What The Shaq Deal Means to The Suns
The Cleveland Cavaliers made the big trade last night to acquire Shaquille O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns. The trade instantly fills a whole in the Cavaliers roster, one that focused around shutting down Dwight Howard.
It gives LeBron James a big time player to play with, one that will command double teams. In short, it pushes the Cavs closer to the NBA Championship in 2010 than they were in 2009.
As expected, that's all anyone is talking about. That's the way it should be. The Cavaliers are a championship contender. The Suns are a first round playoff exit contender.
But still, someone's got to talk about what this does for the Suns. The answer? Reinvent the past.
Alvin Gentry took over as head coach in the middle of last season and returned the Suns to their seven seconds or less style. Even with the slow, bumbly Shaq trudging up the court, the Suns put up 140 in consecutive games.
That's the Suns of old. Then Amare Stoudemire was lost for the season with an eye injury.
Whatever momentum the Suns had was lost right then and everyone knew it. A run-and-gun Suns with Nash and Stoudemire as the focal point on the break is dangerous.
A Suns team with Nash and Jason Richardson as the focal point on the break, with big Shaq coming down the court to plop down in the post is not dangerous.
All this trade does for the Suns, is take away a piece that didn't fit in the puzzle. Shaq wasn't going to be able to make it the remainder of the season playing at that pace with Stoudemire.
Now, the Suns don't have to worry about Shaq slowly coming down the court. It's full speed ahead, times two.
The Suns have four perfect pieces for this system in Stoudemire, Nash, Richardson, and Leandro Barbosa.
Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes, and Alando Tucker are capable bench pieces.
Robin Lopez can come in and replace Shaq at center while providing enough defense to help the team win. With the top four mentioned above, the Suns don't need Lopez scoring.
Ben Wallace isn't likely to do much, as he hasn't been his same defensive stud minded self since he left Detroit.
Sasha Pavlovic is a good shooter. He could fit nicely into the run-and-gun style.
What else do the Suns need? They need another point guard and another scoring option off the bench. They could get the point guard at number fourteen in tonight's draft. Whether it be Brandon Jennings or Eric Maynor or Ty Lawson. All three fit perfectly.
They'll need another big man who can run and maybe a big man who can spot up and shoot.
But that's all personnel issues. For now, they got what they needed.
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