Amaré Stoudemire’s knee surgery has the legion of Phoenix Suns fans waiting to exhale as they wonder what will become of the team that dominated the NBA’s Western Conference last season. Stoudemire’s injury, added to guard Joe Johnson’s diva turn to Atlanta and the trade of forehead-bumping shooter Quentin Richardson for bruiser Kurt Thomas, turns a lot of last year’s exclamation points into question marks.
Breathe, Suns fans. While visions of an NBA championship have become more than a tad blurry, it seems more than likely that you still will be watching your team compete in the NBA playoffs with the same brand of fast-paced action. League MVP Steve Nash's hair and socks will still flop about as he races around the court, and there is every reason to believe Shawn Marion will again play at All-Star level.
The loss of Stoudemire certainly weakens the Suns’ title hopes. But given the struggles of the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Coyotes and Sun Devils, Suns fans are able to say, “You've got a winner in town” with a straight face (and without apologies to former Cardinals coach Buddy Ryan).