I thought the Suns were done. Amar’e out, Amundson out, Channing Frye back, Hakim Warrick, Gani Lawal, and Dwayne Collins in. I thought that these were the extent of the significant moves that the Suns were going to make.
As you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. Sullen would be a better word to describe my feelings towards the upcoming season. In my eyes, I though that they would likely be lottery bound.
Now, I am glad Frye is returning and it appears that Warrick will be successful because his skill set matches well with the way the Suns like to play. However, if these were to be the highlights of the offseason, especially when the team lost its leading scorer, then I would say that this offseason was a bad one.
So, to my surprise, while watching "Remember the Titans" on TV Sunday night with my family, I get several tweets and texts telling me that Phoenix has agreed to acquire Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress and that Leandro Barbosa and Dwayne Jones would be heading out.
It was an immediate breath of fresh air. I felt good to be a fan again. These appeared to be basketball moves as opposed to business moves, something that we as fans have not had many of in the past few seasons.
Turkoglu and Childress have the tools to be very good players in Phoenix. Turkoglu can be as good a shooter as there is in the game and is another playmaker on the court with Steve Nash, but he does not have to have the ball in his hands. He has size to cause matchup problems, but is not great defensively or on the boards.
Childress can hit the outside shot and is explosively athletic, and can play both guard and forward.
Now, I will be among the many who will lament the departure of Leandro Barbosa because of what he accomplished and how much he has lived the team and the city, but he was destined to go for many reasons, as I wrote in March. Now he will get a new start and more playing time, possibly starting. I predict he will have a stellar season and score bunches of points.
What it made me think of was the 2005 team that made the Western Conference Finals without Amare Stoudemire. The run and gun Suns are back. With the players and likely rotation, there will be lots and lots of scoring and struggles with defense and rebounding.
The one unknown factor in all of this is that the team is now very dependent on the offensive development of Robin Lopez. Turkoglu is a perimeter player, Grant Hill is a slasher, Jason Richardson is very good in the post, but against guards, and Steve Nash is not at all a post player. Unless Lopez can become the main pick-and-roll option and show a consistent ability to score down low (much like his twin brother in New Jersey), the Suns may not score anything in the paint other than fast break layups.
Aside from all of the pros and cons, what this move gave me as a fan was hope. Maybe, just maybe, we were all fooled. Maybe with the absence of a general manager there is still a vision and a plan for the team. If this in fact is true, then once again I am rejuvenated and thinking good thoughts about the Phoenix Suns. The thrill was gone, but it has returned for me.
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