These Are Not Your Father’s Phoenix Suns
For the past three decades, the Phoenix Suns were known as one of the preeminent running teams that were perennially amongst the league leaders in scoring, efficiency, pace of play and were almost always a playoff team. Things changed when Amare Stoudemire left for New York following the 2009-2010 season, and it was a gradual decline thereafter, until the Suns completely bottomed out with a 25-57 record in 2012-2013 – the worst in franchise history since their inaugural season in 1968-1969.
The Suns are just a bunch of mismatched parts that simply do not play well together. Indeed, as last season wore on, and the losing became more constant, guys appeared to be going for their own numbers and getting away from the team concept. Goran Dragic is a fine player, but he has to be surrounded by other talented players who have not only talent, but the basketball IQ and desire to be winners. Players such as Michael Beasley and Josh Childress unfortunately are not those types of players. Channing Frye is a complimentary piece, but he does nothing of value when he is not on a team with at least two superstars. The same can be said of Luis Scola, who is a meat and potatoes type power forward. Marcin Gortat is tough and gives great effort, but he cannot be the lone big man in the middle. Jermaine O’Neal is virtually shot as an NBA player.
PG Shannon Brown has acknowledged that he feels slighted by the Phoenix Suns regarding his role with the team. Given that Brown is coming up on the final year of his contract, this could prove to be a situation where the Suns try to move Brown – who is a relative bargain at $3.5 million – for another shooter or a big man. Jared Dudley is a shooter, but he is a lackluster defender. The Morris twins, Markieff and Marcus seemed to deal with separation anxiety after they left the University of Kansas and went to different teams. Rejoined in Phoenix, who knows what kind of productivity each will have. It could be nothing more than a public relations stunt to sell tickets, but if the Suns expect to be taken seriously, they are going to have to make personnel moves that count. Nabbing former Suns player Jeff Hornacek may be a public relations move that also may prove to be a solid (and cheap) call. After blowing through Mike D’Antoni, Alvin Gentry and inexperienced Lindsey Hunter in the past four seasons, the Suns need stability in the lead seat on their bench, and then implement a philosophy that exploits the strengths of the players on the roster. If they can develop Kendall Marshall and get something at all from one of the Morris twins, coupled with the efforts of Gortat, Scola and Dragic, then they could improve a bit over the 25-win threshold. Regardless of what the Suns do with the 5th pick (Victor Oladipo?) they are not going to be a serious playoff contender for some time.
” It Is Only A Game, Until You Bet It “