great Shaquille O'Neal was recently traded
to the Phoenix Suns and there are questions
around the big man's effectiveness these
days! He's been oft-injured, the Miami
Heat has one of the league's worst records
(due in part to my first statement) and
Shaq has shown wear since he traded to
the Heat from the Lakers.
So why would Phoenix make a deal for a
mid-thirties center obviously past his
Because they don't need him to be the
Shaq of old and they needed to put all
their cards on the table because Steve
Nash and company aren't getting any younger!
Phoenix has regularly been a playoff team
and won over 50 games but when they have
played the San Antonio Spurs and even
the Dallas Mavericks have struggled with
inside presence! Struggle no more because
even if Shaq can run with the team he
will certainly make an impact in the middle
clogging it and making people pass around
him on defense! On offense the team has
plenty of weapons and losing backup point
guard and regular All-Star Shawn Marion
won't change that!
Suns are blessed to have a player like
Boris Diaw to fill in admirably for Marion
and also the veteran Grant Hill so the
small forward position should be cool!
Also Phoenix doesn't have to try and trot
Amare Stoudamire out there at the center
spot and watch him get eaten up in the
playoffs by someone bigger and stronger!
Now they can let Amare guard his natural
power forward position and let Shaq do
his thing in the middle!
Shaq has never been a shot blocking king
but he will do a nice job down in the
middle and while I don't know whether
this mean a championship, I do credit
Sun's General Manager Steve Kerr for pulling
the trigger on a move with the potential
to get the Suns to the promise land! Steve
Nash has a bad back and won't be around
team has been one of the most exciting
teams ever and this move puts them on
equal playing ground with the Spurs, Utah
Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and the Mavericks
(provided the Mavs get PG Jason Kidd or
another top flight PG like they've been
talking about). In the west it's anyone's
guess who is coming out! The Suns just
got on the short list!
Suns' coach Mike D'Antoni is a great offensive
mind and will find a way for Shaq to work
and I think Shaq will respond well to
the criticism and get his act together!
Shaq feels like he's an underdog now,
which is important, and will prepare like
he's got something to prove! He won't
be an MVP or not even an All-Star but
he will show why they traded for him!
is back in purple. This time with some
orange in it!
As for Miami, Shaq brought them what they
so coveted, a ring, and his job with them
was coming to a close! The team was among
the oldest in the league and need to turnover
and got two good pieces in Marion and
Marcus Banks. With Jason Williams possibly
leaving in the off-season there's a good
chance Banks could start next season (if
he plays well) and Dwyane Wade and Marion
should be a very nice uptempo combination
for years to come!
is overrated and underrated at the same
time because while he doesn't do anything
particularly great he does everything
very good! He's a beast on the boards
and has one of the best second jumps in
the league! It willb be interesting to
see Marion play without a distributor
because he's benefitted from Kidd, Stephon
Marbury and Nash in the past, especially
in halfcourt sets!
Riley has retooled before and has done
a good job getting a lot for a little
(at least Shaq's value was on this current
Heat team). With the low draft pick they
are getting this year due to their terrible
record they will get another piece to
the puzzle and be well on their way back
to respectability. In reality as long
as the have Wade they have the hardest
player who can take over a game is a priceless
commodity in the league! There are plenty
of teams with good players in the league
but they struggle to find that go-to guy!
Miami has a young one with championship
experience and he's a winner too!
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