Don't worry, boys. I'm old, fat and slow now,
but I'm just what you need.
Ok, Evil Ted here. As a Patriots fan who just watched 99 out of 100 football analysts pick my team to win last weekend, I'm in a contrarian mood today. So let me be that 1 out of 100 person to say that the Shaq move will prove to be exactly the right move for the Suns - at least for this year's playoffs. Here's why:
Myth 1: The Suns Need Marion. The Suns are already stacked with a ton of fast, young, athletic, able-to-play-plenty-of-minutes talent (Stoudemire, Diaw, Barbosa). Unless the rules are changed to allow Steve Nash to bribble four balls - two in each hand - and dish out assists to four guys at once, the Suns will not be lacking athletic scorers and finishers. Just last night against the Hornets, Diaw threw in 22 in place of Marion, and the Suns scored 130 points. And lost. Because they gave up 132. Looking for a defensive presence in the middle? Just got it. Looking to free up Amare for some free-wheeling power forward duty? Just did it.
Myth 2: Shaq isn't a role player: Prediction: Shaq will do what nobody thinks he is willing to do for the Suns - be a role player. In an effort to cement his greatness with another NBA title, he will realize his best chance is to be a defensive stopper in the middle, rebound, and give the offensive numbers to the better, younger athletes around him. Let's not forget: he managed to do a little winning with one of the most selfish players on the planet, Kobe Bryant. And he managed to be arguably a second offensive option in Miami with D Wade.
Myth 3: Shaq doesn't fit into this team's style of play: Bill Walton once commented that the '86 Celtics were great because they could play any style of ball - the fast break game, the half court game, etc. This trade allows the Suns a chance to be able to do this as well. Up until now, opposing teams have pretty much known exactly what to expect out of the Suns - a fast break, high scoring affair that will, at the end of the day, be predictable and winnable. Now, if Shaq can pull himself together for a playoff run like he did with Miami, the Suns are potentially capable of any number of unpredictable, throw-opponents-off-balance styles.
Myth 4: Shaq is lazy and unmotivated: Perhaps in part...sadly, it is a natural phenomenon for the coddled players of today's NBA game to pack it in when they are clearly not in the playoff race. Prediction: Shaq will pull a Randy Moss for the Suns, and start working like hell to contribute to a contender. And anyone who thinks the possibility of going up against Kobe in the playoffs isn't making Shaq's mouth water is sorely mistaken.
Myth 5: The New England Patriots' Dynasty is on the downturn: Sorry, I just had to get that in here. If people want to fool themselves into thinking a Tom Brady-led team that went 16-0 in the regular season is done, enjoy living in Denialville. The Patriots will be eating glass and crapping diamonds over the off-season, and congressional hearings about who taped what will be even greater motivation for this Anton-Chigurh-mentality team to rip future opponents to shreds. That said, I like the unassuming Eli Manning, the now easygoing former BC Eagles coach Tommy Coughin, and I've even come to accept the need for this historically humiliating loss to give the Patriots a much-deserved dose of humble pie (which will only make them angrier, more ferocious, and even less likeable - yes, I understand why people have come to hate them).
Prediction: Suns / Celtics Finals: Celtics in 7.
Prediction: Patriots, again 18-0, only to lose to the resurgent Seattle Seahawks on a last-minute Hasselbeck to Branch bomb, 21-17.
Labels: New England Patriots, Phoenix Suns, Shaq