The Suns have reached the halfway point of the season, having put together one of the best runs in NBA History! It’s a team that has that one ingredient that makes it special…. Chemistry.
Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. (NBAE Photos)
It’s a team that’s so uniquely individual, but in some grand way fits together. You have the “Frenchman,” Boris Diaw, the poker-faced big man who has a pass-first mentally. His high basketball IQ allows him to give the team what it needs at critical stages of the game.
Then there’s Raja Bell, the smiling assassin who brings to the team such toughness. He is borderline out of control and if you’re his opponent, he scares you!
Amaré Stoudemire plays the game with such fury, with anger as he tries to overcome lost time with his injury. I think Amaré uses his game to overcome a difficult family background.
The Matrix plays the game in a different atmosphere, defying gravity, giving us an electric moment every night.
Then there’s Steve Nash, who is playing point guard like nobody has ever played the position. Sometimes I want to freeze the moment and just keep replaying what he just did. His greatness has redefined how the position should be played. He leads the system that has taken the league by storm. I hope fans realize they are seeing a player in their lifetime that will be the standard by which all who follow will be judged
It’s an old adage that a team is an extension of the coaches and that’s where all of this great chemistry is coming from. All you need to do is sit in a corner of the coaches’ office and watch. They are on each other all the time! They like each other to the point that nothing is out of bounds. As Phil Webber put it with a smile, “What they say about me is none of my business.”
Phil is the brunt of unmerciful kidding about all the beautiful women he dates. But, his ability to help the players with their shooting technique is huge. By no small measure he is the reason the Suns are the best shooting team in the NBA.
Mark Iavaroni, a quietly efficient coach with a fire in his belly, is in charge of the big men. Mark, who played on an NBA Championship team, attended several Pete Newell Big Men
Camps, the standard by which all coaches use. In his understated way, Mark holds his own in the intensely funny debates.
Then there’s the vet, Alvin Gentry – very serious, a worrier who has a way of summing up the entire moment in a humorous way.
The two D’Antoni’s couldn’t be more different. The older brother, Dan, has a way of subtly causing the whole fracas. Dan, who has changed Leandro Barbosa into an almost unguardable player, comes to it naturally after developing so many outstanding point guards in his days as a high school coach in South Carolina.
But, the man who put them all together, who brought the system to the Suns, Mike, is hilarious. As intense as he can be on the sideline, he is as fun loving off the floor. He loves to stir it up, then sit back and watch.
If this team stays healthy, the franchises’ first NBA Title may be a reality! Wouldn’t it be timely that as Jerry Colangelo vacates his office in the Arena in June, that he takes an NBA Trophy with him!