The Suns tip off their 2011-12 campaign against the New Orleans Hornets Monday night with what seems to be the lowest expectations from both the media and fan base since Steve Nash returned to the team in 2004.
It would make sense that missing the playoffs last season would be one reason for this. Not making a big free agent acquisition would be another fair explanation.
But the Suns did in fact make additions and are returning a good amount players that allow them to be prepared for what will be the most important key for all NBA teams this year….Depth.
“I think for every team depth will be a huge part for a team making the playoffs, trying to exceed expectations and trying to make it through this schedule.” said two-time MVP Steve Nash.
66 games in 121 days.
“The one thing we have always done around here is to play 9, 10 guys,” said Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry. “I think it is going to be very important this year that you have a deep bench.”
The normal 82 game cross country race is absolutely a grind but the notion of playing three games in three nights or five games in seven days has all teams altering their preparation for sprint to the playoffs.
“We added some guys that I think are going to help,” explained Gentry. “I think it is important that 30 games in you dont burn anyone out..”
Bringing in Shannon Brown, Ronnie Price and Sabastian Telfair will allow for Steve Nash and Grant Hill to take the occasional night off. Price seems to be the guy that will spell Nash every night after his performance during camp in the two preseason games.
“Guys are going to be tired. A lot of minutes are going to be played in a short amount of days,” Suns new addition Ronnie Price mentioned. “It’s not a spread out season like it has been in the past. Everyone has to hold themselves accountable to stay in shape.”
Marfieff Morris, the Suns first round draft pick, will also be an intricate part of the rotation behind Marcin Gortat and Robin Lopez.
Despite depth being in the Suns favor, the low expectations will need to be exceeded on the floor.
All teams will be facing this obstacle throughout the season and will test some of the best athletes on this planet.
For more on the Suns, follow Jared Cohen on twitter at @JaredPros2Preps.