Obviously this off-season's moves have changed the face of the franchise. The loss of Amar'e Stoudemire was huge. Barbosa heading to another team causes some Phoenix fans to fear a collapse in speed or chemistry. The fan-favorite, Louis Amundson, may end up on another team as well.
The signings of Hakim Warrick, Hedo Turkoglu, and Josh Childress, along with the re-signing of Grant Hill and Channing Frye, have given fans some hope, though some are worried about the price tags associated with each move.
As a basketball fan, there's nothing we want more than October to roll around and our teams to take the floor, but Phoenix, as it has in the past, is facing next season with many questions.
Those questions played into such a low ranking for last season's second-best in the West. Some teams who have also been active this off-season moved up in the rankings as well, causing Phoenix to lose its position.
In reality, however, the Suns have faced similar situations before. In fact, five years before the heart-breaking series with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Suns were healing from a heart-breaker with the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
The 2004-2005 Suns featured Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson. Richardson was the team's leading three-point shooter and Johnson was an important player, finishing as the team's third-best scorer and second in assists.
When the 2006 season began, the Suns had lost both players. Fortunately, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Kurt Thomas were able to come in and help out the team. Except, of course, that same season saw Amar'e Stoudemire play three games. While the Suns had finished the previous season as the runner-up, amassing 62 wins, this season was all but doomed.
Except it wasn't.
The Suns rallied behind each other, embraced the team's chemistry, finished the season with 54 wins and made—you guessed it—another Western Conference Finals appearance. They lost to the Dallas Mavericks, of course, but they didn't collapse under the pressure of losing key contributors.
Could it be that our new players can come in and spark another unexpected post-season success story? Only time will tell. But, as history has indicated, this team excels at exceeding expectations.
[NOTE: The Suns have only missed the playoffs once since Nash's arrival. This was during a season in which the coaches were changed, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell were sent away, Shaq completely changed the personality of the team, and Stoudemire only played in 53 games.]