Suns are not yet setting
(In response to Joshua Spivack’s Oct. 21 column, “Shaq trade hurts 2008 version of Suns”)
I found Joshua’s article to be poorly researched. In summary, he said that last year Shaq did not work out so well because Shaq is now old, hasn’t meshed with his teammates and is only playing about half the game.
But if he hadn’t heard, Mike D’Antoni is gone and so is the run and gun. What was last year’s clunky bumper is now an integrated piece in a new offensive and defensive system.
According to the Suns staff, Shaq is leading the team in adapting to the new style. This style is more traditional and absolutely accommodating to a player like Shaq, unlike the run and gun.
Shaq has been healthy and participating the entire preseason. The Suns also added a rookie center that has been playing considerable minutes and playing them well. Shaq can average his seven minutes and 30 seconds per quarter and the Suns won’t be hurting when he’s on the bench. Last year, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire only averaged about five minutes per game more than Shaq. The drop-off in minutes is not as big of a deal as he makes it sound.
Also, he called the Suns shorthanded. If he paid attention, he would have seen that the Suns made excellent moves to give them a very deep bench. First-year Suns Matt Barnes, Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic have all been overachieving this preseason. Returning bench players Grant Hill, Boris Diaw, Alando Tucker and Leandro Barbosa have been stellar as well.
Coach Terry Porter actually lets his bench see the court, unlike D’Antoni’s seven-man rotation. Could this be a rough season for the Suns? Quite possibly, but not for the reasons Spivack stated.
The Suns’ challenges will be adapting to Porter’s new system, not adapting to Shaq. Finding their identity as a well-rounded team playing on both sides of the floor, rather than being two teams — one with Shaq, one without. Another huge hurdle is competing in a brutal Western Conference.
If this article had been published last year after the Suns lost in the playoffs and before D’Antoni left, it would have made sense. But there has been a world of change since that time, and it dissolves all of the points he made against the Suns 2008-09 campaign.
I couldn’t tell if Spivack is a fan or not, but as a fan, I had to let him know he was misrepresenting the team. I will be looking forward to any future Suns articles he may publish. Best of luck.