Tag Archives: Phoenix Suns

On The Other, There’s Roy Halladay, An Old Guy Who’s Worth The Investment!

21 Jul

I just posted my absolutely correct opinion that the Phoenix Suns made a huge mistake signing 35 year old Steve Nash to a two year extension that will run out when he’s 38.  38, is 214 in point guard years, especially when you’ve played in the Phoenix speed it up offense.

So, why then do I think Roy Halladay at 32 is worth everything you can throw at Toronto to get him?

It’s simple.  Pitching is an elusive art and betting on pitcher development is complete crap shoot.  I grew up a Mets’ fan.  I’m in my 40s (although still super sexy).  I lived through Generation K.

For anyone younger and less sexy than me, Generation K was a nickname given to three can’t miss prospects of the Mets back in the long ago 1990s.  All three guys were supposed to be future aces and the future looked damn bright on the mound at Shea.  Only something happened on the way to glory.  Not one of the three made it as a big league starter.  Injuries and ineffectiveness doomed all their careers.

Jason Isringhausen went on to have the biggest career of the three, but it wasn’t as a starter.

Anyway, the point is that predicting how pitchers mature is next to impossible.  So, as much as I tend to always favor youth when my teams are looking to make personal changes, for pitching I tend to take a bit different view.  For ace pitchers in particular, I’ve got a whole other mindset.

When Johan Santana was available.  I couldn’t believe the hated Yankees didn’t go stronger after him.  The Yankees held onto their allegedly talented young pitchers rather than dealing for the 30 year old and far from done Minnesota ace.  Where did it get them?  Out of the playoffs last year.

And that’s why for a team in contention, Halladay at 32, is worth whatever Toronto can be persuaded to take for him.   Whether a team in contention is built just for today or for the long run, there should be no hesitation.

Roy Halladay is the real deal.  He’s going to be an effective pitcher for years who may be able to put you over the top now.

What about that amazing prospect or prospects you’ll have to give up?  Well, if they’re pitchers, I wouldn’t worry too much. 

After all, I’m a Mets’ fan and even I can’t recall the names of the other two members of Generation K….

 

PS – OK, yes I can.  I just wanted to make a point and end with something snappy.  Why am I cursed with such a memory for sports?!  The other members of Generation K were Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson.

Here’s a bonus picture of them in case you thought I was making it all up:

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Why Tom Watson Proves The Suns Blew It With Steve Nash! Absolute Proof!

21 Jul

I hate golf.  But, despite that I’m starting this post out with a golf reference to make a point that needs to be made.

Tom Watson at 92 or 59, whatever age he truly is, got real close to winning the British Open or some other completely over hyped golf tournament this past weekend.  Even I, who never watches or listens to sports talk radio about golf, couldn’t help but be fascinated by how close Watson came to winning such a big tournament at such an advanced age.

I think it was the 43 year old in me rooting for the 59 year in him.

PS – the old guy chocked.

Anyway, sports is a tough business.  Age isn’t kind in sports and you don’t often win when you bet on it.

The Phoenix Suns are taking a big bet on Steve Nash.  The two-time league MVP is set to sign a two year extension to his existing deal that will now keep him with the franchise until he’s 38.  Nash is 35 now and you can bet his best years are behind him.  He’s never going to win another MVP.  Write that down!

Even worse, the best years are behind the Suns.  Point guards top out around their mid thirties.  Having elite skills and elite players surrounding an aging point guard can mask their decline a bit, but make no mistake that age wins ever time.  NO athlete is immune.  Not even Jordan or Armstrong.

The Suns are a fading franchise.  The coach who brought out the best in Nash is now toiling in New York with even less talent.  Nash may lose his best piece if Amare Stoudamire doesn’t get a deal he likes next year.  Extending Nash might have made sense if his supporting cast were say the LA Lakers or their arch rival Celtics.  But, they’re not.

They say you get what you pay for.  Pheonix will soon find that to be very true.  They’re going to overpay for the last pro years of Steve Nash’s career at the exact time they should be spending Nash money on bringing in young talent to re-stock with.

Nice work, Suns!

Grant Hill Loses His Damn Mind!

8 Jul

Grant Hill has always seemed a class act to me.  While injuries stopped him from fulfilling his promise as one of the first “next Jordan’s”, Hill has to be admired for the way he’s battled back.

