Nash, Amare lead Phoenix Suns all-decade team


The first decade of the 2000s has come and gone, as have a handful of All-Star-caliber Phoenix Suns players.

During the last 10 years the Suns have featured lineups anywhere from the star-studded Seven Seconds or Less teams, to the squads in which Jake Tsakalidis and Bo Outlaw regularly cracked the starting rotation.

Needless to say, the Suns have had some five-star players sport the purple and orange in the last 10 years, leading to the construction of the Phoenix Suns all-decade team, ValleyoftheSuns edition.

Much like the majority of Suns lineups during the last 10 seasons, the Suns’ all-decade team is a bit unconventional, but all-decade head coach Mike D’Antoni would have it no other way.

Here is your Phoenix Suns all-decade team:

PG — Steve Nash

Nash is a no-brainer at the point guard spot. His resume reads: two-time NBA MVP and a 299-144 record with the Suns during the decade, leading them to four 50-plus win seasons — two of which were 60-plus win seasons — and two trips to the Western Conference Finals.

His signing in 2004 revitalized a Phoenix Suns organization that missed the playoffs two of the three seasons prior to his arrival, including a 29-53 finish in 2003-04.

Since re-joining the team that drafted him, Nash has been a model of consistency. He averaged at least 15 points and 10 assists (if you round up his 9.7 last season) in every season with Phoenix during the decade. Nash also never dipped below 50 percent shooting from the field and 43 percent shooting from three.

Nash earned three consecutive first-team All-NBA honors from 2004-2007. Nash led the league in assists every season during that stretch and has never finished outside of the top three as a Sun during this decade’s stint in Phoenix.

If we were handing out the Phoenix Suns player of the decade honors, Nash would win in a landslide.

SG — Jason Kidd

Kidd is obviously a point guard, but in D’Antoni’s system he could easily play the two, not to mention that he was simply too good to leave off this list. Besides his off-the-court domestic abuse issues and awful experiment with the bleach blondish-yellow hair, Kidd was outstanding as a Sun.

He only played two seasons with Phoenix in the first decade of the 2000s, but he made the best of them to say the least. During that two-season stretch the future Hall of Famer led the Suns to a 104-60 record, while averaging 15.6 points, 9.95 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game.

Kidd’s teams were never uber-talented, but he consistently landed them in the playoffs year in and year out. Although he’s not a conventional shooting guard, Kidd belongs on this list nonetheless.

SF — Joe Johnson

Like Kidd, Johnson isn’t exactly a small forward and didn’t spend all that much time in Phoenix — three-and-a-half seasons — but he played such a big part in the early D’Antoni years that it is almost impossible to exclude the former Arkansas Razorback.

During his best season as a Sun in 2004-05, JJ averaged a solid 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, but that came as the team’s third and sometimes fourth option. While in Phoenix, Johnson grew into the top-tier shooting guard that fans so often see dominating in Atlanta.

JJ left a sour taste in the mouths of Suns fans after he bolted to ATL for a bigger bank roll and the chance at individual stardom. But regardless of how his Phoenix Suns career ended, Johnson was certainly one of the most impressive Suns of the decade.

PF — Shawn Marion

For eight-and-a-half of the decade’s 10 seasons, Marion was Mr. Sun; fast-break flushes, game-changing blocks and steals and clutch rebounding epitomized the do-it-all forward.

Marion was drafted by Phoenix and meant so much to the organization from day one. He was there through the toughest of times and the best of times, and he was a fan favorite.

The Matrix was easily the most versatile Suns player of the decade and brought a defensive element that the Suns have been missing since his departure. During his time as a Sun Marion led the league in total steals twice and also finished in the top three on two other occasions.

After his rookie year, the Matrix posted at least 17 points, nine rebounds, one block and 1.7 steals in every season with the Suns. He earned Western Conference All-Star honors four times in Phoenix and turned in a career-best 21.8 points, 11.8 boards, 2 steals and 1.7 blocks in 05-06 when Amare Stoudemire missed the season with microfracture surgery.

Like Johnson, Marion ended his tenure in Phoenix on somewhat of a sour note due to his supposed rift between management and a couple of the players. But regardless of how he went out, Marion was Mr. Everything during his time in Phoenix and is more than deserving of a spot on the Phoenix Suns’ all-decade team.

C — Amare Stoudemire

Stoudemire proved to be a man-child from the second he sported a Suns uniform. STAT captured the 2002-2003 Rookie of the Year award and, despite facing some major obstacles, has dominated the Western Conference ever since.

A few major knee surgeries and a vision-threatening eye surgery didn’t slow down the big fella’. Due to the knee ailments, Amare was forced to reinvent his offensive game. He has done exactly that with flying colors, transforming from a ferocious finisher without much of a jump shot or handles, into a pure mid-range jump shooter with some left over freakish athleticism.

STAT has earned an impressive, soon-to-be five All-Star bids in eight seasons with the Suns. It is hard to imagine that he has been in the league for that long — posting career averages of 21 points and 8.9 boards — but he continues to improve and has given the Suns their first real post presence since Sir Charles Barkley.

Before it’s all said and done, STAT may end up being known as the best big man in Phoenix Suns history.

Sixth man — Leandro Barbosa

Head coach Mike D’Antoni

General manager Bryan Colangelo