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CNNSI's "Enemy Lines" Reviews the Suns

CNNSI has come out with their annual Enemy Lines preview where they have opposing teams' scouts review each team. The one for the Suns is something less than flattering to say the least. It's especially harsh on the topic of Shawn Marion. As expected (and deserved), he gets some grief for his trade request, as well as the usual mention of his "moodiness" and feelings of being under-appreciated. Those might be tiresome arguments but we're used to hearing them. However, even his rebounding takes a hit in this review:

"Around the league, Marion is known as a great rebounder, but there are some people who consider a lot of his rebounds as 'fluff' rebounds -- for instance, they say he'll get every free throw rebound to pad his stats. They say he doesn't get the tough rebounds in crunch time.
Since when is Shawn known as a guy who "doesn't get the tough rebounds in crunch time"? I'm guessing the scout who came up with this report is from a team who's trying to land Shawn on the cheap. Either that or he wasn't watching when Shawn saved the season with that Game 6 rebound in 2006 against the Lakers, or when he gave Steve Nash a second chance at a game-saving three against Dallas this past March. Then again, maybe this scout is from one of our key playoff rivals, and he's just trying to stir up Matrix Mayhem again in a futile attempt to cause distraction. In that case, I'll take it as a good sign they're worried about us.

For the most part, the report is kinder to the rest of the Suns, other than tearing into Amare Stoudemire a bit for his defense (but then a lot of Suns fans have done the same, so at least that argument didn't come out of left field). It's mostly issues we've heard many times before, so I won't mention them here. However, I do want to comment on this observation:

"The most interesting thing about Grant Hill coming to Phoenix is how he will fit into that offense. Usually they put four guys on the perimeter and one big guy inside. Now they're adding a mid-range shooter -- Hill is not a deep shooter from the three-point line. Now they're going to have two guys inside that line."
I have heard this mentioned a few times since the Suns signed Hill, but I'm just not seeing how it's that much of a change from what the Suns had going last year with Boris Diaw or Kurt Thomas in the starting lineup. Those are two guys who aren't exactly known as stellar three-point shooters either, yet the Suns managed just fine from the outside. Besides, I am predicting right now that Grant Hill will set a new career high in three-pointers taken as well as percentage. I don't even think I'm going out on much of a limb to say that.

And finally, the eye roll-inducing "gee, how original" comment:

"A bigger unresolved question for the Suns is whether they can win a championship without being an excellent defensive team. I love their style of play, but I just don't think it's built for the playoffs. That's not a judgment call: I just haven't seen anybody win a title the way they're trying to win it. Until I see them do it, I won't believe it can be done."
I can only imagine how annoying that argument must be to Mike D'Antoni and crew, especially considering the Suns have been undone in the playoffs the past three years by freak injuries and other "weirdness" more so than by any fundamental flaw in the system. Let's hope this is the last year we have to hear about how the Suns aren't built to win it all. There's only one way to make that happen, though.

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