Posted by: sportsandbeans | November 3, 2006

A Rosy Proposition =)

Migs ID By Migs

I’ve always liked playing with Lego. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Lego is a toy brand based in Denmark. Lego was revolutionary when it was released in the middle of last century, as it provided for boundless possibilities in terms of creating structures for playtime. All one needs to enjoy Lego to the fullest are two hands, some Lego pieces, and a dynamic imagination.

Jalen Rose, Lego Version, Front Here is a photograph of Lego minifigure of NBA cager, Jalen Rose. This toy, obviously, was released years back when he was a member of the then forlorn Chicago Bulls. Since that time, the Bulls have risen back into league prominence, and Rose has chalked up stints with the Toronto Raptors and dysfunctional New York Knicks. On the eve of the 2006-2007 season, the Knicks waived Jalen, which, really, didn’t come as much of a surprise, as the New York lineup was, and still is, awash with 2’s and 3’s (Quentin Richardson, Jamal Crawford, etc.). An aging veteran like him simply didn’t fit into coach and team president Isiah Thomas’ plans for the upcoming year (Zeke actually had a credible gameplan going into this year?).

What’s a man like Rose to do after being cut loose by a team with a system and atmosphere as stiff as Lego blocks? Why, go onboard an organization that represents the complete opposite of the dark ages, of course.

Enter Jalen Rose, and the Phoenix Suns.

According to reports, the Phoenix Suns are on the cusp on inking the lefty veteran to a deal for the NBA veteran’s minimum of $1.178 million. Of that amount, the Suns would have to shell out $744, 551, while a league fund for veteran’s minimum contracts would shoulder the remainder of Rose’s pay.

In terms of X’s and O’s, the former Pacer, Nugget, Raptor, Bull, and Knick seems to be a good fit for the up-tempo Arizona squad. The man can hit the outside shot with decent consistency, and is tall enough to post up smaller defenders who occupy his position. He can play 1, 2, and 3, and at a wiry 6,9″, can be very dangerous on the on the scoring end and also on defensive sets (this fellow isn’t Tayshaun Prince, but those long arms can cause trouble from time to time). Jalen also brings experience to the table, having been to the NBA Finals as a member of the Indiana Pacers and having gone through many playoff wars with the likes of Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson. Rose likes to loiter around the wings on offense, and, even if he plays average defense, he’d be less of a liability in the greater scheme of things when juxtaposed with a wide open Phoenix attack that prides itself in scoring quicker than their opponents can say “darn”.  

Should the deal fall through, Rose will join the likes of Marcus Banks, Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa, Eric Piatowski, James Jones, and Shawn Marion as real perimeter or inside/outside threats. With a revitalized Amare Stoudemire and a no-bones-about-dirty-work type in Kurt Thomas manning the shaded lane, the Suns mice will have much room to play, and then some.

Is there a downside to this deal? Save for injury and interpersonal strife, the Rose acquisition for the meager sum specified above, when placed side by side with the Suns’ on-court character, is a winner. Basketball pundits might suggest that it would be better for the Phoenix to nab a bigger body to help Amare and Kurt Thomas inside, but these are the Suns we’re talking about, Mike D’Antoni’s Suns. These guys, collectively, form a crew rooted in finesse and quickness, not in slowdown, pound the opposition to the ground ball which teams like San Antonio or the old Laker squads, crica Shaq, would be akin to doing. The boys in orange, purple, and white are a wild lab experiment that, oddly enough, often reaps favorable results. Phoenix is a team that can play 4 smalls and still run with the bulls.

Can the mercurial Rose become what Tim Thomas was to the speed demons a year back? At this point, the answer to that question would be, on face value, a resounding yes.

The situation we’ve profiled here is both like and unlike Lego. “Rigid”, in that Rose is poised to enter into a winning system that advocates freedom of moment, without killing off a sense of strategy (“organized chaos”). “Loose” (not soft), in that Rose will get to use his offensive skills to the hilt, without having to worry too much about disrupting the team’s on court chemistry. He, along with the Suns’ other wingmen, have the green light to shoot and weave their way towards scoring in the hundreds. We may, then, see a renaissance of sorts for Jalen, assuming he gets sufficient playing time, and is able to quickly and fully adapt to the “motiff” of “desert basketball”. Lego is a term coined from the Danish phrase “leg godt” which means “play well”. If the former Michigan State star fuses well with the Phoenix system, the result might be more than just good play. We might as well touch on the final push that takes the fastbreaking mavens over hill towards an NBA title.

D’Antoni and Nash represent the mind. The other players represent the hands and the building blocks for success. The end product is a structure that commands respect and reverence. That’s what Phoenix looks like this season, and for all we know, the latest addition to the this Western Conference power might actually represent the most unexpectedly critical element in victory’s equation, of all. =)

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