The early Rise of the Phoenix Suns brings a lot of excitement to all who proudly wear Purple and Orange, (and
Grey) - It has also brought confusion, uncertainty, and an almost schizophrenic view of the future.
Once upon a time, in a not-so-distant past, Phoenix Sun juggernaut Amare Stoudemire signed a huge knee-buckling contract with the New York Knicks. Just like that, the S.S.O.L. dynasty, and / or any mutant clone of it turned to ruin and dark days appeared on the horizon. At the time, I wasn't active here on the bright side, but immediately I began calling for a complete overhaul of the franchise. A Nash-driven system simply didn't function without a Thor-like hammer to crush opponents at the rim. It also didn't function without the desirable space that player created for a surgeon to operate in.
Eventually, the Suns finally came around to my ideas and desires, (and mine alone), and began to take steps towards a rebuild. I obviously welcomed this with open arms, and I understood what it would take to execute such a task.
- A complete purge of good, veteran players.
- A change in philosophy - from the front office to the coaching staff.
- A feverish and hoarder-like stockpiling of youth and trade-able assets.
- The terrible, horrible, nightmarish seasons that would need to be endured in order to...
- Obtain a top 3, (maybe 5 this year?) game changer in the draft
All of the proper steps have been taken. I must add, that once the trigger was pulled on this new course of action, the execution and results have been pleasant, and staggeringly quick. GM Ryan Mcdonough expertly carried out year 1-2.5 of the rebuild plan in one summer. Kudos for the ground work that Blanks put in the season before. I won't be the guy to dis-credit the microscopic bits of good he did towards this mission. I do recognize them, but that's about all. Stay banished, bro.
Now, we have arrived at the start of the 13/14 NBA season. I, for one, was ready for a year of absolute failure sprinkled with a bit of Bledsoe awesome and Dragic napalm. I was all set to adopt Archie Goodwin and enjoy cut-away scenes of our
Warlocks medical staff slowly mending Alex Len's bones. I've already watched more programming dedicated to college basketball than I have in the last decade as I got myself familiar with one or two of these adolescent beasts the Suns would draft after this season was dead and buried. My NBA season was planned to a T. I had it all mapped out and locked in like an ultimate Bridezilla. Then, the season started.
DUAL LOYALTY. SUPPORT NOW VERSUS SUPPORTING THE PLAN
Begging, and finally getting this rebuild, you probably already know that I am a firm believer than the Suns MUST land a top-5 pick and future franchise player in order to vault themselves back into title contention. I also believe that this could be the year to do it, and with buckets and buckets of losses, the Suns would do just that once this season was concluded and ping pong balls sorted out. By having a top 5 pick of our own, plus the plethora of additional first round picks, the Suns would have all sorts of leverage in not just selecting one premier player, but also trading for a second one and / or having the pieces needed to trade for a veteran superstar. They could even lure one to the Valley outright! So much excitement! Never been so happy to Lo -
And then, The Suns go and start the season winning games, and losing games they could've easily won while looking great doing it.
Immediately, I am torn. At the point of writing off Markieff Morris, he goes beast mode to the tune of 22.8 PPG on 69% shooting with 8 rebounds and good, solid defense. He earned Player of the week honors! He pretty much carried the team on his back long enough for Bledsoe to go clutch mode in the fourth quarters.
I am so happy for him - yet, what does it really mean? Every win takes us further and further from the ultimate goal. The mind wanders. Is Keef a better big than the ones about to declare NBA eligibility? If we don't get one of these future rookies, do we then commit extra salary to the Morrii? Does this hot streak benefit us in anyway moving forward?
Eric [Wesley Snipes] "Blade" Bledsoe has been Mr. Clutch
except against the Nets tonight this season, willing the team to victories while dragon has been out because of Adidas ankle injuries and facial damage. He has been far more great than bad and he has had a positive effect on the team.
So what does that mean in the long term? If he carries the team to an 8th seed or a respectable 9-10th best in the west, then forces PHX to let him walk due to some team offering him a Herculean contract, did he use his breakout season at the expense of us landing a Wiggins or Randle or Parker or Exum? You'd almost have to keep him no matter the cost and if that's the case, can you still lure a premier stud to Phoenix to pair with him and have enough flexibility to build around him? It's all happening too fast!
NETS BEAT SUNS IN OT - IN HEARTBREAKING FASHION
Bledsoe was cold in the final period. Hornacek probably should've let Dragon control the game exclusively. I feel like if that were the case Phoenix wins this game. Channing Frye took an AWFUL AWFUL ANGLE 3 with enough time on the clock for ISO Joe to race the other way and win the game. Terrible game management. Hornacek took far too long to bring in reserves in the 3rd quarter while the Nets and Shaun
freaking Livingston axe-murdered Phoenix in that frame.
But... They lost this game, pulling the team closer to one of those projected studs coming out of college in a few months.
Still... I wanted them to win this game. I wanted them to find victory over The Walking Dead roster known as the Brooklyn Nets. Wanting that meant wanting to be further away from a top 5 draft pick, but a loss like this one is hard to stomach. Missing out on one of these future talents too much to endure. Where is the balance?
How can a fan base long for two things at once, especially when it's possible that the end result falls right in the middle? To be clear, if the middle is where this year's Suns team lands. The valley is most certainly doomed and a season set up for future glories would have imploded.
Still, I want the team to win, just not this year. They are now winning this year, however, and that is a problem - delightful as it has been.
Where do you stand? What side of the fence has your loyalty placed you on?