Shaquille O’Neal for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks is all but a done deal. If Shaq passes his physical, and Marion agrees to play in Mami then this deal is complete. What could the Suns find out in a phyiscal that everybody doesn’t already know, SHAQ is OLD. Barring any serious medical conditions to Shaq, Marion has played his last game as a Phoenix Sun. This doesn’t make any sense at all judging from a fantasy point-of-view, but there has to be a method for the Suns GM, Steve Kerr’s madness. What are some possible reasons the Suns would do this trade?
1. Panic to make a move after the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol
2. Ability to play a half-court offense, something that has held them back come Playoff time over the past decade.
3. Matrix unhappy with situation / leaving after the season is over anyway
Apparently the latest trend is to add very old, broken down big men to fast paced offfenses. The Warriors added Chris Webber to their roster this week, and now the Suns think Shaq can be an asset to their team. Would Kerr have made this move if the Lakers didn’t go out and acquire Pau Gasol from the Grizzlies? Probably not. The sole purpose of this trade is to be able to play a slow-down game come playoff time. It’s no secret that the Suns can Run-And-Gun, but now they can slow it down when needed. The Suns have been exposed by slow-paced teams over the last three playoffs. The opponents that have knocked the Suns out of the playoffs over the past three seasons have all been in the bottom 5 of possessions per game (Pace). This season the bottom 5 teams currently according to Pace are: Detroit Pistons, Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. Obviously the Heat won’t be anywhere near the playoffs this year, and Portland is slipping as of late, the other three teams are legitimate playoff opponents the Suns could face. Clearly, Shaq is not the most dominant Center in the league anymore, but he stills draws double teams and draws a lot of fouls. Imagine Shaq passing out of the double team to the likes of Barbosa, Nash, Raja, or Amare cutting to the lane, keep thinking about it some more. It’s actually pretty scary, and this trade may give the Suns exactly what they need to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993.
PHOENIX Fantasy Factor:
Shaq’s minutes will be pretty low for the remainder of the season, he should be a decent option for a head-to-head league if you’re not worried about Free Throw %, but is still a killer in roto leagues. Marcus Banks was averaging 12 minutes per game of playing time, that has to go somewhere, Leandro Barbosa’s playing time is sure increase, his points will rise from 16.7 to at least 18 points per game, possible even more, from here on out given that extra playing time. Barbosa’s assists currently sit at 3.0/game, you can expect at least 3.5/game from this point on. Boris Diaw will likely re-enter the starting five, which makes him worth a pickup in nearly all leagues given his Center elgibility.
MIAMI Fantasy Factor:
Marion will quickly become the #2 option in Miami, behind D-Wade. All signs point to Wade eventually being shut down for the season, which would make Marion the top dog in Miami. Marion’s Points Per Game were down nearly two points from last season, you can expect Marion to get at least 18 PPG/game for Miami, while his other stats should at least stay the same. If Marcus Banks cracks Pat Riley’s rotation and earns 30 minutes a game, then you can expect a stat line of about: 13 pts, 4 assists, 2.0 3PTM, 1.0 Steals, with a rebound of two a game as well. Adding Shawn Marion to the roster will definitely help some of their young players develop as well. Dorrell Wright can learn a lot by practicing daily against Shawn Marion, you could see that pay off for Dorrell late in the year, and for years to come, for sure. Jason Williams may benefit in the short-term, but will probably lose a lot of his minutes to the youth movement (Quinn/Banks) before you know it. There are also rumors swirling that Ricky Davis and/or J-Will could be traded for salary cap reasons, I don’t think Miami is done dealing yet.