Three times a lady
It was brought to my attention earlier today that all of the Suns' starting five got invited to All-Star Weekend. Amare, Nash, and Marion made the team; Q and Joe Johnson (just as I can't keep myself from saying "Stevie Francis," it took all of my concentration to not type "Joey Johnson" there. Is that a complement or condascending?) in the vaunted 3-point Shoot-Out. My first two thoughts on this: there is no way D'Antoni shouldn't be coaching the West. It's the All-Star Game--do you really want to see Popovich running the show? How do we know he's not going to resort to playing the size advantage, since the East's explosiveness has been known to steal a game late (Arenas, 20 points third; Iverson closes it out with 18 in the last five!)? Let's take it a step further--why not just send the Suns as the Western All-Star starters, coach and all? Put T-Mac or Kobe in as the starting 2, bring Richardson or Johnson off the bench. . . is there any reson to believe that wouldn't be as well-orchestrated and dynamic All-Star squad as there's ever been? They've got chemistry to go with all the requsite fireworks--Nash is the league's best passer, Amare its most furious dunker, Marion a high-flying freak show, Q and JJ the kind of fearless long-range gunners that could save us a cold spell or two. . . it's just a suggestion, but I'm clearly in favor of it.
So far in this blog, I have advocated restructuring the playoffs so the Suns could win a title, and offered them up as your 2004-2005 Western Conference All-Stars. To save the suspense, this summer I plan to propose that the draft consist simply of lottery teams telling an MSG audience which Suns starter they would most like to have. And then hand them responsibility for the Super Bowl halftime show.
The real motivation here, though, is that it's an insult to be in Denver for the three-point shoot out. Johnson and Richardson are not 3-point shootout material; it's not their event, it's beneath them, and far more one-dimensional, stiff players should get their chance. It's like when Paul Pierce tried his hand at it a few years back--the contest rewards pure shooters and spot-up guys, not runaway trains like the Suns's twosome. Has any watched Richardson shoot three's? Does anyone think that Johnson can hit a three if he's not allowed to lope into it?
The Dunk Contest, as far as it's fallen, is still respectable. Even the rookie game counts for something, since that thing gets pretty fucking street whether it's hotly contested or a blow out. But the Suns shouldn't all be going to the All-Star game, since it makes a mockery of all they've accomplished.