Besides the given contract renewal of Steve "the Genius" Kerr, the management of Suns Free Agents, and the taking care of the upcoming draft, I think the next thing for the Suns are:
...type of defensive specialist / ace stopper if not a "Kobe
Killer stopper minimizer condenser regulator you what I mean" (I don't mean to sound bitter).
Grant Hill, good defense - "but not good enough"; Jared Dudley, well great effort but also still "not great enough"; Earl Clark, the future "Kobe yada yada"? Possibly, I think. Could this be another one of the Genius' workings like Goran, RoLo, Jared and Channing? Probably, I think.
Earl was drafted to match-up mainly against the "hybrid bigs" - Dirk, Bargnani, Odom etc. But I think it was also mentioned during his draft work-outs that he can stay in front of guards. And I'm really excited to have seen flashes of those this season. It would be more exciting to see to have him step up to that role of defensive specialist next season alongside Grant Hill and Jared Dudley or even much better than those two (damn why did I ever forget to mention Lou? Shoot! A bad omen)
Getting the "Twin Tower"
Are things starting to look like the Phoenix Suns is transforming into a clone of San Antonio Spurs? Most likely? Except that we are the more exciting version and that we have yet to win a hardware (damn that's painful to write). As Steve almost always say - winning a championship needs size, enough said.
The last Champion Dynasty - being Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls - was the last one I know of that hasn't that much size (and by size we don't mean Longley-Wennington, but - Shaquille O'Neal of the Champion Lakers, TD-David Robinson, Shaq - Alonzo Mourning, KG - Perkins).
Now we have Amare - RoLo. But as we all know, our Amare's defense has a long way of ‘polishing’ to go (that is if he's still to be 'ours'). MJ's Bulls I think, only won without as much size mainly because of the MJ-Scottie Pippen Duo plus the 'steel-solid' starters in Rodman, Harper, and role players: 6th man-Kukoc, 3-Man Kerr and those other guys.
Well if Steve Kerr can bring his version of Danny Ainge's Franchise-Players-'3', say D-Wade, KD and D-Superman in Phoenix (saliva
drooling gushing ), then that'll definitely be another Fantasy Basketball dream come true for me. Otherwise, bring in the 'Twin Tower' as this is the Championship structure Phoenix right now seems to be headed into.
This, probably coming from another pick in the draft as budget I think is tight with the money flowing first into Suns free agents, not to mention "Amare-championship-not-money-Stoudemire".
What's Next Side Dish...
It's tough. I love this guy like I do with Alando Tucker. Definitely he is talented and skilled, 6th man of the year worthy, explosive and 'Brazilian-blurry'. But now he's a "want", no longer a "need". And for a '$7 Mn plus something' player - he's got to play a larger role - the 6th man role and it could no longer be in Phoenix, sad as it is to say. But surely he will blossom in that role for another team especially a fast-paced one like the injury-plagued Warriors. I have to say - trade him for that 'Twin Tower' or trade exception we can use to get another Superstar if we lose Amare.
Dirk vs. Amare
C'mon it's got to be Amare - Chemistry wise and style-of-play-wise - without even mentioning Mark Cuban. Getting first to his 'down-sides’, I'm sure Amare WILL still improve on his weaknesses - defense, leadership, dribbling, rebounding - he actually already has improved in these areas this season. We all have seen that he CAN improve - he has done it several times before and we know it. Also, I think Amare is currently already in that 'bend' turning it and becoming a more complete ace player, if not the face of the franchise, a hall of famer player or a Max player to the likes of TD, King James and Kobe. He's in the bend, just quite a long bend.
Chemistry is a given - Amare's cohesion with the team is tighter than ever especially after this amazing huge run in the Playoffs. Like Grant Hill said - this is an unfinished business - it is a continuing business - and we have seen this year that the Suns have gone far further on it than last year. And I believe that Amare IS still a huge part of Suns business to finish the mission of winning it all for the first time.
Amare is still an enormous part of the ship because he plays a huge role in Suns style of play. I think the Suns offense relies a lot on the 'choose-your-poison-triple-threat' plays that begin in the Steve-Amare pick and roll - Threat 1: Steve Nash going strong; Threat 2: Amare rolling; and Threat 3: the 3pt shooters opening up from the collapsing defense of the other team. Popovich himself said it - makes the Suns very hard to defend. Even switches on Nash weren't the answer. Amare is an important link to this pick and roll connection, a Suns Nash-to-Stoudemire signature move much like to the ‘Stockton-to-Malone’ move. He is the Suns 'Master-Finisher'. And going back to chemistry - pick and roll plays have got a lot to do with knowing your teammate on the other side of the pick and those around you. That kind of 'feel' of your teammates definitely takes time to build. Steve and Grant have not much that many years left to boot.
Dirk on the meanwhile sure has his upsides. He can score more at will by himself, scores better with the perimeter fade-away shots and has the 3 pt shot. But I think he'll all change the dynamics of Suns play, which may be risky especially at this stage of Nash's and Hill's bodies' irreversible setting down.
The SF - PF spots are pretty tight right now especially when Suns are trying to insert Earl Clark in the line-up, and more so if that 'Twin Tower" materializes. But I think he should be kept, because he can still be an invaluable 'Big' reserve. Also in 1-3 years time Grant Hill will definitely be leaving and Looou's familiarity with the system, the chemistry with the guys, his high character and energy and great work ethics to improve and add dimensions to his game, all makes him an outstanding piece for the Suns moving forward. Plus - he's young and fits well to our theme of youth development and with all the intangible things he brings to the table, his price should be very reasonable for the luxury-tax-conscious Suns.
Re-sign. He has a huge potential in becoming steadier in the role of pulling the opponent's big men far out from the zone with his 3 pt. shooting. Though at times his defensive rotations have lapses (bet you've seen those), most times his defense is just decent and has a huge space for improvement. If within the sound range of salary, which would be $3-6 Mn in my opinion, Suns should keep him.
With Steve Kerr coming back as the Suns GM, I'm confident our offseason is going to be fruitful and the Suns team next season will be more adaptable to the "Kobe's" of the league (I just cannot pretend that I'm all over this. Great to have you guys around).
Of course this is just what I think the Suns should do next. What do you think?