Steve Nash remains one of the league's premier point guards possessed of unsurpassed instincts, creativity, clutch ability and unselfishness. However, because the Suns will necessarily have to play more station-to-station offense when Shaq is on the floor, Nash won't be able to avoid the physical confrontations that he did while orchestrating Mike D'Antoni's untrammeled uptempo game plan.
And how effective will Leandro Barbosa be in a more deliberate pace?
Grant Hill has slowed to a jog but still provides necessary leadership. That's why his physical well-being is a must.
Matt Barnes will make mistakes but will score points by the dozen.
Boris Diaw must regain the focus that made him so valuable in seasons past.
Raja Bell remains the team's best defender as well as a clutch long-range bomber.
There's plenty of talent here, but it will be no easy task for the running-and-gunning Suns to redefine themselves.
Their best hope: Under Shaq's influence, Stoudemire starts acting like an adult, Porter finds a way to meld a cohesive whole out of the non-complementary parts and the Suns mount a legitimate challenge to the Lakers.
Going down! Next stop is the basement level, featuring a guaranteed lottery pick, diminished attendance and an arrogant leader who dresses much better than he coaches.
Kevin Martin is the only star-quality player on the Kings. As such, look for his stats to skyrocket and his body to wear down.
Spencer Hawes and Brad Miller are both limited performers with minimal talent levels.
Mikki Moore is all finesse and too much mouth.
John Salmon's versatility would be more valuable on a better team.
Some day Francisco Garcia will realize his high-stepping potential.
Bobby Jackson is on his last legs, and even when he was young, he couldn't pass on the move.
Beno Udrih is nothing more than functional.
Which will be worse, the Kings' defense or their offense?
In any event, the rookies will get plenty of floor time.
Their best hope: Relocating to Seattle instead of Las Vegas.