58-24 (Tom), 62-20 (Gil)
Last Year’s Record
Steve Nash’s ascendancy to NBA royalty has been such a great victory over the odds that the Fates were stunned into letting actor-a-like Jackie Earle Haley receive an Oscar nomination in the midst of a hugely surprising major career comeback. Okay, that’s not such a great joke, but I never thought that Nash would be around playing this well for this long so as to totally exhaust the Randolph Mantooth comparison. In fact, he’s so good that they’ve added famous sports cripple Grant Hill (with no doubt a small retainer to Mike Gminski to help Hill get on and off of the Suns bench) to go with spookily only slightly underperforming Amare Stoudamire and famously put-upon potential world-class psycho Shawn Marion in order to test just how much potential team-destroying circumstance Nash’s karma can hold at bay.
I think that like the Indianapolis Colts team that won the Super Bowl with their least talented roster in four years, that it might be Phoenix’s year, but that’s only because I’m not required by this exercise to figure out how they beat any of the West’s other good teams four games out of seven.
Rejoinder From Gil
The cover of the NY Times Magazine Sports Style Supplement (?) featured Steve Nash with the cover line “SUBVERSIVE”. I’m not sure what that’s about; maybe it’s his fault that the U.S. dollar is trading below its Canadian counterpart. I didn’t open the magazine, for fear that I’d see a glamour photo of Serena Williams.
In an SI interview, offseason addition Grant Hill said, “I liked that [Phoenix] hadn’t quite won yet, and I can contribute to that.” I found this hilarious.
Gratuitous Comics Connection
Two-sport athlete Jackie Earle Haley (bicycling, baseball) will be playing Rorschach in the forthcoming Watchmen movie.
Gratuitous Pharma Connection
The Translational Genomics (TGEN) Institute flew me out to Phoenix for a PR junket in October 2003. I sneaked out of a speech by Bill Haseltine of the Human Genome Project so I could catch the Yankees comeback against the Red Sox in game 7.
The Bottom Line
They must go into the season just hoping that Tim Duncan will bump knees with Dirk Nowitzki in an April matchup, and that both guys will be unavailable for the playoffs. –GR