Monday , Feb , 25 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Nash & Phoenix Suns Don’t Have Luxury of Adjustment Period

So the Suns need time. Shaq needs time. Unfortunately, they don’t have it. Six games separate first and ninth in the highly competitive Western Conference. Take a week off, lose a few games, and your season is done. For example, the Denver Nuggets are an impressive 33-22. But if the regular season ended today, Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson would be golfing …

Shaquille O'Neal, Steve Nash & Phoenix Suns Don't Have Luxury of Adjustment PeriodThe Arizona Republic is reporting the following:

Phoenix is 1-2 with Shaquille O’Neal, but patience is being preached because of his transition and consideration of its opponents ( Lakers, Celtics, Pistons). "We still have to be realistic about things," O’Neal said. "We’ve still got a lot of figuring out to do. If everybody just sticks to their role, we should be fine.”

My AM Take: They’re right. Nothing happens overnight or in three games. And under ideal circumstances, the Phoenix Suns and Shaquille O’Neal would get an adjustment period.

After all, the Suns must adapt to O’Neal. Steve Nash has to learn his tendencies. Amare Stoudemire has to shift to the four-spot. And driving to the basket becomes complicated with a 7-1, 320 pound center.

Also, playing defense without Shawn Marion isn’t easy. ‘The Matrix’ is a stud in his own end. He can guard four, sometimes five positions and dominates the glass with endless energy.

Of course, O’Neal has to adjust to Phoenix’s Seven Seconds to Shoot, run-and-gun style. In his first three games out west, the big fella deserves credit for rebounding and trying to defend the pick-and-roll.

So the Suns need time. Shaq needs time. Unfortunately, they don’t have it. Six games separate first and ninth in the highly competitive Western Conference. Take a week off, lose a few games, and your season is done. 

For example, the Denver Nuggets are an impressive 33-22. But if the regular season ended today, Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson would be golfing. Remember those lovable Blazers? Forget their December run because Portland wouldn’t qualify either.

An adjustment period is a luxury Phoenix doesn’t have. They must learn on the fly or risk falling down the Western Conference standings.

What are your thoughts on the Suns and the Western Conference? Get at us in the comment box below and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog. The AM Take is Oly’s morning thoughts on the NBA appearing Sunday through Friday on HoopsVibe.com. Errors can be attributed to the time and his need for another coffee.