Maybe Amar'e Stoudemire Is That Important, After All

Mark SimoncelliContributor IMarch 9, 2009

After watching another Suns' loss Sunday, I thought to myself, "this team is missing something."  Then, after watching the recap, it struck me. The Suns have the missing piece to their puzzle; he's just on the injured list!

After watching the game, a game where the Suns struggled to get any rebounds, one thing was relevant, the Suns have nok interior presence. 

In a game where Tim Duncan was Shaquille O'Neal's shadow for most of the game, it was a game, where one other big man could've made the difference. 

The Spurs out rebounded the Suns 43-36, and Tony Parker scored or assisted on 24 of San Antonio's last points, most which were either layups or postups.

So, since Terry Porter's departure, the Suns are 6-6, 4-6 without Amar'e.  Also, Amar'e put up 23 and 42, respectively, in the two games that he played in under Alvin Gentry's system. 

If you break down the losses, since Amar'e has been out, they have been by 20, 26, 12, six, four, and five. 

The 20 and 26 were against two of the top teams in the NBA right now (Boston and LA). Both got worse down the stretch, because guys like Kobe and Rondo were walking into the lane scoring easy points. 

The 16, six, four, and five were all winnable games, where the Suns lacked only one thing—a guy with size who could help take some pressure off of  Shaq and score some points down the stretch.

Now, I am not claiming that the only reason the Suns are four games out of the playoffs is because of one player, but you can't tell me that he couldn't have closed a 16, six, four, or five-point gap. 

Also, the game against LA was close until the fourth quarter, when Shaq found himself in foul trouble, and the Suns had no one who could play the center position effectively.

In conclusion, from this, my point is just that the Suns reached 140 points in both games that Amar'e played and were once again, for a short time, the most fun team to watch in basketball. 

Too bad Amar'e is out, and too bad for what could've been...