It's understandable why one could think the last two games could be a bust. With lack of personnel and a team still in diapers, it is expected that the Phoenix Suns should have destroyed the Clippers team all season. However, they did not destroy this team all season before the last two games. As a matter of fact the clippers gave the suns a run for their money in the first two season outings with the Phoenix Suns barely winning by 14 points combined for the two games. This time around though, it was a different story. This time around was a story of domination. In a back to back set with the Clips the Suns seem to have righted all of the wrong. They showed us why we should believe and that they still have a taste for winning.
Change in minutes-
The Suns new coach not only changed the rotation in minutes, he made it make more sense than I have seen from the Suns organization in a long time. The rotation allowed for starters to be fresh and rested for key points in the game. The first part of this season featured nearly no rations and the same in seasons past. The entire bench seemed to be pleased in getting, particularly early in the game, minutes as they produced and in most cases not only held the Clippers down but actually left their own mark before the starters returned. This is a HUGE change from anything we have seen.
Points in the paint-
One thing I think this team has learned and taken from the Porter appearance is points in the paint. Points in the paint are arguably one of the most important aspects to basketball as it is a judgment of how well your offense is playing against the defense. In the D’Antoni era the Suns would often resort to three point shooting and abandon all other aspects of the run and gun. With the lack of consistent three point shooting and the availability of players who can post and create their own shot the Suns have the ability to put up outstanding numbers in the paint. That is exactly what they did against the clippers. The test will come when they play a Boston team that has a better defensive paint presence. We have only seen two games in this system but what we have seen if consistent would be devastating to most teams even the hardened Celtics. If you score more points than the other team. You win.
The old man can. Shaq obviously older yet rejuvenated. Shaq can and will get up and down the floor in the SSOL system. He doesn’t need to be down the floor for the play to start. If the team scores before he makes it to half court then great. If the defense gets back in transition then it is simple to pull the ball out and wait for Shaq and the offense to set. This will give the team the hybrid feel and the offensive toughness for the playoffs while allowing players like Amare and Nash a chance to work Suns magic.
Defense needs work-
Defense under porter was terrible. Players seemed confused about when to help, who to help on, and what to help with. Most of all they seemed to be unable or unwilling to adjust to changes in the offense of the opposing team. During glimpses we have seen this team play some terrific spurts of defense at some key points in games. The question is if we can string a few of those together against good offensive teams. I havn't seen anough to expect much here yet.
Even though we have old players and a team dependant high injury risk point guard in Steve Nash this team could have success and with some luck (which we have never had) maybe even go deep into the playoffs. The SSOL style makes up for some defense deficiencies and in the past allowed us to compete with even the hated Spurs for 7 games. Our post and paint presence is stronger than it ever has been with Shaq, Amare, and an array of guards who can drive and post. If our bench can deliver half of the performance of these last two games our starters will get the rest they need. And as long as you score more points defense becomes less of a concern doesn't it?
It could happen … Just keep the belief.
These are just my opinions and not much statistical data as I don’t believe any of it applies due to all of the changes that have been made since last season. We still really do not know what to expect from this team as it stands today.