Despite the loss of Amare Stoudemire for the next 4 months, the Suns look like they'll still be competitive and compete for the Pacific Division lead. Playing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Phoenix looked pretty strong with their new nucleus of players. Shawn Marion, Eddie House and James Jones all scored 18 points and Steve Nash dished out 12 assists. A total of six Suns players scored in double figures and the team had 34 assists to go with only 8 turnovers.
The surprise here is not House, but James Jones. In my opinion, he looks a lot like Joe Johnson did a couple years ago when we first got him - a little raw, a little young, but a lot of potential. I think he's going to grow a lot with the Suns and should be a good 6th man or starter by next year. He's currently starting for Stoudemire, but that will only last until February.
Mike Bibby struggled for Sacramento shooting 1-11 and finishing with 2 points. Bonzi Wells led the Kings with 21 points, but Shareef Abdur-Rahim struggled with 9 points & 7 rebounds.
Phoenix is now 5-2 in preseason action, with one game to go against Golden State. The Suns open up the regular season at home against the Dallas Mavericks on November 1st (seen on TNT).
It seems that Amare's return about a week ago was probably premature. Stoudemire is now out indefinitely because of soreness in his knee after 3 games back on the court. It wasn't hard to see in the Nets game that STAT was not himself - he couldn't jump, his shot was off, he wasn't rebounding and he wasn't playing defense.
Photo: Carlos Chavez
The Arizona Republic
The Suns are still in a good position to start the playoffs as the #2 seed, pending a collapse and a strong push by the Clippers. Even without Amare they've proven they are a top team - let's just hope that he comes back in time to help them move through the playoffs.
The Phoenix Suns received great news on Wednesday - star forward Amare Stoudemire may return to the court Thursday night against the Portland Trailblazers. STAT was activated on the Suns roster Wednesday and his return is likely.
Everyone on the Suns would like him back out there and putting up big numbers, but coaches and Stoudemire keep preaching that it's going to be a slow progress working him back into the lineup and into game shape.
I'm not sure how it can be perceived as good news... Amare Stoudemire told the Arizona Republic that he's 50/50 on his decision to return to the court - not next week, not next month... he's talking the entire season. It appears that Amare's right knee is causing the problems this time - attributed to “over compensating“ by STAT.
The Suns are doing extremely well this year and would probably go a couple rounds deep in the playoffs without Stoudemire, but they are championship contenders with him in the lineup.
Stoudemire has been cleared to begin 5-on-5 drills and practice. While this may seem like Amare is close to coming back, he and the Suns are still keeping quiet on when exactly STAT will return to the court. With Kurt Thomas down for 6 weeks with a stress fracture, Amare's return has had additional pressure added to it.
Stoudemire started practicing one-on-one Tuesday, which is a great sign for the Suns as the playoffs get closer and closer. STAT commented that he felt fine after the workouts, so it seems like everything is progressing nicely. It also sounds like Amare's off-season shooting drills are starting to show - he apparently knocked down a couple 3-pointers during the workout games.
Amare indicated that it may still be a little while until he returns to the court though, saying that he has to move up to 2-on-2 and then to 5-on-5, each of which are different than playing a one-on-one game.
Everyone is still very optimistic that Stoudemire will return to the floor this year.
“Update: Stoudemire's recovery process continues to move ahead, according to the Arizona Republic. He is now playing 5-on-0 drills and expects to get some 2-on-2 and 1-on-1 action this month.” Source: Yahoo Fantasy Sports
Update 2/3/06, 8am PST
Amare Stoudemire was cleared Thursday to increase his activity on the court, including jogging. His latest MRI reported that he's on track and there's no reason he can't resume activities. While the Suns are not estimating a date for Amare's return, most believe he'll be back on the court in early March. Stoudemire still insists that what the doctors say won't affect his decision to return to the court; if the knee doesn't feel good to him, he's not coming back very soon.
This is great news for Suns fans, as it could give Amare enough time to get into shape to help Phoenix in the Western Conference Playoffs. They're currently the #2 seed, so there's no doubt they'll make the playoffs.
Update 1/16/06, 1pm PST
Stoudemire not expected to rejoin Suns until March now, as reported to ESPN. Althought STAT's making good progress, no one wants him to rush back onto the court, including Amare himself. On Friday night, STAT indicated that it would be approximately 2 more months before he will attempt to return.
The Suns are playing very well right now, so they don't really need Amare rushing anything or risking further injury by coming back sooner. They should end up with over 50 wins and will be a top 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs - all without Amare Stoudemire. If/when he comes back, the Suns will be almost unstoppable.
Update 12/28/05, 1pm PST
“Amare Stoudemire is back on the basketball court shooting free throws, moving day to day with some discomfort but no pain and - according to everyone from doctors to therapists to teammates - is a tad ahead of the four-to-five-month schedule in his rehabilitation from the Oct. 11 microfracture surgery on his left knee. That doesn’t mean Stoudemire will be on the floor before the Feb. 18 All-Star game, or even right after.“ - By Jerry Brown, East Valley Tribune
Good to hear that STAT is back on the court, even if its just practicing his shot or working on his conditioning. Stoudemire comments that he doesn't want to come back until he's 100%, and with the Suns decent record in the Western Conference so far, there's no rush for him to return. He remains excited about the opportunity to re-join the team and contribute to even greater success.
