What did you expect from Steve Kerr when he was first brought on in Phoenix? I, for one, thought that he’d open up this free-wheeling offense even more, turning it into John Beilein‘s wet dream – something along the lines of a three-point shooting range in which Amare and Steve Nash would be the only two players allowed inside the three-point line.
But Kerr hasn’t brought on players that reflect the way he played. (I know that if someone was stupid enough to let me make personnel moves for a franchise, I’d bring in a bunch of slovenly hustlers with little offensive game. Welcome David Lee, Paul Millsap, Jason Maxiell, and Reggie Evans.)
In fact, Kerr’s acquisitions are pretty much polar opposites to his style of play. He set the tone early on with the Shaq-for-Marion swap. While that trade didn’t transform the Suns’ character, it also didn’t really sink in last year. As that move was made at the trade deadline, it felt like Shaq was being borrowed on loan for the impending battle with Tim Duncan. But now that the Diesel has been in the Suns’ plans all summer, he’ll be put to use in a way that best suits his skill set.
Add in Butthead (er, Robin Lopez), who might some day be a poor man’s Fab Oberto, and you’ve got a team that is in danger of being devoid of the run-and-gun philosphy that has made them a fixture of national telecasts. During each of the two seasons that they lost in the Western Conference Finals, the Suns had three more shooters (not counting Shawn Marion) than they do this year (Tim Thomas, Eddie House, and James Jones in ’05-06, and Joe Johnson, Q-Rich, and Jimmy Jackson in ’04-05.) Now, instead of stockpiling shooters, Kerr has a platoon of Louis Amundson, Eric Piatkowski, and Linton Johnson on his roster.
Steve Kerr didn’t win five NBA championships cleaning the glass. But he didn’t win them by being the coolest guy in the League either. So maybe Kerr is building a team in his likeness after all.