He actually played a ton of games last year for Phoenix and was an effective member of the Suns’ squad.  At an advanced age and having made a bunch of money in his career, you’d think the last motivation left for Grant Hill would be a championship.

And you’d be wrong.

Rumors are swirling that Hill is going to sign with the New York Knicks.

Why???

Even if everything breaks the Knicks’ way, LeBron won’t even be in Manhattan for another year.  By then the brittle Hill will be one year closer to 40.  How much will he have left?

And has he looked at the Knicks’ roster recently?  That team is more than a LeBron James and old version of Grant Hill away from a title.

Apparently, the Celtics are in the Hill chase too.   Here’s hoping Grant Hill regains his sanity long enough to sign on with Garnett and the gang.

Playing in Boston would give him a much better chance to go out a champion.  And not even Michael Jordan did that….

Don’t Kidd Yourself Or Nash Your Teeth! These Guys Aren’t Worth The Money!

3 Jul

For the life of me I don’t understand why NBA teams are so interested in Jason Kidd and Steve Nash.  It’s 2009.   If it was 1999 or even 2004, I would get it.

Kidd is a free agent and Nash is one year away from free agency (I think) and still the piece around which Phoenix intends to rebuild.  Why?

Kidd (I think ) is 36.  Nash is right there with him.  If I wasn’t so lazy with the research, this post would be even more impressive. 

But lazy or not, my point is that point guards don’t last much beyond their mid-thirties.  I’d even venture to say that many of the greatest point guards were done being truly great by their early 30s.

John Stockton, off the top of my head, probably stayed as effective as anyone deep into his 30s.  Stockton, though, is the exception.

My advice for NBA teams would be to think of both Nash and Kidd as one year investments.  At their advanced ages for basketball, they’re both running out of time.   Kidd, in particular, has played a lot of basketball when you factor in his coming out school so early.

Jason Kidd and Steve Nash belong in the Hall of Fame some day.  Where they don’t belong right now is in a smart NBA team’s future plans beyond the next year.

Mark my words.  I’m not wishing either of them bad things, but it seems inevitable that you’ll see even sharper declines in each of them sooner than later.

Quick Hits on NBA Coaching Hires

10 May

Mike D’Antonini to the Knicks – If you’ve been reading this space, then you know how I feel about this one.  Cheesy mustache aside, you’ve got to be impressed by his record in Phoenix.  The regular season.  Never has figured out that defense wins come crunch time.  Worth mentioning too that his teams were stocked in Phoenix.  Welcome to New York, Mr. D’Antonini.  I think you’ll find the cupboard is a bit more bare in the big apple.  Good luck with Marbury, Curry and the rest of the Knicks group of professional losers.  Figure D’Antonini won’t last through the end of his contract & I don’t even know how long that is!  Knicks coaches never do and he’s NOT the the right fit for this job.

Rick Carlisle to the Mavericks – Was pretty impressed with Carlisle in Detroit and thought he was done wrong when they dumped him for NBA vagabond Larry Brown.  Less impressed with his tenure in Indiana on the whole.  I’m no longer sure this guy is a really good coach.  Guess Mavericks gig will seal the verdict on him.  I’m guessing he’ll be found guilty of not being a great one.  Think this is another bad coaching hire.

 As the merry go round continues to spin, guess the question now is who’ll get the Chicago & Phoenix gigs.  Whoever they are, they got to be better matches than the Knicks and Mavericks have found.

Or I could be completely wrong…

D’Antoni Vs. Johnson… Who’s The Right Re-Tread Coach For Your NBA Team?

6 May

In most sports leagues, heck in most corporations, the head jobs are usually tough to crack.  Most sports teams out to hire a head coach go with someone who has done the job before.  The NBA is no exception.  It’s all about cutting down the risks when making a big hire. 

Whenever a vacancy is announced, it’s never long before the management looking to fill that opening is calling up guys who’ve done the job before.  You know, re-treads.  Never mind that often times the re-treads fail miserably on their second or third or fourth chances.  Sort of like most hollywood stars and marriage.

So, it’s always exciting when a new coaching re-tread becomes available to the NBA’s general managers.  For that reason, Phoenix Coach Mike D’Antoni is getting a lot of attention now that his boss GM Steve Kerr (remember his deadly 3 point shot?  He’s been a lot less accurate as a GM so far) is letting him talk to other teams.  Word is the Bulls and Knicks are interested.

