would we already have at least 1 championship? Now we'll never get Pop as a coach, but I find it interesting to speculate on such things. A lot of people have mentioned that it was D'Antoni's stubborness and inflexibility regarding defense/playing time which led to our demise in the last few playoff series. People have pointed out that with so much talent on our team, we should already have won a championship.
100% false. What are you supposed Suns fans smoking? Were you watching this team in the years before D'Antoni took over? In no way is our team so talented that "we should have already won a championship," you'd have to be a huge homer and/or idiot to think so.
The first year, we had only 5 players (one being the useless QRich) until adding the corpse of Jimmy Jackson late in the year, and still won 62 games and 2 playoff series, including a series against the Mavs after Joe Johnson went down with a broken face. That team had no business winning 60+ games or any playoff series, there were huge holes in the roster and no depth at all. It was D'Antoni adapting his system to the teams strengths and to cover its weaknesses that made that more than just another good team.
The second year, we had no Amare, meaning pretty much no big guys at all. Diaw/KT covered all of the 4/5 minutes until KT went down for the year around midseason, giving us only Diaw, Marion, and the soft as can be Tim Thomas to play the paint. A team with such an unbalanced roster should be .500 at absolute best, and yet we once again won 2 playoff series after winning 54 games. Compare the talent level of that team to any number of mediocre 40-50 win, 1st round loss teams over the last few years, it is about the same, often significantly lower.
Last year was the first time you could say we truly had a championship level roster, with enough size and depth to compete no matter the coach. We lost to a better team, plain and simple, and there were certainly some odd occurrences during the series that could go differently next time around. We still put up a better fight against the Spurs than any other team did during the playoffs. This year is the only one I could see an argument for Pop being able to lead our team to a title where D'Antoni didn't, but a coach deserves more than 1 legit shot before you start writing him off. I'd also say our loss here had very little to do with D'Antoni's decisions, we just got beat.
Pop isn't all Duncan, the same way D'Antoni isn't all Nash, but Duncan is by far, without any doubt, the easiest player in the league to build a championship level team around. Still takes good coaching, but he does a lot to make your D great no matter what the coach does (the same thing Nash can do for your O), while also being the best post player in the league. Pop is a good defensive motivator, but he can't turn a bunch of mediocre defenders into a great unit; He needs that Duncan presence in the middle to do that, and the Suns (like 90% of the NBA) don't have that guy. The better question would be; If the Suns had Duncan/Parker (or any other decent PG) in place of Nash/Amare would they have won at least one title by now (w/D'Antoni coaching)? I don't think there is any doubt.
Complaints of D'Antoni's "playing time" generally come from morons who say things like "we would have won if D'Antoni would have just played Marcus Banks for 20 minutes!" or something similar. Playing your favorite scrub would NOT have made a difference,most of the time it would only have hurt us. Of course since those results are purely theoretical, these idiots assume the absolute best would happen. I was reading a post from someone responding to an azrepublic article the other day, and they actually were trying to say a blowout loss would have become an easy win if "stupid D'Antoni" would just have given Strawberry 10 minutes of PT. Who exactly is stupid there?