Phoenix Suns recent moves drawing attention from those who question their motives

Don't mess with us. - Jim Coughenour

Nearing the end of a lost season, the Suns have caught the attention of some people who believe they are taking blatant actions that conflict with the competitive nature of the sport. After resting team leader Goran Dragic for two games against the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings, the possible motives behind that decision have been castigated. It's the "T" word... tanking.

Although this topic has been discussed ad nauseum on this site, the recent actions by the Suns have added a new wrinkle to what has been a contentious, divisive topic.

I've already addressed this issue at multiple points as the season has muddled along towards its inexorable end.

But 'tis there hope for these vapid Suns? For in the lottery what dreams may come, But losing has given the front office pause: To abrogate the calamity of conbuilding...

- Phoenix Suns Hamlet style: to tank or not to tank: that is the question, Jim Coughenour, Brightside of the Sun

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I want the Suns to lose. I want my team to lose. Every win is like a nail in the coffin of our draft lottery positioning. I'm not cheering against my team, I'm cheering for them. I'm cheering for them to take a step back to take two forward. I'm cheering for something better than the development of middling young players as the consequence of a lost season.

- Message to the Phoenix Suns: Sometimes when you win you really lose..., Jim Coughenour, Brightside of the Sun

In my self-absorbed, delusional world I'd like to take the credit for providing the Suns with the impetus to adopt their new pansophic philosophy towards future building.

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But the Suns new strategy has been noticed by a host of notable writers, pundits and professionals that trump my insignificant leanings.

Eventually, cluelessly oblivious teams like the Suns are going to ruin it for all the teams (like the current Magic and Cavaliers) who are actually a bit suave about their tanking. So yes: Phoenix can't even lose properly. Well done, y'all!

- The Suns are unabashedly tanking, Tom Ziller, SBNation

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The move to hold Goran Dragic out of Wednesday night's loss at Utah and Thursday night's home game against Sacramento for rest was the first indication that the Suns might be tanking because of the timing. As the Suns held out their top player without injury, Utah remains one game behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers, who must turn over a draft lottery pick to the Suns if they miss the playoffs. Phoenix gets Miami's pick at No. 30 if the Lakers do make the playoffs.

- Phoenix Suns coach Lindsey Hunter opts to give Goran Dragic break, Paul Coro, Arizona Republic

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We then turn our attention to the Phoenix Suns, who are "resting" their best player for a couple of games, and getting blown out by their opponents while doing so. We discuss the tanking option in the NBA, and while we don't necessarily have a problem with it in Phoenix, the lack of a long-term plan in place does seem to be troubling for the franchise.

- Pro Basketball Talk Podcast, Brett Pollakoff, NBC Sports

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Since these luminaries chimed in on the topic, what would the article be without me reiterating my viewpoint on the subject (since I've been fairly vague and nebulous with my opinion).

The Suns have employed the correct strategy to put the franchise in the best possible position moving forward. Sometimes you have to lose a few battles to win the war. The coaching change, roster attrition, youth movement and (finally) resting the team's best players have all culminated in an approach with a vested interest in the future. I don't see the situation as a contretemps or egregious violation of basketball purity, either. It's having broad perspective. It's sacrificing short term for long term gain... just like playoff teams do when they rest their stars to prepare for the playoffs.

#No more Pyrrhic victories

Finally, I got some of the other, more respected and reputable, writers on the site to weigh in on the controversial issue. And by some I mean Dave. Please note that all writers were asked to participate, so those who didn't are either apathetic or frightened to comment. Or maybe they just didn't get the email yet.

The Suns are doing the best thing they can do at this time, in these circumstances. While the players at the top of the draft are not franchise-changers, they are better than anything on the Suns current roster so that's worth fighting for. The worst record has rarely won the #1 pick, but the Suns need to increase their odds any way they can to get the right to choose their next guy.

- Dave King, Brightside of the Sun

*I want to thank Seth Pollack for giving me the inspiration for this article. I'm basically a parasite that feeds off of his brilliance.

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