I know Amare Stoudemire is gone, and I know Suns fans are supposed to feel like their team won’t be as good. At least, most fans I know sure seem to think the Suns are on their way back down.
But those fans should remember one thing: Nobody expected the Suns to even make the playoffs last year. As for reaching the Western Conference finals, anyone who suggested as much likely would have been thrown out of Arizona for good.
But let’s pretend for a minute that Stoudemire was never on the team. I know, it’s tough. He’s a great dude and fantastic player. Still, let’s just say he never played in Phoenix.
If you saw a starting lineup with Steve Nash, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Grant Hill and Robin Lopez, you would likely be excited. You would likely think the Suns could do something special this season. You would likely realize that outside of the defending (and aging) champion Lakers, the West is wide open.
Instead, too many fans are focusing on Stoudemire’s departure to New York, acting as if it’s a blow that will sink the Suns.
I beg to differ.
While losing a talent like Stoudemire is never a good thing (especially when you consider the chemistry between he and Nash), a whole new exciting world of Suns basketball awaits.
Turkoglu is a 6-foot-10 playmaker, a forward who can really pass and knock down outside shots. He may not have done much in Toronto, but I always got the sense the Raptors never really figured out how to use him. But when it comes to big men in Coach Alvin Gentry’s free-flowing system, it’s hard to envision a better fit.
Or look at it this way: The Suns lost Stoudemire and Barbosa, but added Turkoglu, forward Hakim Warrick and swingman Josh Childress. They’re likely to get more out of second-year forward Earl Clark as well, and who knows what might become of rookie Gani Lawal, another athletic big man?
The bottom line is the Suns lost a good one in Stoudemire, but seem to have pulled off the impossible. They seem to have done enough to not really notice.
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For even more of my thoughts on the Suns, check out my latest log post on Suns.com, Blanks a fitting choice for GM, and other random takes.