And on to the next stop of a 5 game roadie from hell. The Phoenix Suns park themselves in Madison Square Garden tonight to face the New York Knicks, a night after getting thrashed by the Chicago Bulls.
While the Suns have lost 5 straight games, the Knicks have lost 3 in a row. Two of the three losses were away from MSG and to quality WC foes, Oklahoma City (in which Carmelo Anthony did not play), and Memphis.
While the Suns are a squad in need of a little star power, defense, offense, and of course rebounding, the Knicks are a team with part of the equation, along with a youngster, Iman Shumpert, whose playing pretty dang well right now. Remember Shumpert? Remember how the Suns were thinking of...sigh...never mind I guess, but this leads to the next thought...Start Keef on Stoudemire. Why not? May as well get the youngster some experience playing against an offensive beast with average at best rebounding and defensive abilities. Keef is just the type of kid to out hustle Amare, frustrate him into committing some stupid fouls, and keep him out of the paint where he can come from the weak side to challenge shots inside. Plus he's coming off of kind of a crappy game. Why not give Morris him a chance to shake that one off and gain some confidence against his predecessor. Just a thought.
More Fun With Numbers:
While the Suns began the season boasting top 10 ranks in defense and rebounding, we have seen those encouraging trends take a major dump. The Knicks, on the other hand, rank near the middle in both offense and defense as well. The very handy 82games.com provides an interesting look at the Mike D'Antoni led squad:
Knicks Shot Clock Usage
Check out what happens in 0-10 seconds for the Knicks. Their highest FG%, the majority of their points and assists. So D'Antoni.
And while we're all trying to figure out a way to win a game, and thus, determine the best personnel at the best time with which to do that, here's something to make y'all think. What can you make out of this? A paper hat? Lining for your birdcage? Or maybe there's a magic formula in there. If so, let me know, heck maybe let Alvin Gentry know:
Suns Top Five-Man Floor Units
W = number of games a unit outscored its opponents while on the court.
L = number of games a unit was outscored by its opponents while on the court.
Well not that good. No word on whether Nash and Hill will play, but I assume they will, given the opponent. Even with the old guys around it will be difficult to stop or slow STAT, Chandler, and Anthony. But anything's possible, yes? Let us begin with defense. How does an NBA team with a defensive coordinator forget they need to play defense? Is the personnel not there? Did the first several games of the season prove the Suns could play D? YES.
So the guys CAN play defense, they just aren't executing like they can. While the focus is on the NY front line, keep a hand in the faces of Shumpert and fields. Sounds so easy. Offensively, it was nice to see RoLo have a good game. It would also be nice to see our SG's shooting better than 7-20, and our PF's shoot 3-14.
This Suns squad needs to play with some pride, like they have something to lose, because they basically do. This is how teams get broken up-LOSING. And how many times have we seen drastic moves made in the midst of a long losing streak? It happens a lot. For better or worse I think change is imminent if our boys can't salvage something out of this road trip. At the same time, have some freakin' fun. Loosen up. We know Frye and Dudley can find their shots. We know Redd may be a statue out there, but he can hit shots. Shannon Brown? Well he has made a shot, so in theory maybe he can get it going to...But I'd like to see him at the rim instead of beyond the arc at this point.
Oh and lastly...Let the Nash trade rumors begin. It's inevitable. And here is what Nash is going to have to repeat 1,000 times ad nauseum unless he changes his mind:
"I really don't even think about it," (getting traded) Nash said. "I've got a tall task to perform for my team every night and to try to turn this thing around. It hasn't even crossed my mind, really. I'm just concerned with getting some energy for (tonight) and getting a win."
Don't forget to check out the world famous East Bay Ray over at Posting and Toasting's preview.
Game Day Links
Use your right hand to push your jaw back up off your lap and into place. Yes, the BSotS writer who cringes every time someone laments the loss of a former "7 seconds or less" player and/or the good ol' days is right now setting the bait on the hook.
Reportedly, Charlotte is finally so tired of the buttery croissant named Boris Diaw that they are making him available to anyone who wants him, as long as the return is not a bad, long-term contract (Warrick + Lopez works).
While Diaw may better resemble Oliver Miller these days than Hakim Warrick, he is still supremely talented. It's painfully obvious that he would be the second or third most talented player on this 2011-12 Suns roster. He would put up 15, 6 and 6 at the PF spot. Frye would switch to backup C, while Diaw and Morris would share PF. And, his contract expires in 3 months, which still allows the Suns to enter the offseason with a clean slate.
The upside? Diaw always performs very well after a trade (to the Suns in '06, then to the Bobcats in '08), he is always healthy enough to play, and he would need no adjustment period to the Suns' offense or defense. In fact, he would be the Suns' second-best playmaker, one of their best shooters AND their best post defender. He has even added the 3-pointer to his arsenal since joining Charlotte. The Suns would instantly become more entertaining to watch, with two (two!) guys able to generate open shots and/or score as needed.
The downside? He is soft as a roll of Charmin. And yet his playmaking and defense might just make the Suns a good enough team to fight for 10th place in the West, resulting in a bad combination of no playoffs and no top-5 pick for next year.