Unlike myself, Corn describes himself as a "tried and true Suns fan." He has lived and died (mostly died, given his profoundly negative nature), with this team for the past twenty years. And while I have sworn myself off of any further discussion of the Phoenix Suns outside of any coaching changes that are imminent, it wouldn't be right for Corn not to weigh in on the "death" of the Suns last night. And while there are about a million things I disagree with about this particular piece, we're partners, and when his team suffers arguably the most painful loss in its history, he deserves a take. Here are his thoughts. Take it away, Corn...
These are my definitive opinions and if you have a problem with them, feel free to email me at matthew.t.cornelius (at) gmail (dot) com.
The Suns tried to get better on interior defense (hey, how about teaching Amare to give a crap? That would be a better start than trading for freaking Shaq.) and in doing so forgot that if you don't let people get into the lane, then your interior defense looks a lot better. The Spurs knew that and exploited it to a huge advantage. Good for them.
Amare's offensive skills are beautiful, but his defense and lack of motivation at times are inexcusable. Amare, when not being made the absolute focal point of the offense, can sometimes completely disappear. Last night was a crucial example. I have never seen anyone suffer and get so off their game just because they didn't get the first pass when the ball comes across half court. It is pathetic and weak. Diaw, with his tremendous array of skills, should be a great compliment to Amare at the small forward position. He too needs to get better at his perimeter defense and get quicker, but his skill set plays very well off Amare. Unfortunately, Diaw cannot be effective without being the focal point of the offense either. Maybe the can't co-exist. Keep Amare and blow up the rest. Good luck with that, Stevie Kerr.
The rest of the team should be gone within two years. Nash and Shaq will retire. Bell will get picked up by somebody like San Antonio, who can use his perimeter defense and spot up shooting to its greatest effect. Leandro Barbosa is a one-dimensional player who is incapable of running an offense or playing defense. He is a scorer deluxe, but the Suns don't need that. Giricek and Skinner will be out of town. If you really want to see Kerr's mettle as a GM, let's see what he does when this hulking shell of a Phoenix team needs to be remade in full. Cause, you know, D'Antoni won't be around to direct it.
Oh, and one more thing, why in the world wasn't Hill/Diaw/Giricek/any freaking person who is NOT Leandro Barbosa guarding Finley when he hit that backbreaker three in Game One? I don't even care about the Duncan three (because, after all, real champions make plays when the game is on the line). I care about that one. Awful coaching and even worse execution by the smallest guy on the team. Well done, Suns.
It basically all boils down to Sarver. Why did he run Bryan Colangelo out of town? Why couldn't he just accept that he didn't know anything about running a basketball team and leave it up to someone who had the NBA in his genes and had been intimately involved in it his whole life? It is the bane of many a new owner in the NBA to be far too caught up in "names" on their team, former players in the front office, and in wagging their own proverbial cock all over the team just to show that they are now the boss and whatever they want, they get. And in the end, he gets exactly what he wants: a distraught fan base, a team that doesn't believe in itself, a Knicks-style soap opera in his brain trust, a legacy of losing and a reputation for being an irrefutably boorish owner who has no idea how to build a winning team. But boy, did Shaq ever boost those merchandising sales! On second thought, you are a winner, Robert. It's only your team that had to be sacrificed.
Corn will likely be a bit quieter for the rest of the playoffs since he's since been admitted to the North Carolina Institute For The Completely Batsh*t Insane. Donations to the Shaquille O'Neal Buyout Retirement Fund can be made in lieu of flowers.