ESPN’s all-time starting lineup for Suns includes Nash, Stoudemire
There’s nothing quite like ranking players over other players to stir up some discussion, and ESPN took it to the ultimate level.
The outlet released all-time starting lineups for each franchise, including the Phoenix Suns.
The five for Phoenix: Steve Nash, Kevin Johnson, Walter Davis, Charles Barkley and Amar’e Stoudemire.
ESPN’s Andrew Lopez on his thought process:
No Shawn Marion? No Paul Westphal? No Alvan Adams? No Larry Nance? No Jason Kidd? You can make a solid starting five from the next group of Phoenix legends.
The franchise’s two MVP winners, Nash and Barkley, were locks. Westphal split time as a point guard and shooting guard during his six seasons, but we give the nod at the other guard spot to Johnson, who spent 12 years in Phoenix, and had three consecutive 20-point, 10-assist seasons and five All-NBA nods.
Davis vs. Marion was a tough battle. Both made a pair of All-NBA teams (two second-teams for Davis compared to two third-teams for Marion), but Davis gets the edge as the franchise’s leading scorer. At center, Stoudemire stands supreme as his four All-NBA honors best Adams’ longevity.
As Lopez acknowledges, Westphal and Marion have strong arguments as snubs. Westphal’s longevity at an elite level in Phoenix that Lopez notes, in particular, is an achievement few have ever reached in a Suns jersey.
ESPN allowed some “positionless basketball” to take effect, which is why you see Johnson as a two-guard and Davis as a small forward.
In this lone writer’s opinion, Johnson gets eaten alive against any other all-time shooting guard and is useless playing off Nash, who should have the ball over Johnson anyway. Davis to shooting guard and Marion slotted in at small forward is the obvious tweak here.
Adams, the all-time franchise leader in games played, rebounds and steals has a case as well.
As far as other snubs, Ring of Honor member Tom Chambers has the franchise record for points per game in a season at 27.2, and his 1988-89 season of 25.7 a night also ranks fourth.
Other Ring of Honor members on the outs include Dan Majerle, Connie Hawkins and Dick Van Arsdale.