Monday, October 6, 2008

Another Rising for the Suns

A change of coach, a change of game mindset, a change of pace.

A lot of changes have been going around the Phoenix Suns camp in preparation for their 2009 campaign. Headed by new coach Terry Porter, who filled the void for the New York-bound Mike D’Antoni, the Suns will shift from a fast, rocketing scoring machine into a tough defensive line.

The gang, still led by 2-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, also went some major overhaul. First was the Shaquille O’Neal trade for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks with the Miami Heat. Goran Dragic is hauled in from a European league to become Nash’s understudy while reserve PG DJ Strawberry is sent somewhere else.

But will the Suns make it this time? Under D’Antoni, the Suns was the best running team in the league. It was that image the Suns projected, playing as very powerful scoring threat every time they possess the ball. And they were good at it in the season. Even reaching the Western Conference Finals once. However, their losses in the playoffs made D’Antoni and his system a target of basketball critics and purists.

They do have a point. D’Antoni’s style gives them the offensive glory, but the Suns were spooks when it comes to defense. Under a new coaching staff, we will might not be able to see a streaking Nash lobbing the ball to Amare or Shaq as often as we did the previous seasons. But bulking on defense might give them a chance at the title.