Mike Prada of SB Nation recently published his 2011 NBA general manager rankings. Unsurprisingly, David Khan of the Minnesota Timberwolves was ranked 30th, while the Miami Heat's Pat Riley tops the list at number 1.
Phoenix fans will not be shocked to see that Prada's review of Suns' GM (or rather decision-maker) Lon Babby was less than glowing as he ended up number 27 on the list.
Prada points out Phoenix center Marcin Gortat and his "very affordable contract as a feather in Babby's cap, while calling the summer signings "disastrous." The Hedo Turkoglu experiment was a complete failure, and while Babby did a great job turning him into Gortat, Prada is correct in saying Vince Carter was a high price to pay to correct a mistake. Josh Childress has done nothing for Phoenix despite being one of the highest paid players on the team, although many fans still believe he can be a valuable piece for the team.
His comments about Channing Frye, however, are a bit puzzling. Said Prada:
Channing Frye was a somewhat needless re-signing for a team that should have banked his money elsewhere.
That comment appears to be based on the stereotypes that Frye has not been able shake off despite a solid season. Anyone that watched the Suns last year realize how vital Frye was to the team's success. He is no longer the soft, jump-shooting big man many still see him as and he definitely earned his money last year.
There was also no mention of the Jared Dudley extension. Dudley is an integral part of the team and fan favorite, and Babby managed to lock him up on an affordable contract.
Prada does deserve credit for not crucifying Babby for refusing to trade Steve Nash, unlike many other media members.
So what say you Bright Siders? Is Babby too high? Too low? Just right? Feel free to read the rest of the story here and share your thoughts on the other GMs' rankings as well.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 08/07/11 10:03 AM MST ]
As Alex pointed out in the comments, Prada's review is technically incorrect in a few areas. Babby is not the GM and Babby did not officially join the club until after most of the moves listed in the summer of 2010 were made. Of course, Prada is writing for a national audience where such finer points take a back seat to quickly evaluating the team's decisions and results. Babby is the face of the organization and the top basketball executive so he's going to take the hits (and hopefully the credit) for the Suns' results.
I also completely disagree with Prada's assessment of Frye. Channing has become a capable defender and rebounder, especially when he can play the four, and he's an absolutely vital cog in the offense. As long as Steve Nash has primary responsibility for creating points in the paint, Frye is a key guy in the system. He's also a quality guy (like Dudley) who can be trusted to take his big contract and keep working to improve his game.