"Chiming" in on the Shaq trade
So we've established that Suns still got a quality player in return but what do they gain and what do they lose. Hard to argue that little needed to be changed to arguably the best team in the West. So what do they lose with Marion's parting? Marion is probably their second best perimeter defender and their best transition finisher. But the Suns can fill that void fairly well with Grant Hill providing he stays healthy. I doubt anyone would ever mistake the Suns as a very good defensive team but they might be better than most people think. They are holding opponents to .450 fgpct this year good for tenth best in the league. They are also second in the league in 3pt fgpct against at a very solid .333. The Suns defensive deficiencies come from inside the arc where they allow opponents to shoot .477. They are also worst in the league in rebounding differential. Alot of that has to do with size. As good a defender as he was on the perimeter, Marion often got pwned inside. The presence of the Shaq will immediately shore up defensive rebounding and interior defense. Remember the Laker Championship teams? They were among the league leaders in rebounding. Furthermore I believe that Marion's stats without Nash will drop tremendously. Maybe his scoring goes up but watch his fgpct drop similar to what Kev shoots.
If O'Neal stays healthy his scoring, rebounding and effienciency should all go up. The Suns half court offense becomes ultra deadly with all 40% 3pt shooters surrounding O'Neal. With Shaq still shooting close to 60% from the field, he should still command lots of double teams. That was another weakness of Marion's. As good as we was in transition and close to the basket, he was a poor 3pt shooter @ .327. Most of the those were open looks. Aside from age and health, there is also a concern with how Shaq will coexist with Amare. Many teams have failed to get alot better after acquiring several superstars because their games were redundant. Boston has done a great job of not falling into that trap by getting 3 all stars whose games compliment each other or basically don't interfere with each other. So is there a danger that Shaq's game interefering with Amare's? I don't necessarily believe this to be true. Although Amare is known for his inside presence, he is still mostly a face up offensive player whereas Shaq is a purely back to the basket player. Amare will still occupy almost all the pick and roll plays with Nash. He is also moves well without the ball as do most Sun players because they're used to playing with Nash. O'Neal has always been a solid passer in the post and I believe Amare can easily slip into that small power forward role where is does alot of slashing to the basket off Shaq double teams.
I do believe Suns can be a better team with this trade. But I also believe a 36 year old Shaq is unstable physically. If he can't play, then the Suns just traded away one of their best players for nothing. The West just got a little more intriguing.