After yet another disappointing season for the Suns in 2012, it was disheartening to see all the past Suns players that were in the playoffs, but wearing different uniforms and I couldn’t help to wonder, what if? What if the likes of Amaré Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Leandro Barbosa, Lou Amundson, Jason & ‘Q’ Richardson were on the same roster as Steve Nash? They would have the same troubles that have plagued them since 1994 – no big man underneath. The Suns style of play has long been the “Run & Gun” a high octane offense that relies on quickness and adept shooting from beyond the arc. The Suns adapted the run & gun into the “Fun & Gun” as they were having a good time while winning numerous games along the way which made games in downtown Phoenix a “must do” for the Valley’s elite looking to see & be seen. Unfortunately, as in every sport, defense wins games and the Suns have had serious gaps in forcing turnovers and pounding the glass for rebounds.
The historical Phoenix is a bird who near the end of his life cycle would build a nest and then spontaneously combust fiercely burning the bird & nest leaving behind nothing but ashes. The new Phoenix rises from the ashes to live again and rebuild its life. If all that I have been hearing is true with Steve Nash not coming back to the Suns next season, then suffice to say that Robert Sarver better start looking for some twigs to build that nest. There are a couple bright spots on the roster so there is no need to completely gut the roster and start from square one; just as the Phoenix takes on the traits from its former self, the team moving into the future needs to keep the basic tenets of the “run & gun” style offense and focus more on a defensive style of game. That means either getting current centers Marcin Gortat & Robin Lopez on the Bill Laimbeer diet or going out to get tough, gritty & perhaps dirty players that will gut it out in the trenches, pound the boards and maybe throw an elbow or two to assert their dominance on the court.
Valley sports fans are a fickle bunch. I remember my high school days in the mid 80’s when I was a ball boy for the Suns and they were playing to some of the smallest crowds in the NBA, although being only a couple years removed from their first appearance in the NBA Finals. I can hear the rumbling over the past couple years, first with the strike and only reaching the playoffs once in the past 4 years, the Phoenix Suns need to ignite & be reborn before they lose their fan base for good.