This picture signified the beginning of the end of the Suns mini-run. When Steve Kerr made the trade for Shaquille O’Neal last year, he said he completed the trade because the Suns as they were constructed with Shawn Marion didn’t have the low post presence and halfcourt game to compete with the best teams in a playoff series. It’s now safe to say he was wrong. The Suns made the playoffs last year and lost in the first round and failed to make the playoffs this year. Shaq’s stats were good this year and the trainers did a nice job keeping the big fella healthy, but his role became too big on this year’s team and ultimately hampered the play of Amare Stoudemire and the now departed Boris Diaw. Kerr made the wrong decision to let Mike D’Antoni walk and followed it up with the wrong decision to hire Terry Porter. The Suns got old and got old fast and outside of maybe Jason Richardson (who isn’t that young) really have no foundation for the future. I’m betting that Kerr will at some point coach this team and then get fired.
Kerr joined XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix to talk about the disappointing season.
On the way the season ended
“It just feels like we’ve got things on track and we’re playing pretty well and that we should be in the playoffs. In fact, we’re two games behind Utah right now as we speak and their season is done. Had we won that game two weeks ago, that’s a two game swing. We’re up 7 with two minutes to go, we win that game and we’re probably in the playoffs. We’re all kicking ourselves for that and for a number of reasons.”
On Grant Hill
“I’m so happy for him that he’s played 82 games. It’s a testament to his drive, his competitiveness and his work ethic…He’s been the first one into the training room before every practice and every game, on the training table and in the weight room. He’s earned that and he’s been fantastic…We’re going to do everything to get him back for next year. Remember, he sat out for many of those years with the injuries so he doesn’t have as much mileage as you think.” Kerr on Amare, on saying the Suns aren’t a contender, and the full interview after the jump.
On Amare’s criticism of Jerry Colangelo
“I was disappointed. There’s no sense in pointing fingers and this is not Jerry’s fault…Everybody is at fault here so there’s no sense in pointing fingers…It was unfortunate but it’s something that we’ve got to move on from.”
On his quote that “this team is not a contender” “I didn’t think we were a championship team this year, I think that’s fairly obvious. But even if we had complete health and even if we had not had the coaching turmoil, I didn’t think we were a championship team. I don’t think I’m spreading any news here, I think people understand that, but I just want to make that clear. On the other hand, I do believe with a little better luck and less turmoil, we’re right in the middle of the pack in the Western playoff hunt.”