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Should the Dees be worried about what happened to the Phoenix Suns?


I have a fairly secondary interest in the NBA.

I like it. The sport itself is amazing and the athletes who play it are, in my opinion, probably the best all round athletes on planet earth when you consider their explosiveness, stamina, straight line and lateral quickness in addition to incredible coordination required to be an elite basketball player.

What annoys me about basketball is how the team concept has eroded to the point of becoming pure theory. As a result, the three teams I really enjoyed watching this year were the Celtics, a team built around three players they drafted, Golden State, for the same reason, and the Phoenix Suns. Why the Suns? They have only been together for two years.

Two words.

Chris. Paul.

The guy is like a great conductor when he sings. He totally controls a basketball game. You hear so often about point guards that “he’s like a great quarterback”. My untrained eye usually can’t really see it, but with Paul it’s like watching Tom Brady pull the strings.

You can see him talking constantly, always in the right place defensively, especially as his defensive skills on the ball have diminished, but it’s in attack that he’s special. He takes the screens on or off like a mobster deciding which senator to bribe for a gaming license. He carries the game in his pocket, in complete control of the proceedings.

He constantly delegates, sets people up for success, makes sure everyone is in the right place to run the game as efficiently as possible.

(Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

But there are times when the game is on the line that Chris Paul transforms into Tony Soprano after being shot, needing to reassert his dominance.

While Tony beats the extremely buff Penne Matriciana (because he gets so mad it’s like he’s got chili flakes up his ass) to reaffirm who’s the gorilla in the family, Paul does it with a deft mid-range game. He gets to his place on the elbow with pure trickery at this point and still has enough lift on his jump shot to look like he can’t miss.

Paul made the Suns look like a well-oiled machine in the regular season, leading them to 64 wins while having his usually effective 16 and 9 night after night. They looked like a shoo-in to make the Finals in an unusually weak Western Conference, so we thought. It seemed like a miracle had to happen to them not to, at the very least, advance to the Western Conference Finals, if not the Finals themselves.

Sound familiar?

The Dees have now won 17 games in a row at this stage. The all-time record is 23. But it’s not just that they win, it’s how they win. They do this by barely sweating. They play close teams until they start to get nervous, then they go up for five minutes and the game is out of reach.

It’s inconceivable that they could blow themselves up at this stage because their defense is so strong. Ranking first in the following categories: points-per-game differential against the opponent; opponent within 50 seconds per match; opponent’s points per game. It’s absurd.

Beyond that, they’re third in points per game, first in 50s per game and they have the best array of top-flight talent the league has seen since those Geelong sides of the late 2000s, or perhaps the early Franklin Hawthorn teams.

They have three players for whom the argument could be made that they are the best in their respective positions in Christian Petracca, Max Gawn and Steven May. Each of these players plays in a different line, if you accept that Petracca and Gawn are increasingly half forwards.

They play so well together and complement each other perfectly, just like the Suns.

Max Gawn leads the Melbourne Demons

(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Now back to the Suns, this time with another mafia pop culture analogy. In the playoffs, Paul was like Vito Corleone in The Godfather. You could see he still had that ruthless streak at times, twice in the first series against New Orleans, ripping games off the Pelicans in the fourth quarter as Vito had Khartoum’s head ripped off. But really, with the added intensity, you could see that he, like Vito, was slipping.

In the second-round series against Dallas, Paul was clearly down and there was no Michael Corleone to stop the slide into darkness. He only scored more than 13 points twice in the series and they were in the first two games of the series. Beyond that, he didn’t play with his usual verve and authority, even though he knew it was the right thing to do.

And if Paul was Vito and there was no Michael, then DeAndre Ayton had to be Fredo. A keen player by all counts and unlikely to be given a max contract by the Suns, Ayton was a total non-factor in this second-round series, like Fredo fumbling for his gun while his old man was shot in the back. trying to buy oranges.

So that leaves Devin Booker or Sonny Corleone in that analogy. Clearly talented and has a place in the world, but still unable to take over when his father slips. Booker launched the offense regularly in the regular season while Paul was injured but could not do so effectively in the playoffs, leaving too much to the aging legs of Chris Paul, who is no longer what he once was. .

Sonny, in much the same way, was completely incapable of effectively managing the family. He didn’t listen to his Consigliere, kept his father’s office in a dilapidated state with plaques all over the place and was all too easily baited into his own murder which led to one of the biggest death scenes in history. ‘story.

By the way, did a story plan ever work as well as the plan to kill Sonny. That they knew he was going to join Connie and they knew which way he was going is pretty crazy. But also, how did they know the next car would be so far behind. And what about the guy at the toll booth? He just hid behind balsa wood and was fine?

I find that hard to believe given that the Barzini were better armed than the US Army in 1943, or a small suburban US police force in 2022.

So could this happen in Melbourne? I doubt. It’s a team of Michael Corleones. Cold, calculating and almost heartless in the way they dismantle teams.

They are not incredible personalities, nor particularly jovial. They are just dominant. Above all, they played in a grand final and won it, unlike the Suns who lost in the final against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. They don’t share Chris Paul’s penchant for failure when the moment is right.

This is of course with the exception of talismanic skipper Max Gawn, who has the cruelty of Michael mixed with the warmth and relative humanity of Sonny compared to his ugly, cold-hearted brother.

So should the Dees be worried about the Phoenix Suns’ example?

Probably not.

I can’t see them getting beat up.




Sports Grp2

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