Welcome to the Solar Panel. A gathering of some of the most unique minds discussing topics from around Planet Orange (if that’s still a thing). These media members and super fans will breakdown who is missing from the Suns All-Time NBA2k18 roster, who should coach the team and how they’d fair in a tournament. Here’s this edition’s panelists:
Gerald Bourguet: So Greg, on Thursday morning NBA 2K released the long-awaited rosters for every team’s All-Time squad. It’s a great idea for a video game and one that allows every NBA fan to indulge their inner nerdom by matching one franchise’s all-time greats against their friends’ favorite all-timers. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Suns’ All-Time roster leaves a lot to be desired.
Before we start yelling into our computers, let’s take a look at the list first:
- PG – Steve Nash
- SG – Paul Westphal
- SF – Shawn Marion
- PF – Tom Chambers
- C – Amar’e Stoudemire
- PG – Kevin Johnson (Bench)
- PG – Jason Kidd (Bench)
- PG – Goran Dragic (Bench)
- SG – Dennis Johnson (Bench)
- SG – Jeff Hornacek (Bench)
- SG – Leandro Barbosa (Bench)
- SF – Dan Majerle (Bench)
- SF – Cedric Ceballos (Bench)
- PF – Connie Hawkins (Bench)
- PF – Larry Nance (Bench)
I’ll let you kick things off…BUT IT SEEMS LIKE SOME NOTABLE NAMES ARE MISSING HERE, GREG.
Greg Esposito: To quote the legendary Charles Barkley, who was left off the list because he doesn’t allow his likeness to be used in video games, this roster is TURRIBLE!
How in the world do you not include the franchise leader in rebounds, steals, games played and minutes played, Alvan Adams, and the franchise’s all-time leader in points and field goals, Walter Davis, on this roster? They should be starters not just on the roster. It’s a travesty.
Plus, I love Goran but he shouldn’t be on this list and the only reason Ceballos should make it is if we’re having a dunk contest, an ugly shirt competition — go back and look at his and Tim Kempton’s wardrobe on the bench of the 1993 Finals — or if we need an in-arena emcee.
This list made me more irrationally angry than those “very special episodes” of 1990s sitcoms did that weren’t funny when I was a kid.
GB: No Charles Barkley is understandable because of the unfortunate circumstances, but not having Walter Davis and Alvan Adams on the roster is inexcusable. This roster plays like someone who was born in the last 20 years made it. There go those millennials ruining everything again!
Aside from the absences of Sweet D and Adams, the “Original Sun,” Dick Van Arsdale, didn’t make the cut either. Goran Dragic’s 2013-14 season was the best memory Suns fans have since Steve Nash left, but I agree, putting him on the all-time roster is a bit of a stretch. Ceballos could’ve been included as the game’s emcee if they wanted him in the game so bad, and I’d even argue putting Leandro Barbosa in the team’s all-time 15 is a reach.
The biggest question is, do any current Suns (cough, Devin Booker, cough) belong on the list? It goes back to the question that’s been on plenty of Suns fans’ minds for the last two years: Is this kid destined for greatness, or is he simply putting up good numbers on terrible teams?
A few weeks back, I made the case for Booker being included on the 15-man roster. While his defense is “TURRIBLE” and his scoring hasn’t really helped the Suns win games, there’s no question he’s on the path to greatness. When his name is included on scoring lists with names like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, you know you’re on to something good.
With Phoenix currently facing an eighth straight season without the playoffs and the roster undergoing a full-on youth movement, wouldn’t it have been more exciting to include an up-and-comer like Booker over Ceballos, Dragic or even Barbosa? Sure we’re projecting a bit, but having at least one prominent name from this year’s roster would’ve been a nice bit of indulgence for the current fanbase.
ESPO: If it was made by someone who was born in the last 20 years then why in the world isn’t Booker on the roster? I’d take him over Barbosa. Booker at least holds the team’s record for most points in a game. Barbosa was a great role player and a Sixth Man of the Year but come on. Hell, Eddie Johnson probably deserves the spot over Leandro but EJ never gets any respect.
I can’t believe I didn’t list the “Original Sun” in my initial rant (OK, I can. I wanted to leave you someone to point out as missing). He’s a Ring of Honor member and by far one of the 15 best players in Suns history. Another shame that he is missing. For a game coming out on the same year the Suns celebrate their 50th anniversary, this doesn’t truly celebrate their history.
Like I said earlier, Booker probably should be on here based on how flimsy the back half of the roster is. Sure, his defense isn’t great but offensively he’s one of the best Suns we’ve seen and he’s only two years in.
Also, where is Shaq or Mark West — I’m the first person to ever include those two in the same sentence — on the roster to give depth at center? Right now it’s Amare, who was never a center, and no one. Granted, Adams would be a center if they had included him as well.
