Most Suns‘ fans would say the ’07 Phoenix had the best chance of winning a championship, and a controversial suspension of Amar’e Stoudamire and Boris Diaw deprived them of doing so. But Shawn Marion – a member of The 7 Seconds or Less Suns – would say otherwise.
The year we lost to motherfuc*ing Dallas — that’s the year we were supposed to win a championship.Shawn Marion, Real Ones
The Nowitzki-led Mavericks – a team that eventually lost the ’06 NBA Finals to the Heat – proved to be too much for the 54 win Suns. They closed out the series in six games and ended Phoenix’s postseason run at the WCF mark, despite The Matrix feeling great about their chances of winning the Larry O’Brien that year.
But even in ’07, it shouldn’t have ended the way it did. As Marion described on the Real Ones podcast, the Suns should’ve won the series against the Spurs regardless of the suspensions. What held them back is the lack of adjustments, which made them too predictable on the offensive side of the floor. And if you ask Shawn, there’s only one person to blame for that.
Everybody talking about the adjustments and what somebody’s doing or not doing. Hey, you’re a coach; you gotta make fuc*in’ adjustments, man. Like it’s your duty to go out there and see what they’re doing. Don’t get me wrong, players can see it too, but the players are only gonna do what you tell ’em to do.Shawn Marion, Real Ones
As much as Mike D’Antoni’s system turned the Suns into an offensive juggernaut during the regular season, it also held them back in the Playoffs. Come postseason time; every team is playing Chess. The ’07 Phoenix played Checkers, and it capped their run at the second round. But those Suns weren’t the only one.
Back in ’19, the late great Kobe Bryant said the Rockets wouldn’t win a championship with James Harden because their style of play was too predictable. Houston relied exclusively on The Beard to run their offense, the same way the 07 Seconds or Less Suns relied on Steve Nash to do the same thing.
The common denominator, and the reason both teams were never able to go all the way, is Mike D’Antoni. That’s why Marion is right to call him out for it. Status quo should never be a go-to for a head coach, and on-fly adjustments are a necessity to thrive. D’Antoni never understood that, and it deprived him of winning an NBA title on multiple teams.
I just feel bad for the players. They were and will continue to be collateral victims of one man’s obstinacy. Unless D’Antoni changes his approach. He’s with the Nets now as an assistant — sounds like a good place to start.