Suns’ makeover a work in progress

Steve Kerr took over as GM of the Suns in the summer of 2007 and his first move was to trade the rights to Rudy Fernandez to the Blazers for cash considerations. Obviously, with Fernandez on the short list of serious Rookie of the Year contenders, this was a bad, bad move. He came out of that draft with University of Wisconsin standout Alando Tucker, who has only played 48 total minutes in a season and change.

He then traded Kurt Thomas and two future first round picks to the Seattle Supersonics in a straight salary dump. The next move was his biggest — he traded Shawn Marion to the Heat for Shaquille O’Neal.

At the time, I thought it was a mistake to break up that Suns team that was a couple of bench-clearing infractions away from upending the Spurs in the 2007 playoffs. No matter how much of a distraction Shawn Marion was at the time — and as I remember, the Matrix was a pretty good citizen for most of 2007 — he was essential to the success of Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo attack.

Those Suns were fun to watch and, more importantly, they were damn good. They made the Western Conference Finals in 2006 and lost to the eventual champs in the aforementioned 2007 playoffs. Who’s to say that one more season wouldn’t have made the difference?

Steve Kerr, that’s who.

Kerr is well-liked and well-respected. I always enjoyed listening to his color commentary and found him to be quite knowledgeable. But in one and a half seasons running the Suns, I am not impressed with his skills as a GM. Sure, there’s a chance that Shaq finds the Fountain of Youth and, as Roland Lazenby of HoopsHype writes, this team will be suddenly able to put it all together in time for a serious playoff run, but right now they look like a mediocre team with a bunch of good players whose best years are far behind them.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this Suns team, still led by Mike D’Antoni, with Marion instead of O’Neal, and Rudy Fernandez filling the wing. Is that better or worse than what we’re watching now?

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