Talk about your valuable energy efficient solar panels. We got a hot one right here. Tonight at 10 pm , a very energized Knicks team faces the playoff bound Phoenix Suns and we are pleased to have the in-put of two bloggers, experts on the Suns, join us for a little Q&A. We were very geeked to get in-put from our man at Bloguin, James Gilkey of www.sunsstufft.com and Wil Cantrell of www.brightsideofthesun.com. Both sites are top of the line.
JAMES (SS): The Suns started with a rabbit-like 14-3 early record, subsided for about six weeks, and then went on another run that has taken them to a solid spot in the Western Conference. The key has been the extraordinary play of Amar'e Stoudemire - hopefully a Hall-of-Famer. We've always believed that treating Amar'e as the centerpiece of the offense is crucial to the Suns success and this season - despite the incredible basketball ignorance of General Manager Steve Kerr - the Suns finally made that move. There defense isn't bad nowadays either.2. What are the two or three major issues which must be addressed in the off-season in order to substantially improve the team next year?
WIL: Finding two or three major issues is difficult, because there are so many more. Amare's situation is obviously the largest one looming over the team. The lack of high round draft picks is another (the Suns have no first rounder this year), so young, up and coming talent is a concern. Dragic appears to be the heir apparent to Nash, but we have nothing behind Dragic. Jared Dudley is a fine role player, but he's not the replacement at 3 for Grant, and Leandro Barbosa, when healthy, is a pretty good 6th man, but I think it's getting to the point where it may be wise to deal him-he's not a prototypical 2 like Jason Richardson, who himself is getting up there and not exactly worth his contract every night. So, pick your issue, we pretty much have it.
JAMES: Jason Richardson has become a very expensive set of cement shoes who has helped sink the Suns instead of lifting them up in key games. While his defense is solid, J-Rich has an erratic shot that could make a blind man cold and trading him for someone good - hopefully Carlos Boozer - is critical to building this franchise moving forward.
3. Do you guys miss Mike D'Antoni and his coaching staff or do you prefer the alleged improvement in your defense?
JAMES: Alvin Gentry has the magic when it comes to rotating Suns players and changing the combinations that are on the court. Sure Mike was fun - but Alvin is the bomb.
4. Do you think the Suns can get to the NBA Finals this or next season with or without 'Studamuffin?"
JAMES: We preach Stoudemire sermons in this pew and he is the key to whatever happens to the Suns play-off dreams. Without Amar'e - this Suns team would have trouble beating Golden State with any consistency.
5. Who do you expect to win and lose the NBA Championship this year and why?
WIL: Let's get something straight. No one in the Suns organization or any sane fan believes the Suns are an NBA Championship contender or a Western Conference contender. The majority of us would be happy seeing this team get to the playoffs. If they get out of the first round, we all will be pleased as punch. Anything further is a delusion.
JAMES: We're hoping for the Suns but the Shaqless Cleveland is a real Beast in the East.