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For A Long Season

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The Phoenix Suns will go as far as Michael Beasley can carry them this season. Image by Keith Allison and used under terms of a Creative Commons license.
The Post-Steve Nash Era Gets Underway And Although It Is Very, Very Early, All Signs Point To Extended Struggles With Consistency, Winning

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By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine

Nov. 1, 2012 — The new-look Phoenix Suns fittingly began the 2012-2013 season on Halloween night.

What other day could belay the symbolism of what will most likely be one of the scariest and horrific seasons in franchise history? Unless something changes — and quick — Valley fans might become witness to a season like 2003-2004. That season resulted in a 29-53 record. They missed the Western Conference’s infamous worst record by finishing a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers.

It could not only be that bad, it could be much worse.

The 2003-2004 season had young versions of Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion. They needed a team leader to bring the youth together and to run Mike D’Antoni’s system. They needed one piece and they got it in Steve Nash in 2004-2005.

This year’s squad, though, has no sure-fire, perennial All-Stars in-waiting. Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley might get there, but they might not.

Meaning: This could get worse and continue to be so.

The one player on the team that has the capability to be a great player is Beasley. But if anything was clear on Halloween night, it was that he is the same enigma that went from the No. 2 pick with upside to one of the biggest disappointments in recent history.

With the Suns needing offense down the stretch, Coach Alvin Gentry kept Beasley off the floor. If Beasley doesn’t score for this team, they might not make it to 20 wins.

This team’s strength coming in was that they would be better defensively thanks to Jared Dudley, Sebastian Telfair, Shannon Brown, Goran Dragic, Jermaine O’Neal and PJ Tucker. But the offensive side was known to be a weakness.

The front-office tried to remedy that by trying to sign Eric Gordon this off-season, but unfortunately, the New Orleans Hornets matched the offer to the restricted free-agent. They were willing to trade some of their pieces to the Oklahoma City Thunder about a week ago to get James Harden — who would have brought the Suns back to respectability — but they either weren’t willing to put the right combination of players together or didn’t have any of quality that the Thunder wanted.

Jared Dudley is listed as a forward, but he is starting at shooting guard with Beasley at small forward, Luis Scola at power forward and Marcin Gortat at center. The only “shooting” guard the Phoenix Suns have on their roster is Shannon Brown — a career 42 percent shooter. That average is probably a bit skewed because he is a dunking guard, too.

For a team that depends on shooting the three-ball, that is not good.

To be fair, coach Alvin Gentry has been preaching patience with this year’s squad.

"We looked like a team that had nine new players tonight, I really feel that we’re going to become a good team. I really feel that we’re going to have to play together, and we’re going to have to learn each other. And, as a coach, I have to learn the guys,” he said post-game.

And PJ Tucker looked like a great addition as a sixth man. He is Bo Outlaw and Louis Amundson rolled into one.

But just like 2003-2004, Gentry will likely be the scapegoat for this team. Anyone remember Frank Johnson?

But the Phoenix Suns need more than just a good bench player. It doesn’t take someone with NBA lineage to realize that even if every guy currently on the squad has a “career year” they will still not win a playoff series.

They need more talent.

Harden might just eventually end up being the one that got away from the Phoenix Suns. The 2013 guard market got very thin over the past two weeks with Harden and Steph Curry both signing deals.

We all know the Colangelo era is over, but does anyone think with Jerry or Bryan at the helm that they would have let Harden go to Houston?

Didn’t think so.

But now that "The Beard" is off the market, where else could the Phoenix Suns turn for scoring?

Maybe Lon Babby and Lance Blanks know what the Teen Wolf is doing now that Halloween is over.

Scary, very scary.

Bob Goodwood can be reached at bob.goodwood@yahoo.com.
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