Last year will be remembered in Phoenix as the end of the Steve Nash era.
After being signed away from the Dallas Mavericks in 2004, Nash ushered in a new era of exciting uptempo basketball in the desert. Over the course of Nash's eight seasons during his second stint in Phoenix, the Suns led the NBA in scoring five times, offensive efficiency twiceand went on a run of six consecutive seasons where they scored more than 108 points per game.
But alas, all good things come to an end. The Suns weren't the same exciting team they once were during Nash's last few seasons with the team.
In his final year the Suns finished a respectable 33-33 and were in the playoff hunt until the final games of the season.
Scoring Depth - The Suns starting five might not exactly strike fear into opponents but it is a group filled with players who can put the ball in the net. Everyone of the Suns starters, and a few of their bench players, can easily average double digit points. Having that many players who can shoulder the scoring load makes it difficult for opposing defences to key on any one player.
End of an Era
For the last eight years Suns fans have been treated to the unique talents of one of the game's best passers and most fun players to watch. Now they begin life without Steve Nash.
Fountain of Youth - This Suns team has a lot of youth and with that comes alot of potential. It also means they should be able to run with anyone in the league. The key will be developing the young talent and having them build chemistry with one another.
One and Five - Lots of people will tell you that the two most important positions on the floor are point guard and centre. Luckily for the Suns that might just be where two of their best players play in Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat. Dragic is a capable scorer and passer who thrives in the pick and roll and should form a nice combo with a player like Gortat who averaged a quiet double-double last year while shooting 55.5 percent from the field.
No Steve Nash - You don't replace someone like Steve Nash. Goran Dragic has shown flashes of star potential and Kendall Marshall may develop into a solid pro one day. But make no mistake, neither can fill the void left by Nash. Nash is one of the best passers in history and the Suns shooters won't be able to enjoy the same type of open looks they did while he was in town.
No Go To Guy - The Suns lack that clear Alpha Dog to look to in clutch situations. While it's not absolutely necessary to have that guy (see:Denver) it definitely helps a team's confidence. Lots of guys on the Suns roster can score but noone is a real threat to take over a game.
Get ready for the season with the latest from TSN.ca.
Goran Dragic takes over for Steve Nash at point. Enough said.
Luis Scola's solid interior game makes him the first Sun on the board at 49th overall.
Lack of Experience - Aside from Luis Scola and backup big man Jermaine O'Neal, who is a shell of his former self, the team is sorely lakcing in big game playoff experience. This young team is largely untested other than Scola, O'Neal and a few of the remaining players like Jared Dudley from the Suns 2009-10 playoff run. Losing Channing Frye for the season due to a heart condition also hurts.
X Factor: Michael Beasley
Beasley has never lived up to the potential that made him the second overall pick in the 2008 draft. Beasler has the tools to be a devastating scorer but has been plagued by bad decision-making and inconsistency throughout his career. His career averages aren't bad at 15.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 45.5 percent shooting but he has simply never been able to put it all together and eliminate the mental mistakes. If he could finally do so with the Suns he could be a very dangerous weapon. Or he could continue to be a distraction.
What to Expect
It's hard to peg the Suns at this point. They certainly have talent and enough players that can put the ball in the net to be competitive. That said, this team won't be challenging the top teams in the Pacific. An eight seed for the playoffs is a reasonable goal o set. There's a good chance they won't make it but they should be able to give it a run.
Tim Chisholm's Offseason Grade
Talk about all over the map.
The club went young after losing Steve Nash by drafting Kendall Marshall, inking Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley then trading for Wes Johnson.
They then pivoted mid-summer and grabbed Luis Scola and Jermaine O'Neal and confused everyone about what direction they felt they were headed in.
The club's offseason painted the Suns as a club that knows it needs to tear down and rebuild but just can't quite commit to the losing that comes with such a stratagem.
So now they are going to be a club that loses, but doesn't lose enough to make the losing worthwhile on draft night.