Wednesday , Dec , 09 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns: overrated gimmick or underrated contender?

Individual players were also surprising. Two-time MVP Steve Nash was playing better than ever, while veteran Grant Hill, at 37, had also tapped the fountain of youth and was looking, well, youthful.

Meanwhile, Channing Frye and Jared Dudley, two low profile free agent signings, were using their much improved three-point range to turn heads. And Amar’e Stoudemire was rounding into typical STAT like form.


Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns: overrated gimmick or underrated contender?It would be easy to think reality has hit the Phoenix Suns.

A few weeks ago, Alvin Gentry’s sequel to ‘Seven Seconds To Shoot’ was the early talk of the NBA, exceeding expectations with an impressive 10-2 record and sitting on top of the ultra competitive Western Conference standings.

Individual players were also surprising. Two-time MVP Steve Nash was playing better than ever, while veteran Grant Hill, at 37, had also tapped the fountain of youth and was looking, well, youthful.

Meanwhile, Channing Frye and Jared Dudley, two low profile additions in the summer, were using their much improved three-point range to turn heads. And Amar’e Stoudemire was rounding into typical STAT like form.

Many weren’t convinced, though. They were anticipating this recent run of mediocre play – Phoenix has a 5-5 record over their last ten games – to reaffirm their belief the Suns are a short-term phenomenon and not a long-term contender.    

So, here’s the question: Is Phoenix an overrated gimmick or an underrated squad?

On the one hand, those sitting in the overrated camp have a point. Nash’s crew had early success in part because of established chemistry from past seasons. And they used this established chemistry to jump on team’s who were finding their way in November.

A month later, those same teams now have some chemistry and are able to adjust. For instance, opposing teams are now switching bigs on Nash off pick-and-rolls after seeing the Toronto Raptors’ Chris Bosh successfully slow the tiny table-setter.

Part of their troubles is due to the system. By not playing defense, Phoenix allows lesser teams to make shots, gain confidence, and stay in games. After all, the struggling New Orleans Hornets hung around for three quarters and eventually upset the Suns, even though they recently fired Coach Byron Scott and were without Chris Paul.

On the other hand, despite the setbacks, it can be argued that Phoenix is still being slept-on and is deserving of greater respect. Consider the schedule. They’ve played just 7-of-22 games at home in the friendly confines of US Airways Arena.

The best of teams would struggle with 15-of-22 games on the road. However, flying into cities late at night and sleeping in hotels would be especially tough on the Suns, who need fresh legs for their run-and-gun style. Taking their tough early schedule into account, 15-7 is a strong record.

Phoenix aren’t as good as their fast start. They’re not as bad as their recent stretch indicates, either. They are not overrated or underrated. Reality is, in fact, somewhere in the middle.    

What are your thoughts on the Suns? Are they an overrated gimmick or an underated, competitive team? Let us know in the comment box below and follow Oly on HoopsVibe The Blog and Twitter. Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.