Update 11/28/05, 12pm PST
Amare Stoudemire has been taking it pretty easy since his microfracture surgery, but remains optimistic about his recovery and ability to re-join the Suns sometime during the year. During an interview with Kevin McCabe Sunday on Fox Sports Arizona, his first since the surgery, Stoudemire opened up about why he's been so hush-hush on the subject so far. He basically indicated that he wanted the focus to be on his rehab and not “when he's joining the team“, etc.
Amare just got medically approved to quit using the crutches on Saturday/Sunday, so he's now walking around on his own.
As far as when he'll return, Stoudemire didn't provide an answer; he simply restated that he's confident he'll recover and join the team when he feels 100% about the knee. The general consensus puts STAT's return somewhere around the NBA All-Star break... we'll find out if that timeline remains intact or not.
Update 10/11/05, 12pm PST
Unexpected cartilage damage found inside Amare Stoudemire's knee is now looking like a 4 month problem, as reported by FoxSports.com and the Arizona Republic.
“Stoudemire's manager, Rodney Rice, told the newspaper that the cartilage damage was greater than orginally anticipated and required a microfracture procedure to be performed.“
This couldn't be any worse for the Suns, who are now without their franchise player until January-February. I guess that means Amare will have to wait for his encore All-Star performance until the 2006-2007 season. This is bad news for fantasy managers as well... I'm sure Amare was a Top 5 or Top 10 pick until this injury - now he'll probably slip to the 5th round or so.
Update 10/11/05, 7am PST
“Amare Stoudemire will undergo diagnostic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday to determine what is causing soreness that has bothered the Phoenix Suns All-Star in recent months.
The arthroscopic operation will be conducted by team physician Tom Carter, the Suns announced on Monday.
Stoudemire, who signed a five-year, $73 million contract extension a week ago, sat out the final two days of training camp in Tucson because of the injury to the knee's articulate cartilage. He received opinions from three specialists before deciding to have the surgery.
If no serious damage is detected, Stoudemire probably will be out three to four weeks, coach Mike D'Antoni told The Associated Press. Then, it will be only a matter of getting back in shape.“ - Bob Baum, AP Sports Writer - Yahoo Sports
This is a huge blow to the Suns organization considering they just spent $73 million on Amare's contract extension. Makes you wonder if Stoudemire knew about it before signing on the dotted line...
The Phoenix Suns are expected to announce today whether or not All-Star Amare Stoudemire will need a surgical scope test on his injured left knee. The consensus around the team is that Stoudemire will miss the preseason, regardless if he has the scope performed or not. More...
Losing their franchise player would definitely hurt the Suns, but not until the playoffs. The Pacific Division is pretty weak right now and Phoenix could afford to let Stoudemire rest until he's full strength. They would benefit from the same practice that Greg Popovich in San Antonio uses - rest his best players 3-4 weeks before the playoffs and then bring them back with about 1-2 weeks remaining in the season. It seems to have worked out for them so far (3 NBA Championships).
I just finished reading an article on FoxSports.com about Charley Rosen's analysis/preview of the NBA's Pacific Division.
For the most part, he's right on the money, but there were a couple points I had troubles with...
#1 - He puts Kurt Thomas in the Forwards group - from my understanding, the Suns plan to use Thomas as a Center this year and put Amare back in the 4 spot. I would expect between Brian Grant, Thomas, and Stoudemire that they'll end up playing both Center and Forward during the year, but I don't categorize Thomas as a Forward.
#2 - He also points out that the Suns uptempo offense failed miserably against the Spurs, but he failed to mention they were without Joe Johnson for the first couple games. Who knows, maybe they would've taken it to a Game 6 or 7 had he been in the lineup for each game and healthy. I think their offense is just fine - they can adjust and play half court whenever they want to.
#3 - He points out that Amare needs to work on his off-the-ball defense... Personally, I think he could average 20 rebounds a game, 4 blocks and 2 steals a night if he put as much effort into his defense as he did his offense (that's a scary thought).
The Suns are still the heavy favorite to win the Pacific Division, with Golden State and Sacramento not too far behind. The Lakers are going to have some struggles, but they should be around .500 at the end of the year. The Clippers are going to suck (again).
The Phoenix Suns headed to Tucson, AZ for training camp today, with their franchise cornerstone Amare Stoudemire and his new 5-year, $73 million contract extension. While exact terms of the extension can't be determined until next year, due to the salary cap, Stoudemire has signed for the maximum allowable amount under the collective bargaining agreement. The contract extension will start in the 2006-2007 season, with an opt-out clause after the 2009-2010. Stoudemire's 23rd birthday is still a month away, so it's safe to say that he's doing very well for himself at such a young age.
"I've just been working on my game the whole summer to try to take us to the top," Stoudemire said. "This has been a $100 million summer for me, so I'm very proud of that. I'm just looking forward to bringing the championship home right here in Phoenix." - Associated Press, read more: http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/4929634
A little over a week ago, I reported that Nike signed Stoudemire to a 6-year deal.