The Suns are coming off a wire-to-wire wipeout of the New York Knicks, are riding a three-game winning streak, and rolling along at a brisk 6-2 pace.
Grant Hill is excited about where this team is headed. (NBAE Photos)
But don’t let any of that fool you.
Despite the impressive record, the Suns have to get better. Coach Mike says so, the players say so, and fans are fretting that they jolly well better improve…or else.
I will grant you that beating the Knicks (even at full strength) is nothing to blog home about. This night they were without Stephon Marbury, Zach Randolph, defense, and with Isiah Thomas. However, there is too much angst in the local basketball-speaking community – especially this early in the season.
Some of it is probably a hangover from that shellacking they took from the Lakers in the home opener. And while the team is winning, they are not dominating quite as awesomely as many had expected. Even Coach Mike said that last night’s romp was just “okay”.
In response I offer one word: “Chill.”
The Suns are exactly who you thought they were back in training camp when visions of 72 wins were dancing in your heads. They are still a top contender for the NBA championship.
In fact, when you consider Amare Stoudemire missed most of training camp with a knee problem and several other players have been nicked up here and there, plus the fact it takes time to work new players into the system, your Phoenix Suns are actually overachieving.
Make no mistake. They will get better…much better!
They still have all the weapons that have made them the most feared scoring machine in the NBA… PLUS Grant Hill and a better bench… PLUS the extra motivation of feeling they were robbed of the title last year.
While they do need to getter better, isn’t it nice that they’re not all that bad right now? Think about how good they’re going to be when Amare gets into game shape and the new players are fully absorbed into the system. In fact, just think about Amare. While rounding into game shape he had 22 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes last night. Oh, and he also blocked four shots. Steve Nash is the driver of this team, but Amare is the engine.
No matter how well they do in the next few months, they still can’t prove anything or convince skeptics until the playoffs. Even going 72-10 wouldn’t do it. So it’s understandable if they aren’t trying to change minds every night between now and “proving” time.
Trust me, when that time comes around, they will be pumped.
And while last night’s performance was “okay,” it was nice to witness Grant Hill make progress adding the three-point shot to his repertoire. He was reluctant and struggling early on, but hit three of four from Arc City last night.
The bottom line: You should be feeling very good about this team. There is indeed a lot of work to be done, but the tools are there to do it.