The FO f*cked up by not taking heed to the medical information provided by the Suns staff regarding Amare.
Then they f*cked up by not amnestying Amare in favor of Billups which was done to make room for Chandler. In all fairness and retrospect the FO couldn't have known with 100% certainty what was to come, although the medical reports were there. And the fact that the Suns refused to offer a max deal to Amare along with us having to take on an uninsurable contract were both warning signs.
An additional f*ck up was the plan and vision of us signing old players to extended (beyond a year) deals thinking they would provide veteran savvy. Again the FO was cash strapped with limited options, and the thought that the vets could provide some intangibles is not far fetched. Problem here is that we relied on them too much and they all broke down humpty dumpty style.
Coach f*cked up by using D'Antoni's style that does not work; this lead to the same outcome that plagues D'Antoni, that being mis-evaluation and false-positives. In fairness coach's initial plan as he said was to, "design a system that uses our two offensive stars" STAT & Melo. His decision to shift Melo to the 4 came about due to injury. The problem here is that this hurt us more than helped.
The philosophy was this: Create a mismatch with Melo both in speed and shot selection because opposing Power Forwards were too slow to guard him on the perimeter thus he blew past them to the cup -or- he could pull up for the jumper therefore pulling the Power Forward away from the hoop to guard him. This would open up the interior for other players. This is exactly what D'Antoni thinks. But coached f*cked up.
First there was no need to create a mismatch because at the Small Forward, Melo already has a mismatch with 90% of the league. This mismatch with Melo at his natural position offers one thing the other doesn't which is the ability to score from the post (instead of blowing by an opponent). And scoring from the post is paramount when the teams you face at a minimum of 4 games are amongst the top 50% in the league and even more familiar with you in the first 3 rounds, provided you win.
Second, when you think about what a coach could do to stop Melo, it usually involves either a double-team which is what any team could/would do versus an offensive threat, and in Melos' case throw size his way which is to slow him down and wear him out. When coach decided to stick with Melo at the 4 he did the opposing team a favor by allowing their bigger PF to match-up with Melo nullifying his normal size advantage in favor of offense. This also is counter-intuitive because it creates another mismatch where coach would play a smaller shooting guard on the opposing small forward, further reducing our rebounding capabilities. Size matters, ask your girl.
Melo should not be the primary rebounder as this is the primary job of the two bigs. When you play Melo at the 4, and spread your offense around the perimeter you reduce your rebounding power thus reducing the put back capabilities as part of the offense, known as 2nd chance shots. Coach's (and D'Antoni's) offense and approach became limited moreso during the playoffs because of better defenses, familiarity, and pressure, thus reducing the effectiveness of this decision. And this provided further discrepancies in two already weak areas: Rebounding (defense) and Low-post offense.
Coach f*cked up by not realizing this weaknesses in rebounding and low-post offense due to the D'Antoni effect. This is a classic D'Antoni mistake. The low post designed game is nonexistent in favor of two other priorities: ball-movement and the pick & roll. If a player tries to establish his position and shot on the low block, he's detracting from ball movement. The mistake here according to the SSOL philosophy is that "ball movement will find the open man and get a good shot". This equates to the "open" shot being preferred over the high percentage shot. In fact in this model the open shot is the high percentage shot. But that's where you f*cked up. Know the difference.
The other classic D'Antoni- (and any coach who chooses to see the fundamental aspect of basketball through this distorted lens) mistake, is the lack of good positioning for boxing-out and rebounding resulting from the lack of low post appreciation. In the D'Antoni model the P&R needs not be rebounded and the lower percentage 3's (that we took at record rates) compensate for neglecting to take higher percentage 2's, because of the extra point. Note that the triangle offense is built to feature two low post players on the block. But with D'Antoni and Woodson their approach neglects to factor in a) positioning for rebounding b) put backs c) drawing fouls d) moral and e) when the shots don't drop at a specific rate. Obviously if any team makes any shot then anything works. But for the playoffs the mitigating factors and dynamics change that reduce the likelihood of the same regular season %'s being directly carried over.
Unfortunately (for us) the evidence of why the fundamental approach of strength in rebounding and low-block play are on full display every April thru June. Everyone forgets this process and result though for some reason, which I believe is the "chicks dig the long-ball" regular season fascination that lacks pressure in decisions and losing that the playoffs offer. This makes good teams practice this seemingly boring sure brand of baskeball all season in preparation for the playoffs. Yes stars usually prevail, and yes most good teams have them. But the not so obvious is the gameplan approach and philosophy.
Finally there is the defense; coach f*cked up by compromising his priorities in defense and selling us some bullsh*t. He began by starting Ronnie Brewer due to injury. Coach's plan was to play a combination of Brewer and JR to provide balance at the 2 guard position. Brewer was not an offensive player and was not expected to be and JR was expected to be a 6th man. Coach then green lighted the Brewer trade for peanuts after Brewer got cold because he was becoming enamored with the team chucking (and making) three's as well as Melo's supposed mismatch at PF. Then there was the emergence of Rasheed Wallace.
Coach f*cked up by first not playing Wallace which was a move he was spurred on by the fans who began chanting Wallace's name during a game. This is exactly what happened with D'Antoni with Jeremy Lin. But, just as I mentioned above by seeing things through the incorrect lens; coach saw the potential in Wallace not because of his low post presence and defense but because of his three point prowess. The evidence is the whimsical nature in which Wallace and the team chucked away.
And finally just like D'Antoni coach fell victim to the three point happy, live and die by the three approach. He f*cked up by believing this was the best way to win and didn't even see the obvious flaws that this approach has after considering the entire picture. No rebounding, no low-post offense, no valid defense equals no chip no way no how.
Before I end, please also consider the constant switching on defense; this too is a D'Antoni trade-mark. If you start with man 2 man (before adding the wrinkles) and you purposely and constantly play a player out-of-position, you f*cked up. And I didn't see anything that resembled a good zone defense with consistency.
So now we have a mistake in Chandler who can't be relied upon on the block or to rebound and put the rock up because he's poor fundamentally on offense and he has baby sized butter-finger hands. A star being played out of position. Another trying to recover. And a coach who doesn't know what to do. He was still shuffling his line-up in game 90.