My question is why?

First off, and I know it’s a surface thing, but there’s the bad mustache.  Memo to Mike D’Antoni.  1974’s come and gone.  Let go of the ‘stache.

Cheap shot?  Maybe, but do you think today’s young athletes are respecting someone with  ’70s porn facial hair? 

Whatever. 

Let’s move on.  The more important factor is what D’Antoni’s managed to do in Phoenix.  There’s no arguing with the regular season record. It’s pretty impressive.  Speaking of pretty, the style of play he advocates is fun to watch and play. Players and fans alike dig it.  (PS – I’m using 70s slang as a subtle tribute to the D’Antoni mustache)

Yup, you know the problem.  The nice regular season stats and the powerhouse offense has meant nothing come playoff time.  A team that has featured the now departed Sean Marion, Amare Stoudemire, Steve Nash (and his bad hair), Shaq and Grant Hill among others has never made the finals.  Not once.  And if memory serves, they’ve never even made it to a game seven of a conference finals.

As his core ages, the post season woes have gotten worse.  Now, the Suns are making first round exits.

The trouble with D’Antoni is his teams don’t play defense pure and simple.

For my money, if I was a GM looking for rookie re-treads, I’d go with Avery Johnson.  Johnson’s regular season record holds up nicely to D’Antoni’s.  Johnson has coached a team to a finals appearance, even if Dirk and Co. did choke it away. 

Most, impressively, Johnson changed the culture in Big D.  Suddenly, they were focused on D.  Taking the reins from Don Nelson and getting a team to buy into defense is one big accomplishment.  For that, re-tread Johnson deserves a second shot way before Mike D’Antoni.

Pretty basketball be damned.  And besides Avery doesn’t have as cheesy a mustache…

The Sun Is Setting On Not One, But Two NBA Franchises!

30 Apr

This just in.  The Dallas Mavericks have exited the NBA Playoffs in the first round despite mortgaging part of their future to get Jason Kidd out of New Jersey.  You know a certain Mr. Cuban isn’t happy right now.  Change is gonna come…

Soon enough, the Phoenix Suns will be bounced out of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs.  Shaq and Dirk will make a very large twosome on America’s golf courses.  Not sure if either actually does play golf, but even if they don’t, after first round exits each will have plenty of time to learn. 

The rumors are flying that the Suns may let head coach Mike D’Antoni go if (or I should say when) his team loses to the Spurs.  The Knicks already have him on their short list of potential coaches.

No matter what happens with D’Antoni.  It’s clear the window is shutting on both franchises.  Sports is all about windows of opportunity. 

Growing up in the 70s, I hated the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I loved Bum Phillips and enjoyed seeing the rise of the Houston Oilers as a legitimate threat to the Steelers’ AFC dominance.

I remember after one year, in which the Oilers came close but couldn’t overcome the Steelers, Phillips had a great quote about what he expected going into the next season.  Bum said something like “last year we knocked on the door.  This year we’re going to break it down”.

To me, Bum’s quote is what it’s all about.  To win a championship, you’ve got to build a team of complementary players, give them time to jell and hope for a heck of a lot of luck.  In Houston’s case, the window closed without a championship for either Phillips or Earl Campbell, the most exciting runner I ever saw as a kid.  That doesn’t mean Bum wasn’t right.  It takes time to win championships.

Looking at Dallas and Phoenix, I’m struck by the same thing.  Churn.  Dallas is certainly more guilty.  But, each NBA franchise has continued to tweak their roster downward.  Both the Suns and Mavericks have been good for a while, yet neither has had a enough to break through.

Neither franchise has been able to resist the temptation to try to improve their roster.  Yet, it seems to me, each team keeps weakening their squad with each successive trade.  Dallas is now stuck with a very old looking Jason Kidd (especially in comparison to Chris Paul) at the point, while Dirk’s not getting any younger.

As for Phoenix, I absolutely never understood the Sean Marion trade.  He was such a big part of that team and still so young.  How do you give him up for an old Shaq?  Now, Phoenix is stuck with two aging superstars in Shaq and the still very effective Steve Nash. 

The sun is setting in Phoenix and the window is closing in Dallas.

Too bad.  I would have liked to see either franchise finally break through.  I’m pretty sure Bum Phillip agrees.