This has been the topic on the boards… whether we call it rebuilding or a series of trades, this has to happen now or by the next two years. By that I do not necessarily mean gut the team. We have some very good players who would look great in winning teams (or last year’s team) if the SUNS had the right pieces. And we have enough vultures thinking the SUNS may gut the team are looking to swoop on picking Nash and other players for “next to nothing”. A few things first as we look at rebuilding:
· Case for Nash and/or Hill to remain in Phoenix: As you look at the young teams with great talent whether it be Minnesota or Clippers or so many others, what is missing is the veteran leadership with character to lead the team. Nash and Grant Hill provide that and reinforce it with their relentless effort.. they walk the talk. We will need that as we try and get the team younger. Hence I am a big proponent of keeping atleast one of them around while we rebuild, preferably both if we can.
· Don’t be a Sarver: Losing Amare, he used the cash on players he had no understanding of and made trades that were not appropriate (Hedo) whiling giving away the 2012 round 2 draft pick in the sign and trade!! 2012 draft will be deep and lot of value perhaps in round 2. All he did in the summer was “rosterbation” but without the knowledge (unlike Buford or other gurus) because he had the ability he made the trades. That only hurt us. It might have been better to have the remaining team with the cap space to execute those trades without having to “dump” players.
· Take action now to attract the players like Kevin Love, Derron Williams who become free agents in 2 years.
· Draft Picks and analysis of experienced players: They cannot be the $3M payment by selling them or a way to package with in players they want to dump (again and again and again). SUNS must respect draft picks, improve their scouting team. Pop and Buford have done a great job of really analyzing the players game to see the fit and the detailed strengths and weakness before they take them. And more importantly planning ahead (like in the case of Tiago Splitter – where they picked him and waited to improve further in Europe). What not to do - classic examples: Hakim Warrick – was sold to the fans as having similar but a slightly weaker game and style than Amare. As we all have found he is very dimensional and needs the lane completely open. Another one was “Rosterbation” done by Sarver in hoping Hedo would fit in as a PF just because he was 6’10”.
· Develop players: SUNS need to invest seriously in developing their young players. I don’t have the statistics but feel that they have to be at the bottom in using their younger players. Draft players literally have not seen any action in the first year of them joining the SUNS. While other teams get them in a lot more.. Example: Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler in NYK and DeJuan Blair started getting playing time very early and their game developed much faster.
· DEFENSE: And finally, pure offense looks sexy but does not win championships. SUNS tried it through Porter, but he tried to change the culture overnight. As Nash retires and the new team comes in, we need to inculcate the Spurs/Pop or Bulls/Tom Thibodeau style focus on defense on both sides. Have to get like the old times like Kevin Love said more than 60% of the times the ball goes up, it won’t go in so have to work to grab it. It’s a attitude that has to be built in and a culture developed.