How ex-Suns are faring in the playoffs

The Suns may be sitting at home, but many former Suns are making a dent in the 2009 NBA Playoffs.

The following is a brief analysis of their contributions:



Atlanta Hawks

Isn’t it ironic that the Joe Johnson-propelled Hawks finally cracked the second round for the first time in a decade during the same season in which the Suns didn’t even make the playoffs?

Yep, nobody would have thought this four years ago when the NBA regular-season-best Suns signed-and-traded Johnson to the then-dreadful Hawks, who have now won more playoff series the last two seasons than Phoenix.

Johnson struggled at times in this series, but he led the way in Game 7 with 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting and 6-for-8 threes.

For the series, he averaged 17.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 3.1 asg.

Think the Suns could use a two-guard like JJ right about now?



Boston Celtics

You can thank the Suns one way or another for the contributions of Boston’s three point guards at least indirectly and for better or for worse.

Eddie House did what Eddie House does by going quiet for six games and then exploding for 16 on 5-for-5 shooting and 4-for-4 threes in Game 7.

House did that many times for the 2005-06 Suns during the regular season, although Mike D’Antoni all but forgot about him during the playoffs when his rotation shortened even more so. Too bad, because you never know when House is due for a Game 7-like outburst.

The Celts also got Stephon Marbury because the Suns signed him to a contract extension that paid him a hair under $20 million in the final year of the deal this season. That led to his much-publicized drama with the Knicks all year and his subsequent release and pickup by the Celtics.

Marbury made no positive impact on the series, putting up numbers only during the Game 3 blowout, and he shockingly looked hesitant to shoot open jumpers at times. You can say a lot of things about Stephon Marbury’s past (and many people have), but you can’t say he was ever afraid to shoot a jumper like the skinny white kid at the Rec.

But hey, look on the bright side, at least he finally got out of the first round of the playoffs although he had nothing to do with it.

Finally, it’s time to bring up the fact that the Suns drafted Rajon Rondo and then traded his rights to Boston. If I remember correctly, the Suns didn’t think he’d ever play behind Steve Nash, so they figured it was worth it to deal him for a future first-rounder that they would just trade away for cash anyway.

I think the Suns could have used a guy who just put up a 19.4-9.3-11.6 line, coming a few boards shy of a triple-double average for the series. I’m starting to drool just imagining a two-headed point guard monster of Nash and Rondo.



Chicago Bulls

Yes, the Bulls are the only losing team represented on this list (I think the Rondo thing hammers home the Suns’ history of trading picks, no need to bring up Iggy or the Spanish brothers), but they are the story of the playoffs thus far along with the Celtics.

The Bulls don’t have any former Suns, but head coach Vinny Del Negro spent the past few years in the Suns’ front office, and the play he designed for Ben Gordon to hit the game-tying triple in overtime of Game 4 was right out of D’Antoni’s playbook.

Gordon inbounded the ball to a big who had his back to the basket, sprinted across the court and then caught the feed in rhythm before draining the tying shot.

D’Antoni chose not to coach the Bulls, yet because of the Suns his influence can still be felt in Chicago.



Dallas Mavericks

If it seems like forever ago that Jason Kidd played for the Suns, that’s because it has been.

He has since taken his game to another level in New Jersey and then learned how to be a role player in Dallas, but what a role player he is.

The old French fry spitter put up a serviceable 10.0-6.0-5.6 line and knocked down 10-of-23 triples (43.5 percent), always seeming to hit a dagger when the Spurs left him.

No, he’s certainly not the Kidd you remember from Phoenix, but he’s a key cog for a Dallas team that has already gone further than anybody expected.

One final note, isn’t it interesting that the Suns originally traded Nash to Dallas because they already had a stud at the position in Kidd, who they previously acquired from Dallas, and then they traded away the player they acquired for Kidd (Marbury) so they could again sign Nash, whose absence from Dallas eventually led the Mavs to reacquire Kidd while dealing away the player who should be their point guard of the future (Devin Harris)?

Make sure to take a breath if you got through that 76-word sentence without one.

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