The second player in my post that is leaving rather than returning, but I could not be more happy to see this one go. If you’ve ever read any of my posts you may have picked up that I did not like him. Not as a person but as a player. Much like Boris Diaw, I simply could not stand their on again off again confidence. Barbosa was a fan favorite no doubt, which is probably why he got a huge contract extension a year or two ago. After he injured his wrist though, and the improved play of Goran “The Dragon” Dragic the Suns knew they could now part ways. Barbosa was brought in on a draft night trade with San Antonio.. and those basterds sabotaged us and we didn’t even know lol… He was supposed to be part of the transition from the Nash era to the next. First they tried him at being the next PG of the Phoenix Suns but when that failed they tried to make him the new SG of the new era Suns. When that failed they added a “beep beep” whenever he came in off the bench or when he scored and wha la! We had ourselves a fan favorite.
The front office looks different
The Suns and Steve Kerr parted ways this offseason, many rumors circulated and no matter why it happened it happened. I for one was a fan of Steve, he had a lot of balls to admit that the Shaq trade (something that he knew would make or break him) and traded him for basically nothing to the Cavaliers. Gone also David Griffin as head of basketball operations
In his place we now have long time agent Lon Babby as head of basketball operations. His clients included Ray Allen, Grant Hill, Hedo and others. I am not sure if he still represents any players at this time though. Also filling the role that Kerr left is Lance Blanks. Blanks learned the role while under such GM’s/coaches as Joe Dumars, Greg Poppavich and Danny Ferry. Hopefully he has learned all the right things from them, that’s one heck of a pedigree to come from. Dumars having a few rings in Detroit, Greg Pop… well we all know about that **** sucker lol and Danny Ferry did anything and everything he could to keep Lebron happy. Making Confrence finals and a trip to the NBA finals once.
One face staying the same (and thank goodness) is Alvin Gentry, recently signing an extension through the 2012/13 season. Under the helm of Gentry the Suns have managed to refind them selves after a period of transition under former coach Terry Porter. Alvin Gentry brought back the run and gun but was able to get the players to buy into playing DEFENSE and REBOUNDING THE BALL!! He gained the respect from the players being both fun and stern when he needed to be (see Amar'e portion), and he got the Suns to be entertaining and fun to watch again. You can definately tell the difference in the attitude of the players from the Porter system to the Gentry System. Gentry also did something that out previous coaches hadn’t done, something that very nearly brought us to the NBA finals last season, what is it you ask? Develop a bench, during the season Gentry let the bench play through struggles in order to find confidence for when he’d need them the most. In doing so the Suns were able to get past the Blazers in round one, SWEEP the dreaded Sprus in round 2 and nearly forced a game 7 against the Los Angeles Lakers who eventually won the whole shabang a bang against the Celtics. Gentry will be in a tough spot this season having lost his all star power forward and no doubt having a weaker starting lineup. Our Bench though seems to be stronger and that may be enough to prove the Nay sayers again this year like we did last year.
Two players I think that I haven’t talked about because they neither stayed or left, but I think would be great if they had great… no… outstanding years.
No doubt last year after finally cracking the starting lineup the Suns went on a crazy run. Lopez finally got further out of his twin brothers shadow (casted from Stanford and NJ, that’s a big shadow). Lopez showed mobility, heart, a knack for rebounds and block shots and a hook shot. People may have not noticed but it seemed that outside of trying to just dunk the ball, Lopez fell in love with the baby hook. Putting up some big games and numbers for us the Suns went on to win 21 out of 26 games before he was injured, and missed the rest of the season and the first two rounds of the playoffs. I hope that he has a fantastic year carried on from last year and has a bigger role in the Suns offense. Robin have a great season but please do not break a leg.
Goran “The Dragon” Dragic
Wow, look at what this kid was able to do with just a little bit of confidence. Do we have a successor for Nash or do we have a new 2 guard, both? Who knows but one thing is for sure he came out of his shell last year. Single handedly won a game for us in the second round against the Spurs. The kid played huge, and the Suns are big on him. He’ll still be riding the pine this year with Richardson still having the starters job (deservedly so, he played great last season and in the post season also). Suns need to lock up Goran and let him develop into the special player that he appears to be turning into. Goran led his Slovenian team to the final 8 for the first time ever, but ran into Suns teamate Hedo and was bounced out of the World Championships.