As the dust settles on the free agent front-line, NBA teams are preparing for the new season, some with great promise, like the Miami Heat for obvious reasons, and the Washington Wizards with their potential superstar in first overall pick John Wall.
One team however, the Phoenix Suns, has another idea. It will hope to ride an uber-talented bench all the way into a champagne bath next June.
As the only team in the 2010 playoffs to play a 10-man rotation for most of its games, the Suns’ Alvin Gentry flipped the Mike D'antoni mindset completely around and found unusual success by playing a five-man bench together for stretches at a time.
Last year's bench, consisting of Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Channing Frye, Leandro Barbosa, and Lou Amundson, was highlighted several times in the playoffs.
First in Game Three of the Western Semifinals when Dragic scored 23 fourth quarter points against the Spurs, and again in Game Four of the Western Finals when the Suns bench finished off the Lakers starters by itself.
After last week's trade with Toronto that sent Barbosa to the Raptors for Hedo Turkoglu, and the Suns signing Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress, the bench situation is much clearer in Phoenix.
With Dragic and Dudley back on board next season, and Frye resigned for five more seasons, the argument could be made that this bench is better than ever.
However, it has been proved time and time again that teams loaded with big names always seem to come up short in other important areas.
One common example is the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers team that had a superb roster on paper, but fell to a “better team" in the Detroit Pistons.
The difference between these two teams is quite simple; it's everyone's favorite word, "chemistry."
Yes, chemistry. What is it?
According to the dictionary, chemistry is defined as "the interaction of one personality with another."
It sounds simple enough, yet many NBA teams next season will fail because of it.
Not the Suns though. What they lack in size and star power will be made up for in chemistry and depth.
With Steve Nash's YouTube videos letting us in on how the team bonds on road trips, and what goes on in the locker room after games, NBA fans can see first-hand how a relationship between teammates is formed.
Next season the Suns will look to add Warrick, Childress, and Turkoglu to the fun bunch, and improve on its camaraderie from a season ago.
That's what's so amazing about these Suns, the bench cheers on the starters, and vice versa.
It's a sight not often seen in today's NBA, where teams play eight-man rotations and star players in the upwards of 40 minutes a game, while the rest of the team is relegated to being another row of spectators.
There is definitely a disconnected and uninvolved feeling on a lot of NBA benches, but not in the desert, where the bench is the second unit, not second in ability, but the second wave of a multi-talented attack.
One thing is certain, the chemistry of these Phoenix Suns and its bench will be partly responsible if things don't work next season, but will ultimately be the reason it triumphs.
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