It's Time for the Phoenix Suns To Decide If Average Is Enough

Greg EspositoContributor IIJanuary 18, 2010

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 30:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics lays up shot over Channing Frye #8, Amar'e Stoudemire #1 and Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 30, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Celtics 116-98.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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“Don’t be content with average because average is just as close to the bottom as it is to the top.” –Danielle Ballentine

That quote should be taped to Steve Kerr ’s phone over the next four weeks.

The NBA trade deadline is a month away and the Phoenix Suns ’ play lately is making it abundantly clear that they are an average basketball team.

But is average enough?

It’s time for the Suns front office to enter into some serious soul searching. Kerr and his staff need to take a look at the tough questions that face the franchise.

Is being an average NBA team that has Steve Nash playing at an MVP level again alright?

Is Amare Stoudemire ’s 20 points, almost nine rebounds, and schizophrenic defense really worth an extension?

Can Jason Richardson ever be effective on a good team?

Can a NBA title contender really have a center who doesn’t rebound and shoots threes?

The answer to the Suns’ conundrum lies with the great philosopher, Jack Donaghy of 30 Rock .

“It’s 1994. I went ice climbing, and I fell into a crevasse. I hurt my leg, and I couldn’t climb back up. So, fighting every natural instinct, doing the thing that seemed most awful to me, I climbed down into the darkness. And that’s how I got out. And when I got back to base camp, I went and found my fellow climber, the one who had cut me loose after I fell. And I said, “Connie Chung, you did the right thing.”

It’s that simple. Sometimes you have to go to the bottom before you can make it all the way back to the top.

The Suns have yet to embrace this. They’ve decided average is good enough. Fans beg to differ.

It’s time for a change, it’s time for the Suns to go “into the crevasse”. It’s time forSteve Kerr to let go of the past, accept the current roster isn’t good enough, rebuild the team and thank Connie Chung. (OK, forget that last part.)

Amare Stoudemire has proven to be like Chris Kattan, good when the people around him are talented enough to hide his weaknesses, but not good enough to be “the man”. It’s time to part ways with STAT. Giving him the max contract extension he desires is like being the studio that green-lit Corky Romano . In the end, you’ll have wasted a bunch of money and frustrated a lot of fans.

Trade STAT now for whatever the best offer is. Look into trading Jason Richardson and Leandro Barbosa. Send Grant Hill to a contender (he deserves that much). Give Robin Lopez, Goran Dragic, and Earl Clark significant minutes to figure out if they are part of the future.

Take the hit the remainder of this season and start a serious rebuilding plan. If there ever were an offseason to do it this would be it.

It’s time to seriously commit to putting a championship-caliber team around Nash for next season. Bring in a go-to scorer and find a big capable of rebounding and playing defense consistently. It’s time to start over.

Being content with average has been the Suns battle cry since training camp. Kerr and Nash told the media as much.

Too bad being average is just as close to the bottom as it is to the top. Just look at the Western Conference standings.