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Smack / Sep 10, 2012 / 2:00 am

Phoenix Believes In The Process; Ben Wallace Wants Back In

Jermaine O'Neal

Jermaine O'Neal, Dime #20

The Suns had a grand plan all this time, the team said, and this season’s offseason moves were the culmination of deals they were eyeing since 2010. The Arizona Republic offered an interesting look inside the mind of Lon Babby‘s goal for the team, which — it doesn’t seem this long ago — was in three of six Western Conference Finals (last in just 2010). It’s hard to know what to think about Phoenix’s strategy, which went after Eric Gordon and showed a willingness to spend some money on young, elite talent to build around. But on the other hand they didn’t blow themselves up and work to build through the draft, which seems like not just the mode du jour of GM strategy but the proven one if you can’t spend gobs of money like the Lakers out West. They’re in this holding pattern that seems destined to put the Suns in a perma-seventh seed. We’re all for giving Michael Beasley one last chance to unveil his monster talent (Wesley Johnson a little in that way, too), while Goran Dragic jumped out last season and Kendall Marshall is an intriguing backup rookie. Even with the promise of some good basketball left, Luis Scola and Jermaine O’Neal leave us kind of shrugging, still not giving us total confidence in the frontcourt. The Suns aren’t the haves, nor the have-nots, out West, but instead are hoping to sit in that middle and surprise some people. If this were the NFL, cool. The Giants have shown you can sneak through the playoffs that way. But in the NBA it’s pretty hard to emerge that far back in the seeding. It just seems to us that this is a decent list of pickups, but doesn’t the finished product of that offseason seem a little underwhelming for something two years in the making? It seems that way because of words Babby himself said in the piece, that, “Hopefully, their talent ultimately vindicates where they were picked.” We like how the Suns kept their maneuverability flexible since trading away Jason Richardson, but that’s a lot of hope to bank on. … Hit the jump to hear whose back Bill Self and Deron Williams have …

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