Nash appears to be the only certainty on this team. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
In a league where identity is everything, the Suns appear in danger of having nothing.
Nash is still there, but his value goes hand-in-hand with that of his teammates. He still garners double-digit assists, but more and more he is required to spoon-feed his increasingly less talented teammates to do it. Without his direct involvement Tuesday night, the Suns simply looked lost when it came to offensive output.
There was, and still is, hope that Marcin Gortat will step up as a borderline All-Star after putting up impressive numbers as a starter late last season. Instead, Tuesday night threw in yet another wrinkle. Robin Lopez clearly outplayed Gortat, going for 21 points and playing all of crunch time. You could almost feel Gortat seething over the unlikeliness of it all: named a starter for the first time in his career only to suffer a random broken thumb and seeing Lopez make the unlikeliest of comebacks.
Throw in Markieff Morris also supplanting his starting counterpart, and suddenly it’s unclear if any solution will be more than an in-game occurence.
Another, more depressing dilemma was the off-guard spot. Fans were geeked over the idea of an unleashed Jared Dudley and a hungry Shannon Brown freed from the triangle. Instead, the two struggled from the outside (Brown struggled in general). Meanwhile Grant Hill finally looked his age, though that could have been due to injury. Childress stepped in but didn’t step up, reminding everyone he’s the last guy you want to spread the floor.
And after all the preseason buzz about how Gentry “couldn’t keep Warrick off the floor,” he did just that Tuesday night for reasons that remain unclear.
You can say, “It’s just one game.” It’s telling, though, that just one game has led to even more questions than before the start of the season.