Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pre-season impressions

KT - lean, mean fighting machine

Kurt Thomas has been one of the brightest spots on an otherwise ordinary preseason for the Suns. Last night he turned in 20 points, 9 rebounds in just 24 minutes on the floor. He was pretty out of shape and clearly couldn't keep up with the frantic pace of the Suns during his comeback attempt in the playoffs last season. This time, however, he's in excellent shape to lead the Suns back to being one the premier defenses in the league.

In Coach D'Antoni's words, "He's way ahead (of last year)". I wonder if Jenny Craig had a role in whipping KT into shape...
What was that...bad joke? Hell no! Did you know that Jenny Craig is part owner of the Suns team?? So every time you buy Suns' tickets you're putting a few pennies in Kirstie Alley's pocket.

Amare update

Amare Stoudemire played close to 20 minutes in last night's preseason loss to Seattle. He finished with 13/5 -- not bad considering how far along D'Antoni thinks he is in his comeback - halfway. When asked about Amare, this is what he had to say

"Basketball wise, he's still about halfway there. He's got a lot of rust."
IMO, its gonna be at least 2-3 months before we can expect to see the Amare of old. For now, the Suns will look to work him into the lineup with 10-15 mins a game at the start of the season. And yes, he's not going to start for a while now. Before you guys begin to freak out, you need to realize that the Suns are solid enough to put together an impressive regular season record. Amare's presence is of paramount importance only in the playoffs, when teams have time to plan for the Suns and start pounding us at the post. Till such time, Amare purely needs to work on meshing well with the team and ridding himself off the rust he's accumulated.
The Suns will work out just fine this season.

For now, the positives about Amare:
  • He's being aggressive at the post. (yes, there are going to be off days like last night when he was tentative).
  • He's trying to play good defense from time to time.
It's just the preseason!

Suns' fans also need to stop taking preseason games so seriously. The coach and the team experiment a lot in these games and one shouldn't put much stock into the game results.
Case in point: A rather intriguing defensive match up we used in the previous game against the Lakers -- Marion on Bynum, KT on Odom

My concerns

-Banks' inability so far, to man the point effectively. I feel he will get better as the season wears on...but what scares me is

-D'Antoni's impatience with reserve players and his proclivity to run Nash into the ground because his backups aren't half as effective as him. This, IMO is D'Antoni's biggest weakness as a coach. He needs to show more faith in his bench and be more committed to resting Nash. Damn! Nash is 32 and our window of opportunity for a championship lasts only as long as Nash is on the team. Preserve the MVP!

-the team's shooting. We've been abysmal from downtown and need to improve our shooting. Part of the reason could be the new ball (blast!). The vets like Bell, Nash etc. will get used to it. James Jones was 3-5 from the three point line last night, so he's OK.
Banks and Jumaine Jones are the ones who really need to get their act together.

Injury update
  • Barbosa sat out last night's preseason game against Seattle with a right big toe sprain
  • Piatkowski made a comeback after missing five preseason games with an ankle sprain
  • Sean Marks is out with a left elbow sprain


sunshoops said...

nice rundown man!

keep em coming.

y'all said...

Nice work. Personally I think Jumaine J sucks. Losing TT will be huge for the Suns.

I don't share your optimism regarding Suns.

M said...

sunshoops : Thank you! Keep Reading.

y'all : I can understand your frustration with the Suns' losses. I don't think Jumaine Jones will supplant Tim Thomas. However, I feel that Jumaine will prove to be an adequate replacement for TT. Remember we also have a healthy JR, who is shooting well.