Last week when head coach Alvin Gentry was talking about who would take up the final spot on the Suns’ roster after sending Courtney Sims back to the D-League, he said, “We need size more than anything, but it has to be someone who can play.”
Apparently the Suns think that the 6-foot-10 physical specimen Stromile Swift can play, despite pretty much doing nothing in New Jersey the last two years, because the Suns signed him for the rest of the year. Swift would be playoff eligible because he was waived on Sunday.
Even at 29 years old, Swift’s athleticism is tantalizing in a system in which Gentry will tell Swift to rebound, block shots, play defense and then just run down the court and wait forto find him.
“We are very pleased to be able to add a player of Stromile’s caliber at this late date,” Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said in a press release. “We believe that his athleticism, length and experience will be valuable to us as we head down the stretch run.”
There’s no question that adding Swift is better than signing another young, borderline NBA player like Dee Brown or Sims, but enough of that Amare Lite talk, OK?
Swift has been in this league for eight years since being drafted second overall in the 2000 Draft. He’s averaged as many as 11.8 points and 6.4 boards per game, which are solid numbers for a second-year player, but he never improved on that.
Swift doesn’t have an Amare-like jumper and he’s clearly nowhere near the scorer that STAT is, but it’s certainly possible he can do some things better than Amare does in terms of defense and rebounding, starting tonight when he’s expected to be in uniform.
At 29, Swift isn’t too old to potentially rejuvenate his career in Phoenix, and as a late signing there really isn’t much pressure on him to succeed, just an opportunity on a veteran, potential playoff team that desperately craves his size and athleticism.
This really could be his last chance, so it would not be overly optimistic to expect his very best effort.
The 2005-06 Suns don’t make the run they did without Amare if they do not sign a bought out Tim Thomas, and although I doubt this move will have anything close to the same impact. Swift sure will help a ton more than a player like Sims.
There really is no downside to this deal.
The Suns can only hope this roll of the dice provides them with that one extra big body that pushes them into the playoffs.