As the NBA’s old guard dynasties have come crashing down they have brought the realization that all good things must come to an end. The Spurs, Lakers and Celtics all bowed out of this year’s postseason, sometimes in a less-than-graceful manner (I’m looking at you, Los Angeles), and with them went the dynasties of the last decade. And that’s OK.
Of all leagues the NBA tends to be the most cyclical, and that’s because the best teams are built around superstars. From the time a team acquires one their job is to surround him with the right mix of talent, hope to win some titles and then move on when the player just doesn’t have it anymore. As difficult as it may be to break up championship teams and part with once-great players, the tough decisions are made because they’re in the best interests of the team.
And, no matter what direction the Spurs, Lakers and Celtics take from here, they can do so knowing they gave their superstars the pieces they needed to win a title.
The Suns can’t make that claim, though they certainly fall into the same group of teams that have exhausted their chances.
Now it’s true that Steve Nash is not on the same level as Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant, and while he’s comparable to Paul Pierce he never played with anyone as great as Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen (in their primes). Still, the pieces were there to make something happen and the Suns seemed content with doing the bare minimum in trying to do so.
In 2004-05 Phoenix had one of the youngest teams in the league and featured Nash along with Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Quentin Richardson and Joe Johnson. Rather than keep this group together and build the Suns chose instead to make some drastic changes.