If you haven’t heard yet, Shaq got traded to Phoenix. It’s still hard to believe. How can a 7’1″, 400 pound man play in an offensive that thrives on running. Ok he is 7’1″, but he’s not 400 pounds. Shaq is a slim 312 pound man with 11% body fat.
The first reaction by many people, including Phoenix fans, was what the hell is Phoenix thinking. They are giving up an all-star small forward who is perfect for their style of offense in exchange for an aging, broken down automobile. But let’s get this point straight. Phoenix was not winning with Shawn Marion. They have tried to win with this core the last three years and every year they have been bounced for their inability to play half court offense and defense. Shawn Marion was a great player to have on defense, but offensively in a half court set he was relatively ineffective. He’s not a pure shooter and can’t create his own shot on a consistent basis. He got his points off of scrappy play. Now, I’m not saying that Shaq is the answer. But how many rings does Shaq have? And how many do the Suns have? My point exactly. The Suns weren’t a championship team with Shawn Marion, so why not bring in a big body to bang with the rest of the Western conference.
Now here are some other implications I think this trade will have, some positive and some negative:
1) People have already pissed off the Diesel
If Shaq still has anything left in the tank, he will play with a vengeance. He said it in his press conference, “I’m really upset and you really don’t want to get me upset because when I’m upset I’m known to do certain things like win championships.”
2) Shawn Marion will sorely be missed
You can’t replace what Shawn Marion gave to this team night in and night out. He hustled every minute he was on the court filling the stat sheet every single night . He also marked every position on defense from the likes of Tony Parker to Yao Ming. But Marion simply did not want to be in Phoenix. He was sick of playing third string to Nash and Stoudemire. He felt under appreciated and he was. That’s why the Suns took a gamble.
3) Amare Stoudemire moves back to natural position
Amare Stoudemire is not a center. Plain the simple. He’s more of a face up player than he is a low post player. If Shaq can be that dominating inside presence, Amare care really dominate in that 10-17 foot range.
4) Better Interior Play
The one thing the Suns have missed the last few years is interior defense. They haven’t had that big body to bang around in the paint. Well the interior defense could be fixed with Shaq. Shutting down the likes of Duncan, Bynum, Camby and Tyson Chandler won’t fall on Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire is a much better defender when he is off the ball. He has more freedom to roam around for blocks and he can look to run out on the fastbreak more.
5) A more dynamic offense
For the longest time this Suns team has been criticized because they can’t play half court offense. They rely on outscoring teams, but when it gets down to playoff time or any time they play the Spurs, they have to produce out of the half court sets. I’ve seen this team fail too many times down the stretch because they lack the ability to play consistent half court offense. Well, Shaq will allow you to beat teams in more ways than one. They can dump it down to him and if they double him, then that will open up shots to Phoenix’s great shooters. And let’s not forget that Shaq is a great passer. If they don’t double him, then we’ll see if Shaq can still dominate the low block. And if they choose, they can still run the pick and role with Nash and Stoudemire which is the best in the game.
6) Pressure on Perimeter DefenseWithout Marion, the pressure is going to fall on the perimeter defense to stop dribble penetration. Steve Nash has always been a great offensive player, but now he must play both ways. Shaq will help take pressure off of Nash on the offensive end, but now Nash must exert that energy on defense. If Barbosa and Nash can not stop dribble penetration then Shaq and Amare will get in foul trouble. They can’t afford to have those two on the bench in crucial times. Bottom line is that if the Suns can’t learn to stop dribble penetration, then they will have the same problem this year as they have had in the past.
7) Shaq won’t slow down the break, but he will ignite it
First, you don’t need five players to run the break. You need two or three. Shaq won’t be the guy running down the court, but he will be the big man on defense absorbing all the rebounds and allowing players like Nash, Stoudemire, Barbosa and Bell to run out and start the break. Shaq said that he is excited to ignite this fast break and he will.
8)Hit or miss
This is what I’m telling everybody. I love the potential of this trade. The Suns are as big of a championship contender as they were with Shawn Marion. What’s the worst that can happen to this team? They’ll lose in the first or second round? They’ve already done that with Marion. We won’t find out how good or bad this trade is until the playoffs, but it can either deliver a championship or fail miserably if Shaq misses significant time.