I originally titled this post "Let's GO!!!" but in light of the Amare news this morning, I have gone back and rewritten much of it as we can now only hope for the best. Hopefully, it isn't too disjointed though - that being said, let's go!
So the Suns are off and running once again. Since the Suns went back to the old D'Antoni style, they have averaged 141 points (granted it's a small sample size of 2 games against the Clippers, but 141 points is 141 points) and a lot of people have gotten overly excited while others remain skeptical. It's no coincidence (well...actually it is very much a coincidence) that this comes just a month after President Obama entered office with a lot of people being overly excited and others being very skeptical. I choose to look at both with a cautious optimism while enjoying the new energy brought by the two events.
As a country, there is a renewed sense of hope among citizens (no he's not going to pay your mortgage but maybe he'll do better than the last guy...we'll have to wait and see) and you could feel a change in the attitude of the Suns as they went back to running these last two games. Of course, this was before Amare went down - just got the text this morning after the first draft was written that he's out for 8 weeks after eye surgery...what happened to wearing the goggles the rest of his career again? Either way, we should enjoy the return to the run'n'gun and hope for the best - here's why:
(Okay, I really just wanted the first 17 seconds of the clip above, but whatever, I can only deal with what YouTube gives me)
We now have an exciting team to root for.
The Suns have instantaneously gone back to being one of the most exciting teams in the league. Excitement doesn't just come with running, but with being able to win games, too. The Suns have the talent to beat any team in the league on any given night. We now have a system in place that maximizes that talent and makes us a wildcard the rest of the season.
The players are having fun.
Having fun while playing basketball is very underrated in the NBA. People say that because this is a job that they get paid millions to do, the players should perform regardless of what's going on. But think about your own job...personally, if I get a project that I have no interest in, am I really going to put forth the same effort that I would for a project that is fun and allows me to showcase my full abilities? NO FREAKING WAY. Watching the Suns destroy the Clippers, you saw everybody smiling and having fun. Remember the highlight of Amundson leading the break, giving it up to Nash and then being rewarded with the alley-oop toss? The camera panned over to an elated bench led by none other than Amare Stoudemire. As with anything, when the players are enjoying themselves out on the court, they tend to perform better. There has never been a better example of this than Amare - who is known to lose interest rapidly if he isn't enjoying himself out on the court.
Were we really going anywhere with Shaq and the slow it down offense?
Look at the body of work, could anyone honestly say that we were a contender this year? NO. Can anyone deny that we were a contender the past four years? NO. The truth is, you have to give your players the best chance to succeed and for the Suns, that means running. We have one of the best PGs in the league and a lot of dynamic scorers. If the Suns can survive the remainder of the season and get into the playoffs (an extremely difficult task playing without Amare and given the current situation out West), they could surprise a lot of teams if Amare can recover and get back on the court. We'll still have Shaq there to anchor us if it becomes necessary to slow it down and go into the post, but we don't rely on him as much in the run'n'gun. Remember last year, the Spurs exploited the fact that Shaq was even on the court with the hack-a-Shaq technique and it completely threw them off. Imagine if we get in this year and then have a healthy, hungry (there's always hope, right?), and rested Amare Stoudemire...Might we see the same type of playoff performance that we saw before the microfracture surgery?
As with everything this season, there are a lot of questions surrounding this Suns squad - even more so now that Amare is out. But personally, I am looking forward to watching these Suns try and run their way into the playoffs. Remember, when Amare was out after his knee surgery, everyone thought the Suns would be dead in the water but they played their way to the Western Conference Finals. Might we see a similar run in these Suns? You have to think that the Suns are going to be forced to go smaller which means they are going to have to play even faster to make up for it. So again, I am going to hope for the best and root for this strange looking/playing squad to get back into the playoffs and be excited for the opportunity I have to watch one of the most exciting teams in the league. Will the Suns play their way back to contention? Will the team be able to handle the loss of Amare? Can we hang with the better teams in this league? I don't know - nobody does - but until it is proven otherwise, I can always hope.