, when Marion posted 24 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, and 4-8 three-point shooting?
How about Game Six of the 2005 Western Conference Semifinals at Dallas, when Marion delivered a stunning 38 points, 16 rebounds, 2 steals, and just 1 turnover, playing 51 of a possible 53 minutes, shooting 13-28 from the field, 4-7 on threes, and 8-9 from the foul line, and helping limit Nowitzki to 9-25 shooting?
Marion thus helped send the Suns to their first conference finals appearance in a dozen years."
I suppose that the main reason that I'm posting this now is because it's become extremely apparent to all of us just how important Shawn was to this team. I found it really weird just how quickly a lot of Suns fans that I heard on the radio/saw on TV/read in the forums got sucked into the Suns Spin Machine; Shaq was proclaimed our savior immediately, and it seemed like the majority of casual Suns fans(nobody here fits that label obviously) took the bait. When I went to the Lakers game, it really was sad to see just how quickly Shawn was forgotten. Heck, Tom Chambers was sipping the Shaq Kool-Aid even in our first game without 'Trix against NO, without once mentioning or paying homage to what Marion gave this team.
I know our record against the top teams was concerning, and that something seemed different this year, but I still felt like we had a shot, even if it was a "puncher's chance" as Kerr stated, to win it all, and I honestly don't feel that way anymore. I know that all is not lost, but there is no more room for error, and I don't know if we'll be able to figure it out in time for the playoffs.
I'm a huge fan of FreeDarko and everything FreeDarko stands for, so allow me to quote Bethlehem Shoals's reaction after he learned of The Trade:
"And with that, the dream died. I heard Obama say in every way imaginable tonight that a change was gonna come, and yet he left out the part where, for the NBA, that train stopped hard. I don't know what Kerr is thinking, or particularly care. I guess this team could be tough for the playoffs, if Shaq's got one last run left in him. But this site could give a fuck less about that. Tonight, Steve Kerr trampled on the ideals that sustain us. Politics as usual. Grind-it-out big man ball, no matter how compromised the giant. One last shot as a mechanistic ploy, not an appeal to the gods, faith, and beauty's left-hand zephyr.
If the Suns were going to win a title, it should've been on their own terms. They should've thrown themselves back in it again, knowing that they'd brought something to this game, something that could beat back others. It would've taken a little luck, or a particularly torrid run, but that's what their whole style was predicated on. Now, we're back in the realm of positivism. Rotting positivism. As far as the eye can see.
I'll be burning alive in a big pile of wheat."
The Suns, to me, were more than just a team; they were an ideal, a revolution of sorts. If they had won, I believe it would have changed NBA history. I know that the popular sentiment is to win, and to win any way you can, because that's what it's all about, but....that's not what it was all about to me, and as taboo as that sounds, I'm not sure how happy I'll be if we win this title without Shawn Marion.
*I reserve the right to retract that statement if we do somehow win the title.