Suns look to return to normalcy under Porter Print
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Monday, 29 September 2008 14:34
NBA Headline News

 PHOENIX (AP) -The Phoenix Suns won't only be adjusting to a new coach this training camp. They will also be reacquainting themselves with basketball the way most of the NBA plays it.
Mike D'Antoni and his shoot-run-and-shoot-some-more style have gone to New York. New coach Terry Porter promises a game that features set plays, defense and a deep rotation.
``This is all new for everybody,'' Shaquille O'Neal said at the team's media day on Monday. ``Everybody's going to be open arms, open ears, and we``ll just see where it takes us.''
The Suns, who begin twice-a-day workouts Tuesday at the University of Arizona in Tucson, are no longer the NBA's darlings.
``I know we're probably not generating as much excitement that a lot of people felt about us in the past,'' two-time MVP Steve Nash said. ``But we're quietly excited and optimistic.''
es but overall favors a more disciplined style.
``Shots won't go up as quickly as they did with Mike,'' Porter said. ``I'm not a big believer of jacking the ball up as quickly as possible.''
Playing defense, Porter said, ``is the most important thing you have to do in this league.''
``You might not have to be the best, but I think you've got to be top five'' to win a championship, Porter said. ``That's something I think at times this team has not done. ... That's going to have to change for us in order to be successful.''
Porter singled out Amare Stoudemire as a player with all the skills to be a great defender.
``I think that's an area where he knows he has to get some growth going forward,'' Porter said, ``and as far as this franchise going forward, our success is going to rely on that.''
O'Neal agreed, resurrecting the trusty cliche that ``Defense wins championships.'' He should know, since he's won four NBA titles.
Stoudemire will be off to a slow start in Tucson. A mild ankle sprain will limit his participation to the morning walkthrough sessions. He is expected to sit out the evening workouts, which will feature scrimmages and contact drills.
``The evening's more physical play. It's more up-and-down and I will probably take it easy for that second session for a while,'' Stoudemire said.
No one will experience a bigger adjustment than Nash, the point guard who thrived in the wide-open game under D'Antoni and, before that, Don Nelson in Dallas.
``I've never played for him so I can't really tell you what it's going to be like,'' Nash said. ``But I think he's bright, extremely talented as a coach. I'm eager to hear what his thoughts are, what his beliefs are, and try to do the best I can to provide that for him.''
Nash welcomes the departure of the huge expectations that had surrounded the team in recent seasons.
``I think we should still think of ourselves as the favorites privately,'' he said, ``but to not have to deal with that every day from now until the playoffs is probably not a bad thing. It's nice for us maybe to go out and prove to people, to get our name back in the picture. To have some chips on our collective shoulders, if you will.''
He fully understands why his team is perceived as the setting Suns.
``Everyone thinks Shaquille is an old man, that I'm an old man, that Grant (Hill) is old, we're all getting old,'' Nash said. ``There are so many talented young players coming into the league they think that we can't keep doing it forever and ever. That's OK. I feel great, and I still feel great about my teammates.''
 

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