Draft Night: Either Great or Terrible

The Suns pick of Earl Clark in the first round is a great move. Surprisingly, the Suns look like they will actually keep Clark rather than trade him. Also a surprise is that the front office is not going on about how he is “NBA-ready” as they have with past drafts. The plan appears to be to bring him along slowly from the beginning, which is good. Of course nothing is certain. Yet, Clark has height, physical ability, and skills. If he develops his game, he could provide a major contribution to the team.

What happens next could revolutionize the Suns or doom the team to years of futility.

The hot rumor has the Suns trading Amare Stoudemire to the Golden State Warriors for 7-0 center Andres Biedrens, and any number of other players from rookie superstar-in-waiting, Stephen Curry to former lottery pick, Brandan Wright, to former apple-of-the-Suns-eye, Italian sharpshooter Marco Belinelli.

While Curry is a very intriguing possibility, the rest of the potential players from Golden State are role players. I’ve said it more than once and I’ll say it again: successful teams do not trade a first team All-NBA player for role players and expect to successfully rebuild from the trade. The only tangible results from such a trade are salary reduction followed by years of futility.

The key to the trade is Curry, a prolific scorer with an incredible feel for the game. However, the irony of this potential trade is palpable. Trade supporters rant about the defensive shortcomings of Stoudemire. Yet, it is well-known that Curry is not a defensive player either. Trade supporters choose to ignore this fact and would rather focus on Curry’s scoring ability.

Would the Suns become a better team in the future if they did obtain Curry and several Warrior role players? Probably not. I’m not doubting Curry’s potential. But the Suns will not improve by trading a great interior scorer for a great perimeter scorer. The plain fact is that the best teams can score in the paint. While these points certainly can came from penetration, the more effective weapon is having a big man scoring threat. Especially if you already have one on your team!

The worst case is the rumor that Curry is not even part of the deal. If so, the Suns would be trading their best scorer for a bunch of role players, none of whom are proven scorers in the NBA. (Of course Curry has yet to prove himself in the NBA either, but it’s a foregone conclusion the kid can score.) This deal would be an absolute disaster. Yet, the Suns front office is fully capable of making such a move of desperation.

The Suns were the highest scoring team in the league last year. And team management has committed to the running game. So if the Suns trade Stoudemire, they must get at least one proven scorer in return.

Despite the excitement, I don’t think the trade will happen. Stoudemire has just begun exercising and is a long way from returning to basketball activities. The Warriors must be concerned about Stoudemire’s retina and his knees. They also would want reassurances that he will sign a contract extension (at the max). I can’t see all this happening before the season starts.

Another rumor that seems to have much less traction in the public eye has the Suns trading newly acquired and assumed-to-be-retiring Ben Wallace to the New Orleans Hornets for Tyson Chandler. Injured or not, the chance to get Chandler would be a fantastic opportunity for the Suns. A front line of Chandler, Stoudemire, and Grant Hill backed up by Robin Lopez. Lou Amundson, and Jared Dudley is a lineup that offers real potential for improvement and competitiveness. This is the type of move that might also instantly turn around the team’s fortunes and transform the Suns into one of the better teams in the league.

The key is the Suns must keep Stoudemire. Instead of focusing on the negatives, the Suns need to realize that they in fact have a rare talent who can be a foundation player on a winning team. Just like how the Suns have taken a pragmatic approach to newly acquired Earl Clark, the Suns must also take a pragmatic approach with Amare Stoudemire and recognize that he can be a very important part of team’s future.

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