Suns' youth ready to be served

As Amare Stoudemire gets better, so do the Suns. But they can't afford a slump by Stephon Marbury.

Updated: October 14, 2003, 10:52 AM ET
By Chad Ford |
Editor's note: Here's a glimpse of the good -- and the bad -- that could happen to the 2003-04 Phoenix Suns.

Amare Stoudemire
Amare Stoudemire has added a jump shot to his arsenal.
Best Case Scenario
Three things need to happen for the Suns to win 50 games and lock up a possible sixth seed in the West.

1. Amare Stoudemire takes the next step. Last season, Stoudemire shocked everyone in becoming the first high school player ever to win the Rookie of the Year award. This year, he'll catch no one by surprise. Stoudemire is going to see a steady stream of double-teams when he catches the ball on the block. How will he respond? So far, he's been the best player on the Suns through the first three preseason games. He's improved his perimeter shooting and is making smart decisions down low. If that continues into the regular season, Stoudemire will start being mentioned in the same breath as the rest of the great power forwards in the West.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer