NBA Draft: Cloudy in the Valley of the Sun

Damian Lillard
If Nash walks, Lillard might be his replacement.

Remember when the Phoenix Suns were two games away from making it to the NBA Finals? That was just two years ago. Since then, they let Amar’e Stoudemire walk, signed a bunch of mid-level free agents, some to outrageous contracts, and have whiffed on a few draft picks (Earl Clark and Gani Lawal). This offseason is crucial for the Suns, who just missed the playoffs this past season, if they want to stay competitive in the Western Conference. Steve Nash is a free agent and the ball is in management’s corner.

The possibility of losing Nash could do two things to the organization: 1. Devastate them or 2. Help them. Nash has given them eight consecutive, marvelous, improvising years of basketball. The fans saw him win two MVP awards and take the team to the Western Conference Finals three times. But they never could get over the hump. They ran into the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. Nash thrived in former head coach Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” offense. He and Stoudemire were the best pick-n-roll duo in all of basketball until Stoudemire dipped for the Concrete Jungle. Now with Nash’s contract up, fans are worried because this team doesn’t have much else. The team is comprised of a bunch of role players who have been overpaid by the organization. No offense to Marcin Gortat, but he isn’t worth $7 mil a year. Channing Frye is a good shooter, but isn’t worth $6 mil. I am not even sure if Josh Childress wants to play in the United States and he is getting $6.5 mil. If you want to see the rest of the contract situation, click here.

The Suns have other players who are set to become free agents, too. Grant Hill, Shannon Brown and Michael Redd will become free agents once July 1st rolls around. I don’t think the Suns are worried about either Hill or Redd due to their age, but Brown provided a nice spark off the bench. He averaged 11 ppg, but shot 42% from the field. There could be a decent group of free agent shooting guards for the Suns to pick from once free agency starts. So re-signing Brown isn’t a must.

The Suns have one draft pick in this year’s draft and that is their own lottery pick. With the thought of losing their point guard (Nash) to free agency and the unlikelihood of them being able to sign Deron Williams (the only other big-time point guard), I think it would be sense-less to look at any other position other than point guard. Weber State’s Damian Lillard had a spectacular season. He averaged 24.5 ppg and shot 41% from the three-point line. He is a fearless competitor with a big heart. Keep this in mind: It’s going to be nearly impossible for any point guard to replace Nash, but you have to start somewhere.

Once the draft wraps up, then it’s time for the free agent frenzy to start. Lillard, (Markieff) Morris, Jared Dudley, and Gortat are the better players on this team, but I feel that the Suns could land a big free agent this summer. Eric Gordon is going to become a restricted free agent, but the Suns will have a lot (and I mean A LOT) of money to spend and I don’t know if New Orléans is 100% sold on Gordon. I think if the Suns spend less than $10 mil on Gordon and get him that it would be a steal. When healthy, Gordon can be a tremendous player.

From what I have read, the Suns aren’t going to spend their money “willy-nilly”. If they don’t feel a player is worth the amount that that player is asking for, then they won’t spend money, or so they say. Next offseason figures to have big names all over the board: Josh Smith, Ty Lawson, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Monta Ellis, James Harden (who went to Arizona State), Dwight Howard, Tyreke Evans, and Al Jefferson.

If Nash re-signs with Suns then I think the Suns will look to draft another big man; Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger or Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie. But I think Nash wants to leave to go to a team that can contend for an NBA title; because that’s the only thing Nash hasn’t won yet.

It isn’t always sunny in the Valley of the Sun.

2 thoughts on “NBA Draft: Cloudy in the Valley of the Sun

  1. I am not following Steve Nash like I am some of the other free agents…but I really don’t think he is going to re-sign with the Suns. For NBA players…the lure of the a championship ring is one of the strongest pulls and of course it’s the main goal of all NBA players. Why would Nash stay with a mediocre team when he can sign with other teams who can potentially win championships??


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