30 to 16 to 1:(Part 11) The Rising or Setting Sun?

Posted on 08/28/2010 by

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The Basics:

30 to 16 to 1. Based on a half baked notion, that since the true goal of any NBA season is to turn thirty teams into one champion and as we saw in my earlier piece, what wins in the regular season is not necessarily what  gets you the trophy, my 2010 Playoff Review series continues.

The Half-Baked Notion:

Simple (based on 2010 numbers):

  • The best two players accounted for 55% of a teams wins in the 2010 Playoffs.
  • The top three players are just below the pareto threshold
  • The next three (4,5,6th man) account for the rest of the positive win contribution about equally.
  • After that everybody else actually hurt teams in the playoffs.

The format will look at the best six players in the playoffs for each team, will look at how many wins their coach/injuries might have cost them and talk about their opportunities/drawbacks going forward (and if they’ve done anything in the off-season to address these). We will go from least productive to most productive team in the Playoff (based on the table that follows now):

This piece covers the first of the Conference Finalists: Los Suns de Phoenix .

Justicia, mis hermanos y mucho amor para los Suns

7 Seconds or Less once again?

Chapter One [The Second Season] Phoenix, April 21……………….

“The Suns are built for the regular season. Every series is going to be tough for them because when you live by your offensive three-point shooting, then any off-night you could lose a game”

-Jack McCallum– Seven Seconds or Less

  • The Storyline: One of my favorite sport books of all time is Seven Seconds Or Less written about the 2005-2006 Phoenix Suns. The book tells the story of the last time the Suns made the Western Conference Finals prior to this season. The Nash era, run and gun Suns have been a fascinating team to watch since 2004. Their style of play and their seemingly cursed luck that has kept them from the ultimate prize have made them fan favorites and one of the NBA’s most compelling storylines. After being absent from the conference finals since 2006, the Suns returned to the big stage but the current edition only featured two returning characters from that 2006 run (Nash and Gentry). The question then becomes: is this the end of an chapter, simply a continuation or the beginning of a new one. 
  • The Good: Steve Nash continues to defy medical science and make Marc Cuban look bad playing at near superstar level. Jared Dudley (the real JMZ)  & Jason Richardson were also fantastic.  Grant Hill continued to make the Phoenix medical staff look like miracle workers.
  • The Bad: Amare & Frye were overmatched. This is probably also reflection of Phoenix lack of size.
  • The Coach: Coach Gentry deserves and gets much love from me. He’s definitely not a scrub.
  • Needs: The Suns are well stocked from 1 thru 3. Size and Depth at the Forward and Center Position is their major need.
  • Major Moves: Phoenix lost Amare and his 10 wins to NY (see here) but proceeded to bring in two good young players (and 15 wins) in Childress and Warrick to replace him at about half the price. Even combined with Robin Lopez being decent in the playoffs (.096 WP48) their biggest problem remains what hurt them against the Lakers: lack of size (and Hedu coming in only makes this worse). Los Suns have many trade pieces though and I’m betting on a move prior to the start of the season.
  • 2011 Outlook: I like this team a lot. Depth and Flexibility are the key. This team is built for the regular season but should also do well in the playoffs. They came within a freak play by Ron Artest of perhaps eliminating the eventual champs. Even with the aging of Steve Nash and the end of the original Seven Seconds or Less era, the Suns are on the edge of a new era of excellence. I see them winning their division over a banged-up Lakers team and making a deep run in the playoffs. Given how fantastic their backcourt looks, how deep they go will come down to their frontcourt. The West however will be won on the boards.
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