With Stoudemire out, Suns need to run even more
Updated: November 10, 2005, 1:43 PM ETBy Jim O'Brien | ESPN Insider
Coach Jim O'Brien led the Boston Celtics (2002, 2003) and Philadelphia 76ers (2005) to the Eastern Conference playoffs. This season he will write NBA analysis and commentary for ESPN.com Insider. This is his first contribution to ESPN.com's NBA coverage. The loss of Amare Stoudemire for four months to knee surgery is devastating for the Phoenix Suns. Coach Mike D'Antoni has lost his only real inside scoring threat (26.0 ppg) and his team's second leading rebounder (8.9 rpg). With the Stoudemire injury, the Suns are now down three big-time offensive contributors from last season's league-leading 62-win team. Stoudemire, Joe Johnson (traded to the Atlanta Hawks) and Quentin Richardson (traded to the New York Knicks) combined to score 58.0 points per game in 2004-05. Where will Phoenix get that point production from this season? The Suns will use Raja Bell, Kurt Thomas and Brian Grant to fill the holes, but their points-per-game averages for the last couple of years look like this: 11.2, 12.3, 11.1, 11.4, 8.7, 3.8. If each repeats his numbers from last year, the Suns will get only 27.5 points per game from those three, which is more than 30 points less than Phoenix got from the three guys they're replacing. So what does D'Antoni do?
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