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.

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Blogger Unknown said...
1) Marion has led our team in minutes played the last two years and can easily play 40 a night if needed. Marion has led us in steals for... well forever. He's also led us in blocks for the past two years and the only sun to be able to do 2 steals and 1.5 blocks without much trouble.

For quite some time now, we've been a team of track stars and Marion has been able to go full-tilt, night in and night out for us. His presence will be missed greatly.

And as far as Boris throwing in 22, do you honestly think he'll do that night in and night out? Boris got his contract and then toileted his game.

2) Shaq doesn't have much of a choice other than to be whatever Nash wants him to be. If Steve wants him to score, he'll score, and if Steve doesn't want to get him the ball, thats pretty much the end all in it. This isn't the triangle offense, this is the Nash makes all the decisions offense.

3) You're talking like this is the fat Barkley of 92 who worked out to slim down (a bit) and play in the Suns fastbreak offense driven by Kevin Johnson. Chuck was much younger than Shaq, and odd as it sounds, took better care of his body. Shaq isn't mobile enough to fit into Phoenix's halfcourt game as it is right now, but we'll see how the adjustments are made when, you know, he's healthy again, so probably 2009.

4) Randy plays WR and didn't even do much for two years so his body was extra preserved. Randy is also a good bit younger than Shaq. O'Neal plays center, which is far more demanding on your body.

There are good sides (albeit minimal) and downsides to this trade. I'd be lying if I said I'm not anxious to see how this is going to play out. Then again, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anxious to see how the 93 finals played out, and aside from the moral victory of the triple overtime game, it was mostly an evisceration of my testes.

Blogger Tonewise said...
I agree that it is somewhat foolish not to give a player of Shaq's stature the benefit of the doubt that he can in fact contribute.

It is however hard to look past the struggles of this season... as stated in the current climate of the NBA "where choosing when to show up for work" happens thats its hard to tell how much of the struggles were Shaq or the situation he found himself in this season... but maybe they are the same thing, maybe not...

In short I think to say this was a move that CAN NOT work is simply short sighted.

Strange that no one is taking time to report on the MAtrix side of things tho...

Is he happy with being traded(yes) MIA?

Is there any chance of him not opting out?

Blogger starang said...
Dem' werds is already merked by me, but I agree with you Enormous Turd. I ask anyone opposing Shaq-Fu in Purp and Orange this: How is it any different than when we had Kurt Thomas in the lineup???? Kurt didn't run the floor when we were on a break, and if the break wasn't there, he made his way into the offense, and sometimes got the ball...and sometime put the ball in the hole.

So, in closing, would you rather have Nash, Bell, Hill, Amare, and Thomas...or Nash, Bell, Hill, Amare, and Shaquille fucking O'Neil.

And don't be the idiot that reply's with how great Kurt Thomas is, or you will get pooped on.

Good day.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
haha pats ain't gonna go 18-0, sorry.

but i am hoping (like you) that shaq will be ok

Blogger Drake said...

Comparing Kurt Thomas's role to Shaq' role is somewhat ludicrous. Beyond the fact that they're both slow, both rebound decently, and both play center, the comparison isn't very apt.

In one corner, you have one of the greatest centers of all time and one of the greatest egos of all time. Forget the nicknames of "Big-whatever" or the tag of greatest center ever; they're still relevant, but I look to his somewhat recent statement telling Rick Barry to shut up about shooting free-throws underhanded because he never won anything (Barry won one championship). Can Shaq keep his ego under wraps to make his role work on the Suns? Hard to say. On the one hand, he did do an admirable job with Wade in that one championship season. On the other hand, he did say he needed a lot more touches for the team to go anywhere this season when Wade was out. Could you blame him for that statement? The Heat stink, that's for sure, but it wasn't any better with him getting those touches for the most part.

Kurt Thomas is a career role player and not a superstar. He knows what he had to do in order to succeed in this league as an undersized center: bang, play tough defense, make those midrangers, and rebound. If he had an enormous ego in his college days as the leading scorer in the nation, it's been pretty much gone now.

So what do I think? Personally, I think that Shaq will subvert his ego this time around. He knows what he needs to do to win a championship. That comparison with Thomas is apt.

But Thomas has one thing Shaq doesn't have: a midrange jumper. For Shaq to be effective, he needs to get into the low post. That's the only place for him. His offense is pretty shoddy nowadays, but still effective enough to draw double-teams. He's a very good passer out of the double team when he's looking for cutters.

For the Suns to succeed with Shaq, he needs to subvert his ego and let the team go about their business.

I think there's a very good chance for this to work. Look, I love to watch the Suns as much as anyone, but the fact is that they haven't been able to get past the Spurs or Mavs (mostly Spurs) in the playoffs. D'antoni may push the "3-seconds or less" philosophy, and it has been successful in winning games, but it has been somewhat ineffective in the playoffs. I won't make any conclusions, but the run-and-gun game hasn't worked out for the best, so maybe a traditional big man might work out well.

Blogger starang said...
My comparison was only to establish a basis for our style of play and how Shaq could fit into that style (which is the main argument against the trade for Shaq..."he can't run...he can't play our style"). I was not in any way comparing their overall basketball talent or egos.

My point was...if we can run with Kurt Thomas in the lineup...we can figure a way to fit Shaq Daddy in...and thats my only point.

But, I do agree with your commentary. HUGE ego...and that can always be an issue with a team where chemistry is so important. NO DOUBT, Shaq will have to assume a roll playing position...but I think he knows that coming from a 9 win team to the best team in the West. I would think he'de have to understand that we are good without him, therefore, he is not going to come in here and change our style of play so he can score more. He's an idiot if he thinks that.

Beleive me, we will keep running...its up to Shaq if he wants to run with us.