The Phoenix Suns offense revolves around one man: Steve Nash.
When Shawn Marion requested a trade from the Suns this offseason, my first reaction was, "Are ya kidding me?"
Marion flourishes solely because Nash is able to get him the ball in ideal scoring situations. He can't create his own shot—and would be just another mediocre undersized forward without his All-Star point guard.
Amare Stoudemire is no better. As I see it, he's the most overrated big man in the NBA.
Stoudemire doesn't intimidate opponents, and his defense—well, let's be honest, the guy plays absolutely no defense.
Amare's offensive is predicated on taking 12-foot jump shots, driving to the rim, or getting perfect feeds from Nash en route to the hoop. What's missing here?
A post-up game.
If you want to win an NBA title, you need a big man who can back his way to the basket, and either score or get fouled. That's why Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal have won seven of the league's last eight championships.
I realize that Amare's midrange jumper forces opponents' big defenders to play away from the hoop—but the Suns already have plenty of guys who can make jump shots.
Why would you invest money in a seven-footer who does more of the same?
To call Stoudemire a beast is to miss the point. His athleticism makes him a freak—but "beast" implies the sort of interior dominance displayed by Dwight Howard.
Stoudemire's game just isn't there.
Grant Hill, for his part, has had a negligible impact in Phoenix. The Suns already had enough midsized forwards who could score. Sure, Hill is a solid defender—but one defender on a team that plays zero defense isn't going to do much good.
It also doesn't help that Hill is nearing the end of his career, and has been slowed on both ends of the floor by a long string of injuries.
Trading Kurt Thomas was the Suns' biggest mistake this offseason. Why would a team with no interior presence deal its only legitimate post defender?
Thomas was the only Sun who could defend Tim Duncan with any degree of adequacy—and now he's in Seattle.
The only—and I mean ONLY—chance the Suns have of reaching the Finals this season is if they somehow avoid the Spurs in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the only team that's really capable of beating the Spurs in a seven-game series is Dallas—and the Mavs have been underachieving.
If we see another Spurs-Suns rematch in the Conference Finals, it'll be San Antonio who goes on to play for all the marbles.