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7 Second Suns - Where Are They Now?

PhotobucketThis article has been submitted by A-Jiggy aka Alex Jackson.

“Is your game M.V.P. like Steve Nash?” - Nelly Furtado, Promiscuous

I recently read Jack McCallum’s light and entertaining book “:07 Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin’ and Gunnin’ Phoenix Suns.” It was a nice read about the Suns’ 2005-06 season, but this isn’t Grade 6 and this is not a book review. What I did particularly enjoy were the quotes. At this stage, the book is close to two years old, but it’s always interesting to pull a quote and see how things panned out.

After the playoff loss to Dallas, which ended their season, McCallum heard this exchange between Suns Coach and at the time, General Manager, Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash(p. 308).

D’Antoni: I’m not afraid to make a move, but I don’t want to do something…rash.
Nash: That’s what Dallas did for two straight years. They though they were close so they brought in Antoine Walker and Raef LaFrentz. Next thing we knew, we were worse.

I found this exchange particularly interesting in light of recent happenings in the Valley of the Sun. I realize two years, in the realm of sports, is a long-time and that D’Antoni is no longer the Suns’ GM, but I thought it would be interesting to see how different the Suns are now. During the 2005-06, the Suns won 54 games, averaged 108.3 points per game and eventually lost, in six games, to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Final.

Shawn Marion – Over the last two years, he moped around, was rumored to be on the trading block and eventually asked outright for a trade; despite this he continued to fill up the stat sheet and make fantasy owners very happy. As the entire world knows now, he was traded to Miami for Shaquille O’Neal, in what some may consider a “rash” move. At least if he doesn’t opt out, he’ll have the chance to play with a really good rookie and Dwyane Wade next year.

Steve Nash – To steal a quote from Suns VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin, “You can only say ‘He makes everybody better’ so many times.” Still a Sun, still doing charity work, and an Officer in the Order of Canada.

Amare Stoudemire - After missing all but three games during 2005-06, Amare has come back with a vengeance. Other than Steve Nash, STAT is the most untouchable of the Suns. Now that Marion has been jettisoned, Amare has been reinvigorated because he is the undeniable focal point of the offense.

Leandro Barbosa – the Brazillian Blur just keeps getting better and better for the Suns. Though used primarily as a sixth man, Barbosa averages almost 30 minutes per game and can fill up the score sheet, which has to make the Suns’ coaching staff ecstatic.

Raja Bell – Still a Sun and still not BFF with Kobe Bryant.

Boris Diaw – When he first arrived in Phoenix, Mike D’Antoni said, “Boris might get us all fired.” After winning the Most Improved Player award, it was suggested to Diaw that he should work on his body and bulk up some. Apparently he took that to heart and gained close to 35 pounds of “bad weight” during the 2006 offseason. His production has fallen off considerably, and he is often in D’Antoni’s doghouse.

Eddie House – The man who calls himself Casa left the Suns following 2005-06 season, signing with the New Jersey Nets. This season, Casa is jacking up threes for the Boston Celtics.

Kurt Thomas – After being a rock for the Suns in 2006-07, Thomas was traded, along with first-round draft picks in 2008 and 2010 to the Seattle SuperSonics for a second-round draft choice and an $8 million trade exception. At the deadline this year, Thomas was traded from the Sonics to the Spurs for a 2009 first rounder. Thomas will be known as the man who changed the Sonics for Oklahoma City, as the team essentially received three first rounders for his services.

James Jones – On Draft day last year, Junior was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, along with the 24th pick for cash considerations. Now he’s leading the league in 3-point percentage in a reserve role with the Blazers.

Tim Thomas – After resurrecting his career with the Suns in 2005-06, Thomas bolted at the first opportunity for the sunny days of LA Clipper land. Thomas is once again underachieving and highly overpaid. At least no one has to worry about him being better than Kobe anymore.

Pat Burke – After the Suns decided to not resign him during the summer of 2007, Burke took his game over to the Russian Basketball Super League where he plays with Khimki Basketball Club. Of note, he’s teammates with Daniel Ewing and Maciej Lampe. I guess he’ll always have the Pat Burke Search, his hair restoration formula, and Congress.

Brian Grant – He retired before the 2006-07 season. After being the LA Lakers’ amnesty cut, Grant finally came off their books following last season.

Jimmy Jackson – Jackson was waived by the Suns in March of the 2005-06 season and signed with the Lakers. Though he is currently out of basketball, there are talks of a potential stretch run signing, but Jackson may have started those rumors himself.

Nikoloz Tskitishvilli – Skita was cut by the Knicks in training camp in 2006 and has apparently fallen off the face of the earth since. No really, I think I saw his face on a milk carton.

Dijon Thompson – After floating around the D-League and signing a 10-Day with the Atlanta Hawks in January 2007, Thompson took his (lack of?) game over to the German Bundesliga where he plays for Alba Berlin.

Of the 15 players from the 2005-06 season, 10 of them are no longer with the franchise; that’s almost 67 percent of team (66.66666…you get the idea). While that may not be unheard of (the Raptors only have 4 players from their 05-06 team), it seems strange for a once 54 win team who preached stability to experience such a complete overall. Not all of the players who left were “good” or even serviceable, but by all accounts they were decent character guys who contributed to team chemistry. It was arguable that if the Suns, in their previous incarnations, could not get it done in the playoffs, something probably had to be done. But with the Suns recent stretch, it has to be asked, have the Suns done something rash?

This article has been submitted by A-Jiggy aka Alex Jackson.

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