Thursday, February 7, 2008

2008 Suns - Best Team Ever?

Yeah, the headline might be a little misleading, but a friend of mine from Las Vegas that makes many a good sport points gave me this interesting point of argument yesterday - are the 2008 Suns the best team ever of stars if they were in their prime?

Look at the roster -

Steve Nash

Prime of his career - 2004-2007

How Good Was He? Nash went from an above average point guard at Dallas, averaging a respectable 16.4 points and 7.8 assists during those four seasons to a two-time MVP point guard. The other names of guys that have won consecutive MVPs (you ready for this)? Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Note - Nash is the only point guard in that group.

Shaquille O'Neal

Prime of his career - 2000-2003

How Good Was He? Well, that is pretty hard to explain. For a near ten year span, Shaq was the only guy in the league that couldn't be contained. He is the only active player voted on the Top 50 Players of All-Time, winning the league MVP in 2000 and the finals MVP all three Lakers championship seasons. Has four rings, a gold medal and a pretty solid free throw shot. The only center besides David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon worth talking about since Kareem and Moses.

Grant Hill

Prime of his career - 1994-1997

How Good Was He? Coming out of college at Duke, many believed Hill would be the heir (or air) to Michael Jordan after leading the Dookies to back-to-back championships. Hill was co-Rookie of the Year in 1994-95, has been named to the NBA All-Star team seven times, all in his first seven years in the league. Led the league in triple-doubles between 1995-97 and was First-team all NBA 1996-97. Injuries killed his hope of being one of the NBA elite, blames most on playing too much piano.

Amaré Stoudemire

Prime of his career - 2002-2005

How Good Was He? Pretty much Kevin Garnett without the needed intensity. Stoudemire won Rookie of the Year straight out of high school and would have considered to soar among young forward/center combos if not for that pesky left knee microfracture surgery during the 2005-06 season. Was the fifth leading scorer in the league prior to the surgery and had this said by now-teammate O'Neal, "I've seen the future of the NBA and his name is Amaré Stoudemire."

Alright, alright, maybe not, but in the prime, those four starting would be pretty damn tough to match. I'm sure you could make an argument for that Lakers team with Gary Payton, Shaq, Kobe, and Karl Malone, but at least it is worth consideration. Would you take that team over this Suns team? I guess Shaq could guard himself in a Julia Roberts, "Oceans 12" sort of way.