As the field for the NBA Finals is now down to 4 (
Indiana, Miami, SAS, Memphis), the hopes and dreams of the other 26 teams have faded quickly. Some of them (Clippers, Knicks, Nuggets, OKC) left the playoffs too early, some of them (Lakers, Brooklyn) never materialized what they thought was a great team, and others (Minnesota, Philadelphia) were hit by the injury bug and never got to see their team perform at expectations. So as 4 teams compete for the ultimate goal, let’s go over what each team needs, in order to reach the conference finals next year. We’re going to go over a few teams each week as we approach the NBA draft.
Group L - Should we hit the restart button?
29 – Suns
Steve Nash had the unprecedented ability of taking decent athletes and making them seem like solid players, and taking good players and making them seem like stars. Is Shawn Marion good? Sure.
Is was Amare good? Sure. Joe Johnson? Yep. Quentin Richardson? Nope. Channing Frye? No. The list can go on and on. Unfortunately for the Suns, the Steve Nash era never led to a championship. And unfortunately for the Suns, they still are putting their team together the same way they used to even though Nash is now an injury prone, past his prime - Laker.
Their team is filled with good pieces; more than necessary. They have Goran Dragic, a pesky and solid player. They have Luis Scola, the heart and soul of the Argentinian National team and a solid player. They have a rejuvenated Jermaine O’neal, acting as a solid player. They have Michael Beasely, sometimes (and definitely has the potential to be) a solid player. Marcin Gortat, a very solid player. Shannon Brown, a solid player. Jared Dudley, a solid player. So… what’s wrong with them?
The answer is that thy built a team relying on having a great point guard to run the floor and make all of them go from good players to great players. They don’t have that. They don’t have a star and they don’t have a star in the making, which means the team will not make it to the Conference Finals for a while. Also, the thing that made the Nash-run Suns that good was their plethora of shooting guards/forwards. That’s not who they have anymore. So first thing’s first, they need to get rid of Michael Beasely. Next, find some shooters who can complement a very capable Scola/Gortat front line. Then, they need to realize Dragic can be the NBA’s best PG off the bench, but that doesn’t mean he should be a starter. And finally, they need to draft a strong shooting guard. The consensus is to pick up Victor Oladipo, but we’ll know soon what position they’re in and who knows they might end up #1 and would have to take Noel (and then could trade a big man for some solid pieces…). Anyhow, I think they should take Ben McLemore as he’s more of a scoring threat than Oladipo, and he’s got more star potential than the Tony Allen-like Oladoipo.
Needs: Everything but a big man. Shooting Guard is the most important and preferably one who can score and defend (they are contemplating combining Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo into one player). And an all-star caliber point guard, as we’ve pointed out, it’s a point guard heavy league nowadays.
Ben McLemore (Draft)
Trevor Ariza (FA)
Key Bench Players:
Ben Gordon (FA)
Would this team make it to the Conference Finals? No.
Would this team make it to the Playoffs? No.
Did I just say the Suns are foolish for building a team that would only work well if they had Nash in his prime? Yes.
Did I just build for them a team that would only do well if they would have Nash in his prime? Yes.
Sorry Suns fans… the only way you’ll get out of this cycle is to hit the restart button.