ESPN Deportes Analyst Alvaro Martin recently submitted to the bright lights of a BSoS interrogation. He answered questions about the Suns, The Trade and provided some unique insight into the Spanish speaking market's relationship with our team and its stars. He also gave his insight into Game 1 of the Shaq era and a nice preview of our next game against the mighty Celtics.
Follow the jump for the full session.
Ed Note: No waterboarding or any other banned interrogation techniques were used in gathering this information.
This is one handsome dude
Q1)Phoenix is a market with a large Spanish speaking population and we see how that plays out with Latin baseball players or if Mexico is in town for a Futbol match. To what degree do the Phoenix Suns enjoy a larger following with the ESPN Deportes audience as opposed to other teams with players like Eduardo Najera or Manu Ginobili?
While national champions always attract their countrymen, you would be surprised how players like Steve Nash or Allen Iverson draw their legions of fans in Latin America and within the United States’ Hispanic community. Whether these fans identify with these players’ games or physical stature, they are Nash, or AI or Kobe Bryant fans first and foremost. Last night’s game between the Lakers and the Suns probably drew one of our bigger ratings so far this regular season, and other than Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash speaking some Spanish, and Nash being married to a Paraguayan and Bryant to a young lady of Mexican descent, there were no obvious cultural ties.
Two facts that I did not know about the multi-cultural marital parterns of NBA stars
Q2)The Suns made a big trade recently, and clearly there's a huge impact. Which teams do you think are cheering this move, and which ones are thinking, "uh oh"? Will this be the move that finally gets us to the promised land?
The Miami Heat is ecstatic, as losing seems to suit their short term purposes and they can accelerate rebuilding there by a two-year jump. The West is not happy because O’Neal’s presence, while it takes away the fundamental scheme this group used to great effect in the last three seasons, it provides versatility heretofore absent in the Valley. The coaching staff finally has a wide variety of options, and it will take them time to understand the team’s newly acquired assets and liabilities. Assuming all players are healthy and available, their projection into the playoffs now rests squarely on the ability of the coaching staff.
Interesting point about the coaching staff's ability to make this work and not putting it on the players.
Q3)What has to happen for Shaq to be successful in Phoenix? Can the Suns still be a run-and-gun team with Shaq in the lineup? Should they even try to be? I don't mean just running the break. I mean running the spread/movement offense that we love.
Defend the pick and roll in the perimeter and recover on time (that will be tough). Change shots by his mere presence in the paint. Get out of the way of the pick and roll when it does not involve him. Make those shots within three feet of the basket. Physically push around opponents with some nastiness this team sorely needs. And finally, and crucially, rebound, especially on the defensive end.
I think he must have read my list...
Q4)What kind of fan-base does Shaq have in Latin America, particularly in Leandro Barbosa's homeland, Brazil?
O’Neal is seen as he is, as a phenomenon we are likely not to see in an NBA court for many years to come. Fans like his showmanship and admire his restraint, especially given the nightly beating he receives. He is held to a different standard, and fans respect that.
He is also held to a different standard when it comes to traveling and offensive fouls. At least that's how I felt when he was a Laker. After last night, I think I will quickly get used to that standard working in our favor though
Q5)Shawn Marion is known and loved in Phoenix as a great defender, a high-flying finisher and a world class party guy. Which of those traits will be most helpful to the Miami Heat?
Pat Riley will value his defense, first and foremost. His rebounding (part of defense, let’s not forget) will be especially appreciated. The fact that he can score without set plays, which so frustrated Shawn in Phoenix, has to be considered an asset in a Dwyane Wade centered team. Finally, his three point shooting is huge in Riley’s offense, provided he finds a post presence in the seasons to come (and they sign Shawn to a rich deal).
I am certainly missing his defense
Q6)Assuming Shaq plays on the 22nd against the Celtics, how do you think he will impact that game? We will see Amare on KG? Shaq on Rondo? Do the Suns still try to spread the floor and run or will they "go big" and play a Celtic's type defensive game? Is this a game the Suns are most likely to win if they score over 100?
The Suns were already slowing down their fast-break game, because opponents focus more on preparing against it. It used to be that only Phoenix used that scheme, but now other teams like Indiana and Toronto use variations on the theme of pushing the ball. As a result, fast-break points per game have dropped for the Suns from 18.3 per game in Nash’s first season with the team to 16.0 this year.
The Suns will continue to run if it’s there, but with Shaq, they now have opportunities (feeding the post and kicking out or driving to the hoop) and challenges (Shaq is useless in the perimeter and will not draw his defender outside, so you need O’Neal near the basket to rebound, but his presence reduces the space Nash needs to ‘explore’ the paint with the dribble or do pick and rolls with Stoudemire.
It will be interesting to see if the Celtics can score in the paint against the Suns. The Lakers have several players who can do that, Boston does not feature as many. This should play to Phoenix’ advantage. But the number one challenge for Phoenix will always be their defense, especially their interior defense when Shaq rests.
Solid bit of analysis here. I love to see some real thought and insight and not just a parroting of what everyone else is saying. Of course, I also agree completely...