Will the real Josh Childress please stand up?

Ubiquitous  [yoo-bik-wi-tuh s] – adjective: existing or being everywhere, esp. at the same time.

I am Ubiquitous…..I’m simple, yet complex”, that’s what is written on Josh Childress Twitter page, so I guess we can’t be surprised to be still looking for the real Josh Childress in a Suns jersey (AP Photo/Matt York).

The 5-year 34-million deal the Suns made to bring Josh back to the NBA last summer had been labeled anything from “a good move” to “a great steal”, yet as of today Josh Childress remains the Suns biggest mystery of the season.

A player that should fit the Suns system perfectly, I’m sure he felt the same at the beginning of the season, choosing to wear no. 1 on his back, nothing less.

As we were already dreaming of steals, rebounds and aggressive drives to the basket with Nash serving easy layups to Josh, is averaging 15 minutes and 5.2 points a game while taking only 4 shots a game on a team that averages 82 attempts a night. What did go wrong?

Josh got off to a so-so start (maybe “he’ll need time to adjust back to the NBA” we all thought) and then things (and stats) got even worse: November (18 minutes, 6.7 points, 3.9 rebounds) became December (10 minutes, 4.8 points, 2.3 rebounds) and on to January when he didn’t even play on 9 occasions, including 7 of the last 8 games. Josh Childress, DNP CD, is now the line we are accustomed to read in the box scores.

Childress appears to have fallen out of the Suns rotation and it looks like Coach Gentry lost faith in him. It’s difficult to say how it happened, how a player with his talent lost it or his desire to play disappeared.

To be honest with it, Coach Gentry gave Childress a decent chance early in the season at SF without much success.

In a recent interview with The Republic, Suns owner Sarver considers Childress “a future asset affected by Hill’s level of play” Quite an obliged and understandable answer, since by the way, Josh is the third highest paid player on the roster (at 6-million) and we all know how much Mr. Sarver cares about his dollars.

Childress is still young, at 27 entering his prime but I’m afraid it’s not going to happen with the Suns, and that would be a real shame.

An All-American at Stanford, Childress was a very solid player with the Hawks (11 points, 6 boards and over 30 minutes per game) and a real playmaker in Greece.

His two years at Olympiacos proved to be quite a success. I’ve had the chance of watching a lot of his Euroleague games, especially last year as he guided the Greeks to the Championship game, eventually losing only to Barcelona. He took the team on his shoulders, he was brilliant and effective.

Combining Greek A1 League stats with the Euroleague, Childress averaged more than 15 points and 5 rebounds per game plus a ton of huge plays on both sides of the court. He made them when it mattered most, and don’t forget the Euroleague is as tough as the NBA as you get to play physical, well-coached and talented teams almost every game not to mention some of the toughest environment in the World of basketball. If you feel playing in the Rose Garden is hard, try the Belgrade Arena.

Maybe Josh is really “ubiquitous“, and it’s quite clear he might as well be everywhere, except in Phoenix it seems.

Now Childress is a decent and intelligent man, a great guy, not to mention a very good basketball player. When he was traded to Phoenix last summer I believed we had the second coming of Shawn Marion, an athletic rebounder, a good defender that the Suns could use at 2-3 different positions and a prototype NBA 6th man.

If you think long-term the Suns would be better off giving some relevant playing time to Josh as Grant Hill won’t be around forever while Childress could be a solid contributor for years to come. So please, don’t give up on Josh, at least not yet.

Yours truly,

Luca, “The Steve Fan”

PS This is my first post for the great Sun-n-Gun blog, as the Steve Fan I’m just happy to call this place home.

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Tags: Alvin Gentry Josh Childress Phoenix Suns

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