In the first installment of the Lord of The Rings trilogy, elf archer Legolas wistfully decries ‘I lament for Gandalf’ as he seeks comfort in the woods of Lothlorien after a fierce battle that results in Gandalf’s demise. (You had to have the extended edition to see it and if you don’t have it, get in the car NOW and go get it!)
Like Legolas, The Greg One laments for the Phoenix Suns lost season. The writing was on the wall from the beginning, but instead of rehashing what went wrong, lets make this the silver lining edition of Suns shop talk. Here we go.
Jared Dudley made good on his prediction of ten dunks this season. If Dudley was 5′ 8 this would be an impressive accomplishment. However, Dudley is 6′ 7 and at last check the goal is still ten feet from the ground but way to go on not making yourself a liar. That does give you about nine more dunks than Robin Lopez had this season and if I’m wrong on that, i’m sure its not by much.
Steve Nash won the assist title. In other news, the sky is blue, water is wet and the Clippers still suck. It was the fifth time in seven years Nash has been crowned assist king. At the age of 37, he is the oldest player to win the assist title, beating out the younger, faster (but not better) Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo in the process. And if you’re not down with that…I got two words for ya! (WWE Universe, tell ‘em what they are).
Marcin Gortat showed he is the best sound bite to hit Phoenix since Charles Barkley. Gortat is Barkley 2.0. Barkley is a bald 6′ 6 power forward that played like a seven-footer. Gortat is a bald seven-foot center that actually PLAYS like a seven-foot center, unlike the other seven-foot center who started most of the season.
Barkley is loved for speaking his mind both now and when he played. Gortat spoke his mind from the moment he got to Phoenix. Most guys who come over in midseason trades tow the company line, spit out the same old cliches and you don’t hear a controversial word until the following year. Less than a week after arriving in Phoenix, Gortat was calling out the whole team for not playing defense or stressing defense and he was right!
Gortat took Lopez’s heart, his minutes and his starting spot without breaking a sweat. Gortat had more double doubles off the bench than any other player in the league and was less than one rebound from averaging a double double in a Suns uniform. Phoenix fans can rejoice, we have our center of the future. As for you Lopez, I hear Ray Charles singing your new theme song. Four words. The first road is hit, the last word is Jack. You went to Stanford so you should be able to figure the middle words out.
From the hindsight is 20/20 department, the mad offseason search to find Amar’e Stoudemire’s replacement could have been solved by a player that was already here. Channing Frye was given a new deal and played better than any of the three brought in through free agency. Even after separating his shoulder near the end of the season, Frye still shot better with one good arm than Hakim Warrick, Hedo Turkoglu or Josh Childress did with two good arms. Way to play Channing!
Coach Alvin Gentry and (hopefully) Suns management have learned that without a go-to scorer at the end of games, you will finish two games under .500 and out of the playoffs unless the Suns get relocated to the Eastern Conference. You live by the three and die by the three. That is what happen to Phoenix this season.
Ironically, if Gortat had been here prior to Stoudemire walking, the Suns would be the favorite this season. What a difference finding the right free agent makes. Now that Gortat will be a long-term Sun, what we need is a dominant big body scoring power forward like…Stoudemire! David West, Greg Oden, Carl Landry and Tyson Chandler could be other options as well.
Straight out of the TMI department, we learned the name of the ailment that kept Nash out of games or reduced his minutes the last few weeks of the season from Nash being himself. Pubic Symphysis Irritation. You could have just said ‘man region’ and we all would get the idea. After consulting a medical journal, it is a cartilaginous joint that connects the left and right pubic bones and the ligaments that a man’s participle dangles from…and its irritated.
It is hard to imagine how a man could run, much less walk with that type of injury, but he did and he should be given gladiator status for even attempting to come back so quickly from it. No man alive would have questioned him for taking the rest of the season off but the two-time MVP is made of magic and willpower and should be in inspiration to us all. He risked his participle for us. Steve, I love you man.
And on that happy note we have the sunny side of a dreadful season. We have the assist king. We have uncovered a power forward and a real center. Suns management has (again, hopefully) learned not to make the same mistake twice and Dudley can jump over a loaf of bread ten times to register his predicted number of dunks. So Suns fans, take heed. Not all is lost. Nash wants to stay, the core is set and the Clippers still suck.