Brownie Points: Sarver building a championship from scratch? Good luck - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Brownie Points: Sarver building a championship from scratch? Good luck

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Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at jbrown5548@aol.com

Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2011 6:00 am | Updated: 12:10 pm, Sun Mar 27, 2011.

The cold reality is the Suns will run out of games this season.

Too many home losses to punching bag teams during the grand Hedo Turkoglu experiment. Too many close loses on the road. Poor timing for Steve Nash's pubic ... you know, the injury thing here lately.

Leaving Robert Sarver in charge of an off-season rebuilding plan wasn't a master stroke. But the in-season moves by Lon Babby and Lance Blanks are hard to argue with - as long as you think of Vince Carter in "salary slot" terms instead of "on-court disaster" terms. Heck, I would have traded Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark straight up for Marcin Gortat, never mind the cap space.

(Did you see where Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said he thinks Earl Clark can be a real player? He's a funny guy, that Stan.)

And even with the infuriating Carter and Mickael Pietrus engaging in "Who can take the worst shot?" contests nightly, if the Suns team currently on the floor had been around for all 82 games this season, there is no doubt in my mind that they would not only be in the playoffs, they'd fighting for a middle of the pack seed in the West.

Of course, that will be met with yawns from Suns fans and bashers - sometimes their numbers seem to run neck and neck - who scoff at anything that doesn't involve a title run.

For them, the season ended when Amare Stoudemire left for New York and all the tea in China, and could only be salvaged if (1) every Sun that was a part of the old era and (2) every player older than 25 was dealt away in the name of the almighty rebuilding project.

You want Robert Sarver to build you a championship team from scratch? Good luck with that folks.

That said, I do agree with several moves:

• Giving Channing Frye a long-term deal - isn't five years and $32 million looking like a bargain now?

• Keep Steve Nash and Grant Hill around. Those so willing to dump Nash over the side so the Suns can rebuild should remember what a week without Nash was like earlier this month. Are you ready to sign up for 2-3 years of that while the pieces are picked up? Sure you are.

• And I still agree with the decision to let Stoudemire walk if he wasn't willing to take less than a max contract.

Do the Suns miss Amare? Of course, there is no denying his offensive talents. But the Suns got to the Western Conference finals by beating the Brandon Roy-less Blazers and the discombobulated Spurs, and those who legitimately believe Phoenix was one Ron Artest box-out from the NBA Finals are the same sages who wanted to give Amare the MVP trophy after three months in New York.

As of Friday, the Knicks were 7-10 since the Carmelo Anthony trade, 1-7 in the last eight games and 35-36 overall. The Suns, for all their warts, have a better record.

The Suns are what they are. They are a smart, entertaining team. They don't quit.

Is the next LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony coming to Phoenix, even if Sarver finds a crowbar for his wallet? Soon enough, Nash will finally run out of gas and move on. But why not find a legitimate power forward, a shooting guard not suffering from Vin-sanity, add a decent lottery selection and give that a try next year?

 

Quick hitters

• Lucky the Suns didn't have another triple-overtime game at Wednesday's "All You Can Eat" game with the Raptors. Someone would have had to be laid off to balance the books.

• Isn't the Barry Bonds trial great? There is baseball's all-time home run king, sitting in a courtroom listening to expert testimony about his testicles. I'd rather listen to another Pete Rose interview.

• Earth to Cardinals: The answer is Kevin Kolb. Make the deal. Get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. End of story.

• How do you win hockey games with a limited roster and no money? The Coyotes are 48-14-18 in one-goal games under Dave Tippett. That's 114 out of 160 possible points (71 percent) in games decided by one goal. Not exactly fire wagon hockey, but it's pretty effective.

• I have May 8 in the "When will Kirk Gibson actually kill someone?" pool. Yes, it's a lousy division. Yes, even the worst teams in baseball win a third of the time. But we could be in for some epically bad baseball this summer.

 

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