After a few games with the new squad, and two losses, (one to the red hot Miami Heat and one to the improving L.A Clippers), we can come to the conclusion that the Phoenix Suns might have something to say in the west.
Against Miami the Suns looked lost and they couldn't defend a high school team if needed. But against the Clippers, the Suns were down by 18 and made a great comeback with hard defense and great shooting by new comer Mickael Pietrus .
Pietrus hit nine out fourteen from the field with five out of eight from downtown. It didn't help at the end, and the Suns lost 103-108, but we saw what can be.
Maybe Mickael will be the Jared Dudley of the 2008 trade that turned out to be a steal for the Suns.
Mickael plays solid defense and he will be able to help the Suns best defender Grant Hill on guarding the very athletic guards and small forwards out there today.
Marcin Gortat is the missing peace the Suns have been missing this decade. I big man that can defend and grab rebounds, he and Robin Lopez can be a great inside presence that all teams will feel and notice. We saw the confusion on Gortat's face in both games, but with time he will fit in perfectly to the Suns "Run & Guns" systems.
The mine part of the deal has not yet seen any playing time due to a swollen left knee. Of course the mine part is Vince Carter, "Vinsanity" , air Canada.
Vince Carter has not yet played in a system like the Suns, and thinking about his younger years and imagining him playing with the Suns when young, you can only say "WOW".
The question is can Vince get in to shape and play at the level the Suns need him to play. Can he be the lead scorer for the Suns? Can he still win games?
the adding of Vinsanity will determine if the Sun will rise or set for the Suns.
The Suns' training staff, led by Aaron Nelson, is no doubt the top training staff in NBA. The proof of course is Steve Nash and Grant Hill. They are playing like they are 21-year-old rookies (with experience).
For proof, in case you missed it, you should check the defense Hill played on Blake Griffin in the second half of the game; Blake was scoreless in the third quarter.
Also I'm sure Shaquille O'Neal will also agree. After seeing Shaq running up and down the court in 2009 and dominating like in the past, there is no doubt that there is magic is in the Phoenix air (or water).
The question is, can the same be done with Carter? Will the training staff be able to help Vince get is youth back? If yes, then the Suns will be on the right track to the playoffs, if not, most likely the Sun will set and Nash will never make the finals in his amazing NBA carrier.
But there is a second option. The Suns were able to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu's much overpaid contract and Jason Richardson's large contract. Also, if things don't work out with Carter then the Suns will only need to pay four million next year. In turn, Vince will be released and the Suns will have cap space to try and sign a big name for Nash's last season (maybe).
The Suns also got a first round draft pick in 2011 draft from the Orlando Magic. All this together gives the Suns an option to sign a big name.
The Suns now have the basics they need: two physical centers (Robin Lopez and Marcin Gortat) and two power forwards, Channing Frye, who can shoot from anywhere on the court and Hakim Warrick that can play the pick & roll with Nash and can finish strong at the hoop.
Small forwards Grant Hill and Jared Dudley are both good defenders and shooters, and backup point guard for Nash, Goran Dragic that has shown that he can play (just needs to bring it every game).
What is missing is a "go to guy", someone you know will score at least 20 a game. We will see soon if Carter can be that guy. If not, the Suns will surprise us again and make one more trade this year so that Nash will be able to try once more to make the finals were he deserves to be.
P.S. I really don't see the Suns trading Nash, Nash is the only "money in the bank" the Suns have, he sells tickets and the fans love him, but for others, time will tell.
Robert Server is full of surprises when it comes to trades. He likes to save money, but he's not afraid to make moves.
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