Another year, another failure

I’m super busy at work, so posting is light, but I couldn’t help but read this great post by Henry Abbott at TrueHoop lamenting the Suns’ loss last night. And then, in turn, I couldn’t help but post it.

From the article, “Phoenix: Out of Time”:

In building and running this NBA team, the Suns boldly departed sphere of normal NBA decision making (you need a big man who can score in the post! you need bruisers!) and marched to their own polyrhythmic drummer.

They were the hare. The tortoise was the steady drumbeat of conventional wisdom.

Thump thump thump thump thump.

You can’t dance to it. But, like a long march, it’s sure not going away.

When did we learn the Suns’ path wasn’t to a title? Maybe we still haven’t learned that. Maybe you could reboot, do the whole thing again, and they win it all next year.

But it won’t be the same. At the mid-point of this season, the Suns’ braintrust — including D’Antoni — decided that the dance party wouldn’t get them through the long night of the NBA playoffs. It was time to learn how to march.

Enter drum major Shaquille O’Neal. (Ask not for whom the thump, thump, thump of conventional basketball wisdom tolls. It tolls for Shaq.)

It’s like the marching band showing up at intermission of a Tito Puente concert. That’s great work guys, but, um, what are you doing here?

The Suns lost their identity this year. And now, following a game where Steve Nash had three assists, a game where Mike D’Antoni may have lost his job, a game where the sheer and utter weakness that is Shaquille O’Neal’s free-throw shooting was exploited for the final time in these playoffs, we could be looking at a drastically different Suns team next year.

A team that’s not as much fun. A team that missed the ultimate opportunity to spit in the face of convention and take the championship their way. A team that, when it comes down too it, didn’t trust their own style enough to win it all. And suffered the penalty of doing what everyone else was doing.

Think about it. What’s going to give you a bigger chance on the sport’s biggest stage?

Something out of the ordinary? Something different? Something you excel at and no one else can follow?

Or something that everyone else is doing. And already doing a lot better.

This was lovingly handwritten on April 30th, 2008