17 October 2006

He's got hops like a young Divac!

Looks awesome, doesn't it? Well, one preseason jam over The Other White Walton does not a season make. Suns first home preseason game was tonight and, well, Amare didn't have hops like this. In fact, I'd wondered whether his new jersey number is supposed to reflect his new vertical leap. Like all the other members of the Microfracture Club For Men, he's looking at a minimum of two years to get back to 70%, so we can expect a great game from The Knee about every six or seven days with a smattering of DNPs throughout the season.

I was heartened on his first score, a little turnaround banker which was Duncanesque. I thought he might really be rounding out his game to counter the loss of raw athleticism. The party line is that Amare's been working his shot, working his shot, working his shot. Going 0-4 from the charity stripe - not close misses, mind you - isn't the best way to prove that point. He had a perfectly respectable preseason outing, but he looked nothing like the phenom of two seasons back. He reminded me then of a young CWebb; now, I just hope he learns to hit the elbow jumper with the same consistency.

Otherwise, the Suns looked decent, if rusty. Marcus Banks might just fit in at point behind Nash, letting Barbosa play as an undersized two guard. Since Barbosa's great speed isn't matched with great judgement, that would be a good thing. Far too often, he dribbles into trouble and leaves himself no outs. I'm hopeful that Banks will play with a little more poise and a little less bouncy-bouncy of the ball.

Diaw might have looked better tonight than he did last year. Maybe they'll get around to, you know, signing him. That would be swell. With Gymkata as the go-to bruiser at center, I'm always happy to see Boris doing well. It tends to keep Thomas' minutes down.

On the bright side for the league as a whole, Shaun Livingston looked fantastic tonight filling out the stat sheet. 7-9 from the field, 7-8 from the stripe, five boards, five assists, and a steal. He looks a bit bigger, a bit stronger, and a lot more confident out there than last year. He should be a blast to watch.