2009-10 Phoenix Suns Season Preview
For the second year running, the Phoenix Suns (46- 36) finished second in the Pacific. However, they didn’t have enough wins to make it into the post-season. The problems started the season before when newbie GM Steve Kerr decided that he needed to mold the team into a winner. In February 2008, as the Suns possessed the best record in the Western Conference (34- 14) and looked like the team to beat, Kerr focused initiated the Shawn Marion-Shaquille O’Neal trade. O’Neal didn’t make a lot of sense for the running-and-gunning Suns. At the end of that season, head coach Mike D’Antoni was let go and new coach Terry Porter was welcomed. The decision to replace D’Antoni along with the Shaq trade, resulted in a much slower, half – court game. Then at the 2008- 2009 All-Star break, Kerr announced that he was wrong to go with a half-court game, fired Porter and hired the D’Antoni-minded coach Alvin Gentry. It was all pretty much one hot mess.
Upfront, all eyes this season are on power forward Amar’e Stoudmire (21.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.0 APG), who has had a tough time maintaining his health. Last season, his seventh, he missed 29 games due to eye injuries. A healthy Stoudmire can be explosive. The other major player in front is small forward Grant Hill (12.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.3 APG). Hill, who starts his 15th NBA season, played the entire string of games last season, and although he can still slash to the rim, he saw his point output fall. He’s 37 years old, which is a concern. Channing Fry (4.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.4 APG), who signed with the Suns this year as a free agent, will man the starting center spot. Not a banger, Fry offers a solid outside game along with the ability to take it to the hoop. Rookie forward Earl Clark is a sound inside-outside player who can rebound.
Steve Nash, one of the most amazing playmakers and shooters in the game, will man the point guard position (15.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 9.7 APG). Although he’s 35 years old, the guy is healthy and ready to go. The shooting position will be the domain of Jason Richardson (16.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.0 APG). Richardson, who spent a day in jail for DUI this past year, can tally points quickly. He’s accurate from downtown.
The Suns have a bunch of players who can score from the outside. This certainly looks good as far as the fast paced, up-tempo shooting game goes. The interior defense is suspect, which does not bode well when it comes to keeping opposing slashers and dunkers away from the rim.
Kerr’s personnel choices are still having an effect on the team and there are question marks with the key players such as Hill and Stoudemire. Gentry looks to be a good fit with the club, but he lacks the legs and youth that defined former successful Phoenix teams. Phoenix will find it rough going as far as the post-season is concerned. Although a second-place division finish looks promising a trip to the post-season is less certain. Still, this is a better team than the Suns put on the court last season; they will have a shot at the playoffs, but if they do make it, Phoenix won’t go deep.