Heir'z Corner: The Sun Has Set in Phoenix
I'll just be plain, simple, and to the point:
The Phoenix Suns aren't one of the premier teams anymore, nor are they title contenders.
There isn't a guarantee that they'll make the playoffs at all. They're good enough, but being good enough and actually having the drive and foundation to turn your potential into results are two completely different things.
I'll even go as far as to say that we'll sweep them in our season series this year. I don't see them keeping up with us over a 48 minute game and actually being a threat in the closing minutes. Kobe enjoys playing against them too much because he knows he can do whatever he wants against their defense and adding more bullets to our gun(Bynum and Gasol) will only make it easier for him.
Steve Nash vs Derek Fisher- Nash is still one of the best point guards in the game today and even though he's getting older, he still has a lot left in the tank. The biggest question mark concerning him is whether or not he'll come into training camp motivated about getting his team back on top or if he's supremely frustrated with how last season concluded. He knows that having Shaq won't do well for his team as far as motivation goes. Meanwhile, Derek's role in our offense will diminish with Bynum back, which just means that he'll have more energy to contain Nash on the defensive end and come up with big plays on offense when we need them from players outside of our Big 4. Nash will have the better stats, but Derek will win the overall matchup.
Raja Bell vs Kobe Bryant- Last season Kobe dominated him like no other. He's never had too many instances where Bell put up a real fight, but last year he showed what he can really do against him when he has other options and doesn't have to score every trip down to keep us in the game. This year we've added a 7'2, 285 giant with 9% body fat in the post to make it even easier for him. Good luck, Raja. Not really, but yeah.
Grant Hill vs Lamar Odom- This matchup brings a smile to my face. Why? Because I can only imagine what Phil plans to do against this team with so many options. We can slide Lamar down into the post against Hill anytime we want, while Pau can be around the elbow. That benefits us because Hill isn't strong, nor athletic enough to bang with Lamar in the post. It also moves Stoudemire away from the basket so he can't get rebounds. Hill's quickness on offense might be a problem for Lamar, but if we play him in the post on a consistent basis against Hill it'll wear him down. Just like he did to Marion in 2006.
Amare Stoudemire vs Pau Gasol- Stoudemire was scary after they acquired Shaq and I expect him to be even more aggressive this year since he's one of the few players on this team who has motivation. But against Pau and the mighty Lakers, that motivation will come up short. Pau's length gave Boozer, Duncan, and Garnett trouble in the playoffs and I expect him to do the same to Stoudemire. It's possible to be too aggressive and that's what will most likely be his downfall versus Pau. Even if he does get his, there's no one else out there who Phoenix can go to consistently and get results, so it'll be a one man show.
Shaquille O'Neal vs Andrew Bynum- Finally, Shaq and Andrew will battle it out for the first time since....well, you know. According to Mitch, Drew looks even better this summer than he did last year- keep in mind that he's coming off surgery. How was Shaq's offseason, you ask? He dissed Kobe, apparently threatened a woman, and aged even more. Will Shaq even be able to keep up with Drew in terms of endurance over a 48 minute game? We'll see.
Phoenix isn't on our level anymore and we WILL sweep them this year.
If any Suns fan disagrees, this is a debate I'm ready to have. Bring it.
Edited by Heir, September 08, 2008 - 12:23 PM.