The Phoenix Suns have one of the best winning records in the NBA the last decade.
The question is: Does it mean anything?
I heard in past interviews the Phoenix Suns owner, Robert Sarver, saying that since he has been the owner of the Suns, they have had the best winning record in the NBA.
Is this a good thing? Does it mean anything? Not really.
I'm sure all NBA fans remember the Suns 2004-05 team. That year, we were introduced to an investing group head by Sarver who bought the Suns for $401 million.
The Suns finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA, 62-20 and Steve Nash, who just came back to Phoenix after six seasons in Dallas, was voted as MVP; Shawn Marion and Amar'e Stoudemire were named All-Stars and Joe Johnson was showing his great shooting skills (18.3 PPG).
In the playoffs, the Suns swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round and continued by beating the Dallas Mavericks in six games, making it to the Western conference finals to only fail to the San Antonio Spurs in five games (Johnson missed the first two home games that the Suns lost).
2005-06 started with STAT undergoing microfracture surgery and missing out the entire season. That year, Robert Sarver traded Joe Johnson for Boris Diaw and two first round picks to the Atlanta Hawks. Also, Raja Bell and Kurt Thomas were acquired; this, of course, changed the Suns team from last year.
Even though the Suns had a great season and finished second in the western conference with a great record of 54-28.
Nash won his second MVP award in a row, only to be the second point guard to do so (Magic Johnson was the first).
The Suns met the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. After winning the first game at home the Suns lost three in a row and were down 3-1 to the Lakers and Kobe Bryant. Somehow, the Suns were able to come back and win three straight games and take the series 4-3.
In the second round the Suns again met a team from Los Angeles, this time the Clippers, the series went to seven games with the Suns on top.
The Suns would then go on and met the Mav's in the finals, but were no match and lost 4-2.
2006-07, the Suns wanted to get back to the finals and had a great season, finishing again with an amazing record of 61-21.
But the bigger and more experienced Spurs stopped the Suns in the semifinals, 4-2.
In 2008-09, the Suns added General Manger Steve Kerr; that season, the Suns lost in the first round to the Spurs 4-1.
What we remember from this season is the trading of Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for Shaq. It took time for the Suns to get it together, but Shaq was showing that he still has game in him and did a good job, but it didn't help.
After the season, coach Mike D'Antoni moved to New York and was replaced by Terry Porter.
Hiring Terry Porter was an odd choice to me. When you have a team that has a five time champion (Shaquille O'Neal), a two time MVP (Nash) and a veteran all-star (Grant Hill) and an all-star (STAT) you need to bring in a coach with experience, a coach who can say "been there, done that".
You can't change players like these, you have to work with what they know and do best.
Terry came in and was hoping to slow the game down and bring defense to the team, trying to make them into the Spurs.
The Suns roster in 2008 was not a defensive roster, so why try and change it?
On February 16th, 2008 Terry was fired and replaced by Alvin Gentry.
You could see in the first game coach Gentry coached against the Clippers the changes, the game ended 140-100 for the Suns.
The Suns finished the season with a 46-36 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04.
2009-10, the Suns were the underdogs, no one counted them to even make the playoffs, but with the great coaching and bring back the "run and gun" style and a great effort from the bench, the Suns were again on top and just two games away from making the finals.
There no doubt that the Suns have been great, a winning team. But the question is, does anyone remember this (I do as you can see), or do we all really remember the Lakers, Spurs, Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons that have all taken championships the decade?
This year's Suns are a very cheap 2006 Suns. No defensive players, no rebounders and no presence in the middle, at least back then the Suns had Marion that was a great defender and Raja Bell that was also known for he defense.
And even though Stoudemire is not known for his defense, he was a presence in the middle.
Also the offense is cheaper: Yes, Jason Richardson is a better offensive player then Bell, and yes, Hedo Turkoglu can control the ball like a PG, but the Suns don't need that when you have a point guard like Nash and a backup like Goran Dragic.
I do believe that Robin Lopez will be a great defensive center in time, and even more, I think that if Lopez had the Suns team from 2006 they would have taken a championship.
This year's team was built by Sarver. He did not have a GM when the team was built, and he then would hire Lance Blanks to take over GM Steve Kerr who did a good job for the Suns.
So the man to blame for this season is only Robert Sarver; the team was not rebuilt and was not upgraded.
Last year, the Suns made the Western conference finals and gave the Lakers a hard time, just needing to win two more games to make it to the finals. That should have opened any owners or GM's eyes and try to find a way that next year the Suns would win those two last games.
Sarver did not want to pay Stoudemire the max contract he wanted, fine, but get something for him—try to get what you were missing, rebounds, a big presence in the middle, there was an option for a trade and sign of David Lee.
Why not get what was missing?
Why add to Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, Steve Nash, Goran Dragic, Jared Dudly, Earl Clark and then also trade Louis Amundson who came of the bench and brought defense and energy to the court?
Is this the attempt to rebuild? Is this an attempt to take a championship?
What was on Robert's mind when this team was built? Is Robert happy just being a winning team without a championship?
It looks like the answer is yes, even though this team does not look like it will be a winning team.
In the past, Robert did surprises and made changes, like the Shaq trade and the Richardson trade.
Will something be done this year or are we going to be watching the New York Knicks in the playoffs playing the Suns style we all love to watch.
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