It's been a while since my last post, and there's a few topics I want to cover. First, since today is mother's day, I just want to say how good of a wife and mom Brooke is. Also, happy mother's day and birthday to my mom - she turned 50 this week.
Abigail gave her first talk in primary last week. She spoke on how families in the scriptures can teach us to be better family members. She did a great job - she read the whole thing! (She's not quite 4 yet). She wasn't nervous or scared at all. I am very proud of her.
Well, Mike D'antoni is no longer the Suns' coach. I guess he accepted an offer from the Knicks yesterday. I have to say, I have really enjoyed watching the Suns play the last 4 years - much more entertaining than anything else the NBA has to offer. Many people are disappointed that they didn't win a championship during that time, and feel that their time has now passed, and blame D'antoni, saying his style made for exciting basketball, a lot of regular season wins, but was not suited for playoff basketball. I disagree. I don't think his style of play was the reason for the lack of success in the playoffs. I think the blame for them not winning a championship lies mostly elsewhere.
I have to say I mostly agree with Bill Simmons, who, in his ESPN column this past week, bid farewell to the "7 seconds or less" era in Phoenix. He believes the blame lies mostly with Robert Sarver and his penny pinching. But here's my take:
In 2005 (D'antoni's first full season with the Suns), they had the best record in the league, but lost to the Spurs in the conference finals. Despite their record, I never felt they were actually better than the Spurs, and that playoff series proved it. (Although it would have been closer with a healthy Joe Johnson) Point is, regardless of style of play, the Spurs were the better team.
2006 - With Amare Stoudemire missing the entire season, they were never going to win a championship. They overachieved by returning to the conference finals.
2007 - This was the year they missed their chance. They were no question one of the top two teams in the league. Their second round series with the Spurs was the real championship series. If not for the infamous suspensions, that series was a toss up at worst. They had just won game 4 in San Antonio to tie the series and were headed back to Phoenix. You have to admit, that had Amare and Boris been allowed to play, they had the advantage. Main point: they lost that series mostly because of the suspensions, not because D'antoni's system failed in the playoffs.
2008 - I won't get into much - there's been a million columns about why they didn't win this year. All I'll say is that it was mostly about not being able to adjust to Shaq being in the lineup. Again, they lost not because D'antoni's system failed in the playoffs, but because they went away from that system in the second half of the season.
Like I said before, I believe most of the blame is with Sarver. He traded Joe Johnson to save money, traded the 7th pick in the 2004 draft (which was Luol Deng, and Andre Iguodala was also available) to save money, traded the 21st pick in the 2006 draft (Rajon Rondo) to save money, and sold the 24th pick in 2007 for cash. Bill Simmons explains it best: "So if you're scoring at home, they downgraded from 'Luol Deng or Andre Iguodala in 2004' to 'Rondo in 2006' to 'selling the No. 24 pick in 2007 for cash' ... which means that, effectively, they traded a No. 7 pick in a loaded draft for $4.9 million. Phoenix fans, you may now light yourselves on fire."
The sad thing about all this is that they ended up wasting all of this saved money on Boris Diaw's contract extension and Shaq's salary. They easily could have kept Joe Johnson, and drafted Deng or Iguodala, and been set as the most stacked team in the league for the next ten years, and been in a no worse financial situation than what they're in now. Thanks, Bill, I think I will light myself on fire now.
In the end, I think the saddest part is that Steve Nash, who for the last 4 years has been the best point guard ever, probably won't win a championship, through no fault of his own. Oh well, it's just the same old story for the Suns.