With an already-shortened NBA season and no end to the lockout in sight, it’s hard to imagine what the 2011-12 season could potentially look like.
While those are two amazing games we’ll never get back, let’s take a look at how the rest of the season could play out. Here are a few pros and cons that the Suns could encounter when—and if—the lockout ends.
Let’s pretend the lockout ends, and we get a few months of basketball.
This means a shortened season for two of the NBA’s greatest veteran players, Grant Hill and Steve Nash.
A few extra months of rest and bodywork could do these two a world of good. Hill has had ankle issues since the beginning of time, and Nash could use some rest for his back and that nagging groin injury.
Plus, no offense to anyone in their late 30s, but they’re getting old. Any extra rest for these two will benefit the entire team when it comes time to play.
What if the lockout doesn’t end? Now we have to face the potential that the two aforementioned veteran greats will miss an entire season, one that could be close to the last of their careers.
Hill is 39 and has said that he would like to keep playing, but you couldn’t blame the guy if after his 40th birthday and an entire season off the court he calls it quits.
Nash’s case is a little different. He’s only 37 and doesn’t have any plans to retire soon.
But what about that elusive ring?
The 2011-12 season would be the last on his contract with Phoenix before he's free to leave. As much as Suns fans might say that they wouldn’t mind seeing Nash move to a contender and at least get a chance at winning the championship, it would be a heartbreaker for Phoenix to lose it’s franchise player in one of the final seasons of his career.
Or maybe Nash will decide that it’s finally time to put those soccer skills to good use and quit basketball in lieu of playing for his own MLS team, the Vancouver Whitecaps. Hey, Michael Jordan did it.
Jared Dudley has been spending an inordinate amount of time in the gym during this offseason, working out and honing his skills (at least according to his Twitter account).
In the event of a shortened season, we could reasonably expect to see a leaner, meaner, slam-dunkier version of Dudley on the court. He’s got the will to improve, and this might just be his time to shine.
Devil's advocate: Jared Dudley could be in worse shape.
After a prolonged offseason—or no season at all—Dudley might lose his will and motivation and revert back to his “Wait, he’s a professional basketball player?” body, while sinking back into his habit of waiting for the ball so he can lob 3-pointers from the corner.
Dudley’s a great guy and genuinely wants to improve, but come on, this is highly probable.
Robin Lopez is a hard worker and a pretty good center…when he’s healthy.
And that’s not often.
Back and knee injuries have plagued Lopez’s short career, but with a shorter season, there’s the potential for one more player to get healthy and stay healthy for the entire season.
The Suns struggled last year after making trades in the middle of the season.
Even with Nash’s ability to create plays for anyone and everyone on the court, some players haven’t been able to adapt.
Without a legitimate training camp before the season starts, new players like backup point guard Aaron Brooks and the Suns' 13th-overall draft pick, Markieff Morris, might have a difficult time gelling with the team.
If a new CBA is reached within the confines of this season, the Suns and owner Robert Sarver might be dealt a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card.
Sarver is notorious for signing mediocre players to indefensibly enormous contracts. Case and point: Josh Childress. Childress is a decent small forward with a huge afro and an even bigger contract, but he’s being paid to ride the bench.
With a new CBA, player salaries could be dramatically reduced, and the Suns, in turn, could save money to potentially sign a highly-touted free agent.
Kevin Love would look stunning in purple and orange.