It’s obvious that the Suns roster, because they haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, was a complete afterthought. They know Phoenix, even the greatest in team history, isn’t selling copies of a game. Which is sad because there is a lot of meat left on the bone.
The Suns roster is like NBC doing a Friends reunion but conveniently not including Matthew Perry as part of it… Oh, never mind.
The question is, as constructed, could this roster even compete with some of the all-time great rosters? I feel like if you include the guys we mentioned who are missing they could have competed in an all-time great tournament.
GB: Good call. It would’ve been better to err on the side of over-optimism with Booker than go with Ceballos or the Blur. If Book pans out as the next Suns superstar, leaving him off the list will look pretty silly. Even if he doesn’t, you could argue he’s already the current face of the franchise and the cornerstone of #TheTimeline. Entering the team’s 50th season, and considering his enormous upside, that should’ve mattered.
Leaving Shaq out is a move I can understand since he was only here for a little more than a year, and Mark West would’ve been an honorable mention for me, but you’re right — even for a franchise historically devoid of dominant big men, if you’re not going to include Alvan Adams, someone needs to be there at the 5.
MY GOD, IS THAT JAKE TSAKALIDIS’ MUSIC?
In all seriousness though, licensing issues are the only thing preventing this Suns roster from being competitive with most of the other all-time squads. Nash, Amar’e and the Matrix are all rightfully in the starting five, Hornacek, J-Kidd, Majerle, Barbosa and Dragic can all competently spread the floor and there are plenty of talented guards and animated dunkers (KJ, Nance, Chambers, Matrix, STAT and the only old school Suns legend 2K bothered to include, Connie Hawkins) to make Suns fans happy.
Without Barkley though, I wouldn’t count on anyone outside this fanbase looking at this roster and thinking, “Oh wow, this team is STACKED!”
ESPO: I’m guessing even with Barkley no one would really think this team can compete. Historically they have no center so teams like the Rockets with Hakeem, Lakers with Wilt, Shaq, Kareem, Knicks with Ewing, etc. would eat this team for lunch. I realize it’s not how the game is played now but if we’re going all-time you have to take it into consideration. I’d be fascinated to see what happened if they simulated a NCAA style single-elimination tournament with these teams what seed the Suns would wind up with and just how far they’d go. My guess is a lower seed and a second round exit.
The only question left is what uniform do you put these guys in? In the preview video they show all the teams in their current jerseys which look weird. I think you have to go some kind of throwback. My vote would be the original Suns uniforms but guessing the rest of the fan base may take umbrage with that. Most would probably side with the Sunburst uniform of the 1990s and I couldn’t begrudge them for that.
GB: Absolutely. Threes still reign supreme (even in 2K), but there’s a reason the game features such intricate controls when it comes to post-up moves. If you’re playing as the Suns against someone who’s even semi-competent in that regard, you’d better hope all your threes are falling or you’re going to be roasted faster than you can say “Dracarys.” But hey, at least Nash and Amar’e pick-and-rolls will be fun!
As for a tournament, a second-round exit sounds about right considering the Suns are one of 13 teams in the game to feature two or more starters with a player rating below 90. That guard depth would probably help escape the first round, as Phoenix is one of only five teams with two or more bench players rated 90 and above, but after that, pure star power would win out.
For the uniforms, I’m biased toward the Sunburst uniforms of the 90s to the point that I’d argue they’re the best set of throwbacks in NBA history, but the originals are great too. The only problem is, with a roster so heavily skewed toward the late 80s and beyond, the Sunburst unis are probably the most fitting (pun intended).
ESPO: Who would coach this team? For me it’s probably Cotton Fitzsimmons. He was great at running a fast-paced offense, see the Cotton Express, but had a big enough personality to make sure none of these egos would clash. Plus the press conferences would be fantastic. Not to mention his suits, toes and even sweaters were legendary. Plus he was on Arsenio Hall in the early 1990s. Can’t beat that.
So, to tie a bow on this, I think it seems, on the Al McCoy scale, this roster is more Heartbreak Hotel than it is a Shazam.
GB: I’d be good with Cotton Fitzsimmons as well, as long as Mike D’Antoni could make an appearance on the sidelines as an assistant as well. Seeing the Pringles man in a video game never gets old, no matter how next-gen the graphics get. But I’m glad we were able to find some solace in this discussion without screaming through our keyboards, because I can’t remember a more disappointing Suns video game roster since Charles Barkley and the Suns Gorilla missed the cut for the last NBA Jam. Maybe one day we’ll get from Doom and Gloom-shakalaka back to Boomshakalaka?
ESPO: Who wasn’t yelling? I was the entire time. Should I put this in all CAPS to make that clear?
And don’t even get me started on the last NBA Jam’s roster. That’s an exchange for another time.