The Phoenix Suns were one of the surprises of the NBA last season. They got on a role late in the year and became a force in the second half, winning enough games to grab the third spot in the Western Conference. On top of the strong second half during the regular season, the Suns swept the Spurs and made it to the conference finals before losing to the Lakers in six. Channing Frye had a career year, Goran Dragic and Robin Lopez emerged off the bench, Jason Richardson and Grant Hill were both solid, and Amare Stoudemire played like an MVP in the second half. Now that Stat left for the Big Apple in free agency, the Suns will be missing a huge weapon.
The changes have taken their toll on the team according to star point guard Steve Nash, who gave an honest assessment of the Suns on Sunday. “To be honest, if I was outside this picture and a betting man, I would probably pick us to be outside of the playoffs considering all the changes and the new guy,” Nash said after the 2-6 preseason showing. The new guy has to be Hedo Turkoglu who was acquired in a trade this off-season.
Turkoglu found his home in Orlando where he became a multi-threat player and fit into Stan Van Gundy’s system, but things were a mess last year in Toronto. In addition to Turkoglu, the squad also signed Josh Childress who spent the past two seasons in Greece. There are many talented teams in the Western Conference, most of whom have more continuity than Phoenix. The Suns will probably battle for one of the final playoff spots in the conference. It’s quite possible they’re left on the outside when the season is over.