Last season in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers were the cream of the crop in the Western Conference and looked like they would be the two best teams in the conference for the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, the Los Angeles Lakers went on to win an NBA title and managed to keep their championship team relatively intact heading into this season with only the addition of Ron Artest. There is no doubt that adding Artest into the mix in Los Angeles only made the defending champions better, but there were still plenty of teams around the league and in the West that were serious threats as title contenders.
Despite also having their team relatively intact this season, the Denver Nuggets played well throughout the regular season, but then completely fell apart in the first round of the playoffs against the Utah Jazz and were knocked out early once again.
The one team in the NBA playoffs this season that was thought to give the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers run for their money in the Western Conference was the Dallas Mavericks. Heading into the playoffs with the second overall seed in the West, the Mavs looked like a strong team that just made some considerable improvements with the additions of Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood through a trade with the Washington Wizards.
Even though the Los Angeles Lakers were struggling and the Dallas Mavericks were starting to come into their own coming into the first round playoffs, the Lakers advanced to the second round and the Dallas Mavericks were dominated by their division rival San Antonio Spurs.
Needless to say, not many people thought any other team in the West could contend with the Lakers from here on out, but the Phoenix Suns knew they had the ability to hang with the defending champs heading into the Western Conference Finals.
In the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, Kobe Bryant and company absolutely dominated Phoenix Suns and made it look like the series was going to be just another sweep. Even though it was the consensus around the league that the Lakers would cruise to a third straight NBA Finals appearance, the Suns stepped up their play when they headed to Phoenix.
One of the main reasons for their newfound success against the defending champs was the resurgence of point guard Steve Nash who was able to inspire his team and lead them to victory in two straight games. Not only did Nash lead them to victory in those games, but he also convinced many people that the Phoenix Suns could beat the Lakers and advance to the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant proved to be too much in the last two games and the Suns fell in game six on their home floor could only watch as the Los Angeles Lakers hoisted yet another Western Conference trophy.
Now the Phoenix Suns will head into the offseason with many questions on what players will be on the roster come next season.
Obviously, the one player that everyone has their eyes on in Phoenix is All-Star Amare Stoudemire as he will become a free agent this summer and has given no indication of his what he plans to do. Not only could Amare be headed elsewhere, but Steve Nash might be considering retirement sooner rather than later.
After extremely impressive performances during the playoffs, Steve Nash still has what it takes to be one of the best point guards in this league, but if the Suns lose Stoudemire and fail to sign another big name free agent to take his place, Nash might decide to call it quits.