Gamethread at 7!
Time: 7:00 PM Central Standard Time
Place: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Fox Sports Network Arizona
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), KTAR Arizona Sports 620
The Phoenix Suns. For a young NBA fans growing up in the decade of the 2000s, the name struck fear into your heart. The Suns were a devastating offensive team, built around a great point guard. Just when you thought your team was secure with a 10 point lead, the Suns would come storming down the court time and time again, scoring points as easily as you could open a door. Unfortunately, as with all great dynasties, the Suns have fallen. For too long they mortgaged their future for the present, and it eventually bit them in the butt.
After a few attempts to rebuild the ship, the Suns are now simply stuck. They let Vince Carter and Aaron Brooks walk during the off-season, leaving them with no real tradeable assets and a whole bunch of role players. Steve Nash still stays on the team and plays like it's 1999, but there's only so much he can do to tie together a team without any star players.
One thing remarkable about Nash is that there's been no news or him wanting to jump ship. Most star players try to do so at the end of their careers. Even staunch team loyalists like Patrick Ewing, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone did so. But Nash, so far, has made little noise about a potential move. And as long as there is a Nash in Phoenix, there's hope.
It's hard to pinpoint how well the Suns will do this season. So far, they've had a couple of competitive games with the Hornets and gotten blown out by the 76ers. They're not the run and gun team they used to be, instead opting for a much more defensive and balanced game. They don't really have a go-to scorer, nor do they have a player who can create for themselves. They can still run the pick and roll, with Hakim Warrick and Marcin Gortat basically replacing Stoudemire, but they can't shoot threes like they used to. Frye, Nash, and Dudley are all decent, but nowhere near as reliable as the Suns of the past.
Thus, I'm expecting a Thunder blowout tonight. The Suns will rely a lot on post offense, which is something the Thunder are excellent at shutting down. The Suns can put Hill on Durant, but Nash will be no match for Westbrook, who should finally have his 2011-2012 coming out party.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 105, Phoenix Suns 94