Trouble in the Desert: 4 Ways the Suns Can Return to Western Prominence

Josh SteinContributor IIIJanuary 28, 2012

Trouble in the Desert: 4 Ways the Suns Can Return to Western Prominence

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    The Suns have been struggling this shortened, post-lockout season for a second straight year after enjoying years of success and annual playoff visits. They have not been able to get back to that level of play since the departure of new Knicks star, Amar'e Stoudemire, during his free agency. The Suns will have to make some sort of change in players or agenda if they will become contenders again.

1. Shop and Trade Steve Nash

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    It's time to move on and part ways. These past seven years have been great. It's been a successful ride, filled with ups and downs. I personally love Nash and I always will appreciate what he did for this franchise, but at some point you have to have the guts to accept that it's over and move on. There's been a lot of good memories, but we can't let them hold us back. We have to let go. It's for the best.

    With two MVPs, he has led this team to beyond its wildest dreams, but this is a rebuilding team and many prospects could be added by simply giving up the aging wonder. He has been the Suns' hero for years, but the best thing he can do for the team now is move on.

2. Get Rid of Robin Lopez

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    Lopez has not been what the Suns expected and hoped for when they drafted him 15th overall out of Stanford. He has been extremely inadequate and has been almost a cancer to this team with his actions. He was even suspended for a game for his actions towards a ref which brought the demeaner of the team down.

    Lopez may not hold much trade value, but even getting rid of his contract would be a smart move. Lately, he has not been bringing much to this team and this may be the first step in rebuilding.

3. Give Hakim Warrick More Time and Opportunities off the Bench

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    Part of what could help the offense is giving Hakim Warrick a regular role. Warrick was the early-season scoring leader off the bench but faded out of the rotation. He was called upon Tuesday night and made his first four shots on his way to 17 points.

    Warrick had been moved to small forward to find his way into the rotation, but he returned Tuesday night to power forward, where Gentry said he is better-suited. Gentry said he needs to give Warrick consistent minutes and I will not argue with that.

4. Give Marcin Gortat the Ball in the Post More

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    Now having recorded a double-double in six consecutive games, Dwight Howard's former caddy has been inspiring locally produced claims that he might be a legitimate candidate for the Western Conference All-Star team.

    He is a force to be reckoned with down low in the Valley of the Sun and he has been the little stability on the offense that the Suns can rely on. He has been showing what he has learned from Howard and is putting those talents to use, but he needs to get more chances to shine.

Suns Still in Playoff Race?

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    The Suns are not out of the Playoff race, but a miracle would have to take place for them to play some extra basketball this year. Right now, though, they should start focusing on the future and these are just four ways that they can improve their team for the long run.

    They have a very young, talented team that is poised to do amazing things in the future. All they have to do is change a little and fix the broken spots.