Attention NBA Bloggers! Phoenix Suns fans are looking for a playoff team to support. Come make your pitch!
The Phoenix Suns will miss the playoff's for the first time in 5 years.
As evidenced by this lively discussion, Suns fans are the proverbial lost tribe wandering the desert looking for a home. Many Suns fans will simply sit this one out and follow the spring basketball results with a detached non-interest.
Others though, maybe as many as half the denizens of Planet Orange, are Suns fans first but are still also fans of great basketball. There are a number of great teams stacked with exciting young and even old players who would welcome the added support for their playoff run.
In the West we have these teams that are in the running:
Dallas - Ok, just kidding. I can't imagine any Suns fans jumping on with this team. Not only because of the playoff history and the most recent beat down but because the team itself really doesn't have much going for it. They are barely one step behind the Suns this season in their slide from former greatness.
Spurs - Suns fans cheering for the Spurs? Not going to happen. In fact now that Manu is official done for the year, it is hard to make the case that anyone will pick this team to win one series. On the other hand, I have to say that I've a great deal of respect (earned the hard way) for what this team does and how they go about their business. True professionals. Well coached. Consistent. Boring. I will have a hard time picking against them in any playoff series. They just find a way to win when it matters and you might hate that as a Suns fan, but as a sports fan I just can't help but respect it.
Lakers - If any of you jump on this speeding train-wagon you can just resign your membership from this community right now. That said, as much as I hate the Lakers for being the Lakers I have no problems with this team, any of its players or the way they play the game. They are a great basketball team. You just can't root for them.
Now, in my order of preference the teams I will be cheering for:
Blazers - This is my favorite non-Suns team and not just because I have been captured by the world domination that is the Bedger Army. This team has a great line-up filled with exciting young players. Roy. Aldridge. Rudy and even Batum. They play a very slow paced style of basketball and their defense isn't yet good enough to support the fewer shot attempts so they aren't close to being a contender. Plus they are young and have zero playoff experience. Plus Greg Oden isn't that good.
The Blazers are a well managed organization that has built themselves into a playoff team the right way. They very well could win their first playoff series this year since I don't know when.
Hornets - Last year's darling child took a step back due to injuries to Peja and Chandler but more importantly because they've failed to develop their bench. Posey hasn't yet done much and their back court depth is horrible. Still, watching Chris Paul play can make up for a lot of deficiencies.
Rockets - This team has grown on me. I didn't like the T-Mac led Rockets but I am in love with their role players like Scola, Landry, Wafer and Battier. Yao has been healthy all year and looks good. Artest can be a bit too aggressive with his shot but I am still a fan of anyone that crazy. Brooks is a nice player but is going to get torched by the stronger point guard's in the West.
Nuggets - The Nuggets are the anti-Spurs. They do less with more then any other team but at least this year they are getting better defensively (yes, defense does matter) and with Billups they are a much smarter team. The problem with the Nuggets is they still have KMart, Nene, Melo and JR Smith who just don't strike a lot of fear in your heart when you thinki about playoff caliber players that come through in the clutch and don't make mistakes. Of course, neither do the Suns so I guess we shouldn't throw stones.
Jazz - I'm sorry but I can't root for a team that can't win on a the road. I have no idea why and frankly am past caring. I like Deron Williams and
Corey Ronnie Brewer is a fantastic shooting guard. He's exactly the kind of guy the Suns needed next to Nash to move over and take the other team's best back court threat. Boozer, I don't believe in. Okur can do damage but anytime you are reliant on outside shooting you are prone to inconsistencies. This team should be better then they are. Tell me again why we should feel sorry for Jerry Sloan not winning Coach of the Year?
I am not even going to bother with all of the East. Obviously, unless you have a personal tie to Atlanta, Philly, Detroit or Chicago you likely aren't going to root for those teams.
Miami is all about Wade and enjoying his wizardry on the court but again, hard to really get behind them for a playoff run.
That leaves the big three of Boston, Cleveland and Orlando.
Cavs - It took me a long time to buy into this Cavs team as being anything more then LeBron + scrubs. The improvements they've made this year though make a strong argument for the tweak your roster approach of getting better. They added one major but not super-major piece in Mo Williams who is the perfect fit and then continued to rely on their defense to to carry them through. Then you add in the brilliance of LeBron and suddenly this team is exciting. I am now a Cavs fan for this post-season anyway.
Magic - Another team that I didn't quite believe in but due to their improved defense if a solid team. It is a real shame that Jameer Nelson went down because his ability to slash and create really had a huge impact on this teams balance. Rafer has done well but he's not up to the task and simply not big enough to hang with some of the other PG's. Fortunately, there aren't many good point guards in the East that he has to deal with so the Magic will do fine until they meet Boston or Cleveland.
Boston - We know all about Boston. If healthy they are the best team in the East. Personally, I don't care. I like how they play. I like the balance they show offensively and their commitment to defense. I love their fire. I just don't care though about the Celtics. Been there, done that. Don't care.
What team are you excited about in the playoffs?