Sometimes It Seems the World Is Against You

Yes. it’s true. In shocking news that is all over the sports wires, Amare Stoudemire will most likely miss the rest of the regular season due to emergency surgery to repair a detached retina.

Just when it seemed that happiness returned to the Suns organization, comes this devastating news.

As far as the details, you can refer to this article.

What I would like to discuss is the fallout from the Suns losing their most explosive player and who might step up to help fill the void. The initial talk is that Leandro Barbosa will start at shooting guard, and Jason Richardson and Grant Hill will slide up the small forward and power forward respectively. Certainly, this seems like a viable solution since Barbosa can score points and some of Richardson’s best moments as a pro basketball player have been when he has played forward.

Regardless, the Suns have taken a major blow. Now it will be difficult to even stay in the playoff hunt. Steve Nash lamented the absence of Boris Diaw, who would have been an ideal replacement for Stoudemire. If Terry Porter had switched back to running game about three months earlier, maybe that would have been the case. But the Suns need to figure out who they have right now that can help replace the 21-26 points per game that they have lost.

I believe the two key players in the recovery plan will be the two players the Suns received when they traded Diaw and Raja Bell: Richardson and Jared Dudley. Right here, right now is when Richardson needs to show the league that he can score the ball with explosive athleticism and accurate 3-point shooting. When Kerr talked about the upgrade from Bell to Richardson in terms of dynamic play from the wing, he may not have had this situation in mind, but this is the very situation where Kerr needs to be proven correct.

Likewise, the heady play of Dudley will become an important factor as the Suns seeks consistent contributions from the power forward position. He is nowhere near the scorer that Stoudemire is, and he’ll rarely draw a double team, but Dudley is a very smart player with a nose for the ball. His off-stat sheet contributions should pay dividends.

Alvin Gentry has already told his players they will need to step up their games. The Suns can either roll over and play dead, or continue to fight with the enthusiasm they showed in the last two games. I certainly hope for the latter. And remember, the last time the Suns lost Stoudemire for a significant amount of time they nearly won the Western Conference championship.

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