He was, of course, referring to Shaquille "The Big Horse?" O'Neal - the offense needed to run through the big man first. Kobe had just finished shooting the Lakers right out of that playoff game, something he's made a habit of over his career. On this particular night, though, Kobe had clarity - he was not the best player on his team to run an offense through.
And he still isn't. He dominates the ball too much, and creates too little for his teammates while he is creating for himself. He has always been more suited to being a closer, than carrying a team on his back. But enough about Lakers' players. Yech.
All players, even great players, play certain roles on their teams, and are most effective when they play those roles.
And that begs the question, of course:
Who plays what roles on the Suns? and What do the Suns need to get in order to improve?
The Work Horse - this is the guy who the offense revolves around. A work horse is someone who can touch the ball every time down, and either score, or, more often, create a situation where his teammates can score.
This can happen in several ways. He can be a dominant post player, who collapses the defensive and forces double teams. He can be a knock-down shooter who's perpetually in motion, creating cross-matches ever time the opponent has to switch a screen. Or, he can be an undersized, hairy, Canadian whose screen roll superpowers forces opposing teams to constantly trap the 2-man game and leave shooters open.
So, not to put too fine a point on it - Steve is that guy for the Suns.
Steve and a warm body to set picks. And, it's a grind on his body,
habitually creating that situation where it takes the other team 3
players to guard him and his screen-roll buddy. But that's the job
when you're the work-horse of the offense.
The Closer - this is the guy who can take over a game for a short period of time. Closers can flip a switch, take their game up a level, and just in finish off the opponent. Good closers have a killer instinct, and they always do their best work at the end of the game.
I also submit that you can't be a workhorse AND a closer. If you've been grinding all game, chances are, you don't have enough left in the tank to take over for an extended period of time. Here, I foresee problems for the Suns. Steve would obviously be the natural choice, but often times, he doesn't have the stamina by the end of the game to really take over.
So, if not Nash, Who will the Suns' closer be? A certain young Slovenian has shown the ability to flip the switch and go berzerker on foes. Hedo showed the ability to hit big shots in Orlando. It's a question mark.
The Anchor - Let's not ignore the defensive side of the ball. The Anchor is the guy who is there on every defensive play, clogging the middle, showing up to help, and generally stopping the ball from getting to the rim.
It's only taken 20 years, but I can finally say it - we have one of these guys! WOOT! Stay healthy, Robin!
The Stopper - This is the guy whose primary job is to harass the ball all the way up the court, prevent the other team from getting into its sets early, and otherwise keep the opposing teams best perimeter scorer from getting into the paint, or to his spots.
So, who is that guy for the Suns? With apologies to Dudley and Grant, neither of them really has the combination of speed and length to be that dedicated defender. But, in Childress, we have recently acquired a player who fits the bill. Will J-Chill really receive enough minutes to do that job?
Well, that's it from me. I realize, not a ton of new info here, but a few things to cogitate. And, I enjoyed making the post and captioning the pictures. :-P