After reading parts of Jack McCallum's book Seven Seconds or Less I realized something, we as fans were witnesses to something that was almost as powerful as the rivalries of old.
What the two have to do with each other maybe closer that you think, given that SSOL system brought about a major change in the NBA and created a phenomena that only Jordan, Magic, and Bird could have brought about, after my quick scanning I began to appreciate more and more what I had witnessed.
The idea of getting down the court in transition as fast as possible is not solely the invention of Mike D'antoni, it was around long before he ever grabbed a clip board or even laced up his shoes, basketball icons have been preaching it ever since the Celtics were established, well maybe not that long but close to it. In fact the idea of the whole run and gun originated in Rhode Island and was called Run-and-Shoot, but that's a different post, it was none other than Red Auerbach who perfected it with HOFer Bob Cousy running the show.
Since then there have been very few great teams that have not in some way incorporated this style into their way of playing, yes they scored less points then today but that has more to do with the invention of the shot clock and three point line than anything else, the Celtics teams of old, the Showtime Gang run by Magic Johnson, and even the Bulls to some extent. All had this in common they were unstoppable in transition, fast and, pleasing to the eye, it's no coincidence that the climax of the NBA's long storyline has been during those era's dominated by those teams, fact was they were entertaining to watch and they won two great combinations.
The revolution that was so innovative was actually a renaissance of basketball genius it had been done before but we now dedicated fans had never seen it before and up until that point were less than casual, not until a borderline all-star point guard who's expiration date seemed to be well in site and a coach who had already been once fired, did we become more than just passers-by we became real fans.
It was D'antoni like Auerbach and Nash like Cousy who orchestrated this style to perfection and gave us a glimpse of real basketball, the question in my mind at least is not whether the style is successful but whether the players can or are available to make it successful.
It seemed Phoenix had added all the right pieces with a young core and a veteran leader, they were going to take this league by storm, and for three seasons they did. While playing the ultimate game of what ifs we might be talking about a small dynasty in which during the 2005-2006 conference semi-finals against the Mavericks the Suns had won or how the Suns beat the Spurs at home in game four of the 2006-2007 playoffs something this Suns group had never done, and how that was the turning point on their way to winning the series and facing the Cavaliers who they almost certainly would have beaten.
Instead we face the reality that Amare Stoudemire had season ending surgery keeping him from the Dallas series and the gut wrenching suspension of none other than Stoudemire and maybe much worse Boris Diaw.
With that ended an small entire era of life changing basketball that changed the game itself, brought fame to the unknowns and greatness to the formerly mediocre. It brought about new fans who relished the opportunity to see their team play the Run' n Gun' Suns, until 2007-2008 season when the first piece of the power supply was bartered by an outsider who's idea of success was watching others achieve it and riding their coattails, and never again would we see the great style played in this transcendent way again.
So lets say one last good-bye to our era of Run' n Gun' as it goes away back into the vault, what we now may know is that it was bigger than the Suns and we may not see it again for a long time.