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Why The Lockout Is Good For Steve Nash, Suns

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With the addition of a shooting guard and power forward, Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns might have a shot at another deep playoff run. Image by Keith Allison and used under terms of a Creative Commons License.
An Upcoming NBA Season Of About 50 Games Might Keep Captain Canada Fresh For A Playoff Run

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By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine

Oct. 3, 2011 — So here sits the NBA at the precipice of losing a full season.

Less than 30 days remain before the scheduled tip off on Nov. 1, but honestly, regular season games are going to be lost. Each and every team has their own restricted and unrestricted free agents to still sort out and the players and owners are still miles apart.

After all, this very similar scenario was played out in 1998 — the last and only time the NBA has lost regular season games. On Oct. 13, 1998, the first month of the season was cancelled.

Sure, regular season games are going to be lost, but might it be a blessing in disguise for the Phoenix Suns?

Commissioner David Stern has said he anticipates that if a deal is not reached this week — in order to save a full season — he anticipated both sides digging in even deeper. That might just postpone a deal until both sides face the loss of the entire season.

"Positions harden when regular-season games start to be lost on top of the exhibition season. … They harden because the losses are there. Each side is taking them and each side thinks it should make up its losses based on the deal they make — and that makes it quite consequential," Stern said to USA Today.

So what does that mean for the Suns?

Firstly, and most importantly, it means that the season will likely be a 50-game sprint. If things go along like 1998, Jan. 1 is the season killing deadline.

That might not be a bad scenario for a 37-year-old point guard in the last year of his contract. One of the many reasons for the struggles of last season was that Nash shot a career low .395 from three-point range. He is a career .429 shooter from the beyond the arc.

It was widely reported that Nash injured his groin in November and as it lingered, other body spots also degraded. With it went lower body control and the lift on his three ball. Nash was not right for most of the season and when Frye went down with a dislocated shoulder, he could not carry them to the playoffs.

A shortened season does not mean he will escape the injury bug, but it would most likely help with a prosperous playoff run if he is able to stay healthy for the entire season. Nash might be able to be somewhat fresh for the playoffs for the first time if the season is shortened by the lockout to 50 games.

Sure, the Suns are going no where without a power forward and with no off-season workouts this year, draftee Markieff Morris is not the answer. But maybe either David West or Carl Landry might want to play on a short season with Steve Nash. Both are unrestricted free agents for the New Orleans Hornets and one of them is expected to have a new team.

Both guys would be able to fill the big-hole left gaping by Amare Stoudemire upon his departure for the New York Knicks. Paired with Gortat, Hill, Nash and Dudley, that might be a nice little “team that could.” The bench is not so bad — as long as we can resign Aaron Brooks — with Frye, Childress, Lopez, Warrick and Brooks.

Hell, while one is dreaming big, Michael Redd might do well on a short season too. His shooting touch would definitely be an upgrade over Vince Carter and maybe he can play a “full” 50-game season? It is believed that his knee problems are behind him and moving Dudley to the bench would strengthen that group.

It doesn’t have to be these three guys, but they are all unrestricted and they play the positions the Suns need most: power forward and shooting guard. Anyone else they could get to fill those that play more like Joe Johnson, Walter Davis, Charles Barkley and Amare Stoudemire would be an upgrade over Vince Carter and the black hole that played power forward last season.

Hopefully, the Suns’ front office is being as diligent as the brass of the Arizona Cardinals were during the NFL lockout. When a deal was finalized, they had already “targeted” a bunch of players and made a deal.

It might cost a bit for Robert Sarver to pull off, though. And, with the animosity that is apparently brewing between players and ownership, he might just want to see the old days gone. Nash’s contract expires after this upcoming season and he might rather trade him during the season.

But hopefully Sarver will consider this: if he gives it a one, short-season try by signing Landry or West, it might just end in a championship.

If that miracle would be achieved, Steve Nash could walk off into the sunset — even if he left for another team — and Sarver would go down as the guy who gave the Suns a championship.

Skeptics may scoff, but a Suns team that loses Vince Carter and adds Landry or West and Redd is just as good on paper as the Dallas Mavericks.

And they won the title.

Spend the money, Sarver.

Bob Goodwood is a freelance writer currently living in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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