Short Suns face tall order to contend again

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PHOENIX (AP) -- How many small forwards does it take to replace a five-time All-Star power forward?

That's the equation the Phoenix Suns are relying on following the departure of Amare Stoudemire, and Steve Nash acknowledged that it's a tall order to expect this undersized team to repeat as a contender in the West.

Nash says the team has a lot to overcome but that the Suns will try to do it with their chemistry, togetherness and hunger.

That worked last season, when the Suns undoubtedly were better than the sum of their parts. A team expected to be fortunate to make the playoffs wound up winning 54 regular-season games and sweeping longtime nemesis San Antonio in the playoffs before losing in six games to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.