The Half-Full Lockout Glass


Everyone knows the simplistic comparison between pessimists and optimists. Glass half-full, glass half-empty. Yadda yadda yadda. The lockout seems to be a great way to distinguish the two only by looking at your timeline. The pessimists will be naysayers all day, the optimists are going to pray for a miracle even when Derek Fisher says “We haven’t reached an agreement.” Neither side is really wrong in what they’re doing (unless, that is, they’re betting on it, in which case, dear optimists, the pessimists are living off your right now), but neither side is really right. Is it easy to have a realistic attitude? With all the “how u’s” and agent letters, it’s nearly impossible.

But I won’t bore you with lockout rants, I’m sure you had so much of them posted on your timeline that you’re getting nausea anytime you even hear who you should blame. While what I will write will be very closely related to it, the lockout itself will only be a frame for this, not the main topic.

A question I’ve been hearing a lot, when it comes to the Suns, whether it was on Andrew and Saving The Sky Hook’s Ian’s Rogue DDLs, or discussed on some other Suns blogs and websites, lockout impact seems to be the second most hyped up topic behind (what else could it be?) trading Steve Nash. I’ve even read a post just after the “How u” Bonanza of 2011 that basically stated “damn it, we’re going to have to watch the Suns lose, why are we having a season?” Somehow, I do understand the pessimism, last season showed Nash’s fragility, Gentry’s incompetence, and much much more. Do I agree with the assessment? No.

The fortunate thing about this window of “contending-rebuilding” limbo the Suns are in right now, is that in this limbo, whatever happens with the season, will leave the team unscathed, and even bring some unexpected benefits.

You see, every situation has its cons, of course, but these are not major cons. While in a fans view losing a season of Steve Nash is an unbearable thought (That is my biggest fear about the lockout. Really), the team isn’t really hurt by it that much, given that Nash reaffirmed his loyalty to the Suns so much, even when he didn’t have to, I doubt he’ll be going anywhere once his contract expires. While losing a year of development might be really painful for Marcin Gortat, given his work ethic, I’m sure he’ll be fine, if he becomes a leader of a team in a good european league, or just stays in the States, running drills with the rest of the Suns.

The doomsday scenario here is; Nash walks, Gortat isn’t able to pull his weight around without the superstar, Grant Hill retires. Also, the team looses the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, isn’t able to sign anyone in the loaded free agency, and the team is effectively set to be at the top of the board in the next draft. That’s not a bad worst-case scenario, given that’s what everyone wants the Suns to do right now. Also, what are the odds of all that happening? Even with the bad luck of the franchise, pretty low.

But what if the season is shortened? Won’t the Suns have trouble gelling? No. The Suns were gelling great by the end of last season, and Vince Carter’s near-certain buyout will only make that gel better. Even if Robert Sarver commits the sin of signing Shannon Brown (I doubt Jamal Crawford would be enticed to join the Suns, and the team needs a wing) he’ll only have to learn to do one simple thing. Catch and shoot. The most important duo in the team is already forming a scary tandem, with Gortat being a wrecking ball when rolling to the basket and all. Also, a shorter season means more surprises. Just like shorter series give a bigger opportunity to the underdog, a short season would turn the West into a free-for-all. The only team I’m sure won’t be in playoff contention are the Wolves, and that’s only because they have a new point guard, a new forward and a new coach coming in. With such a wild field, the Suns well-rested veteran presence of Nash and (hopefully) Hill, should build the framework for a surprising season.

Finally comes the last option, one that seems more and more unlikely as days pass. If we get a full season, the Suns… Well, the Suns will probably hang around playoff contention, we’ll get a lot of Steve Nash pick-and-rolls, Grant Hill corner threes and Jared Dudley hustle. By the seasons end, Nash’s contract will expire, he’ll either walk, retire or sign cheaper, and the team will start hunting the stars of the coming free agency. As simple as that. Nothing to get overly excited about, but nothing to cry about either. If Nash’s traded, the Suns are probably the last team in the West and thus have a shot at Anthony Davis or Austin Rivers. If the Suns keep Nash, they’re on the verge of a playoff berth. Once again, nothing bad and nothing good. Does it mean we shouldn’t want a season to start on time? No. The more Steve Nash, the better for our creativity. Everyone knows that.

My point, if a bit confusing here is quite simple. The Suns glass is half-full, regardless of if season will be full, half-full, or empty. It’s not a question of winning, but it seems to me that the Suns are slowly getting on the right track and a season or lack of thereof will not change this. At this point, the only thing that can hurt or boost the team is not a lockout, but the Suns themselves. My suggestion? Keep our glassess filled with hope, even if they’re empty. If the Suns do bad, you’re just an optimistic fan, if they do good however, you can scream “I told you so” on the top of your lungs. I don’t know about you, but personally, I love it.

Tags: Alvin Gentry Grant Hill Lockout Marcin Gortat Phoenix Suns Steve Nash