ESPN future rankings don't shine bright on Suns

USA TODAY Sports

Media outlets create lists like these (in part) so people like us will respond to them. We'll show them!

Seriously, I hate lists like this but here we go.

ESPN's latest edition of it's Future Rankings has the Phoenix Suns in 29th position ahead of only the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets. In fact, in his "analysis" ESPN Draft "Expert" Chad Ford says the only thing keeping the Suns from the last and worst position is the "complete and utter disaster known as the Charlotte Bobcats."

Ford also doesn't fail to mention the Suns selling draft picks which last happened about half-a-decade ago under a completely different front office. There's nothing like using ancient and irrelevant history to determine one's future.

Whatever.

It's just another stupid list.

This stupid list is supposed to give insight into how a franchise will fare over the next three seasons based on these categories: Players, Management, Market, Draft, Money.

The Suns, understandably, ranked dead last in the "Players" category. I dare you to find a current NBA roster with less talent. So yeah, the current roster is bad with no All-Star vets and no young players that you could even project as starters.

On the plus sides, the Suns ranked 11th in "Market" and third in "Draft" thanks to their six first-round picks over the next three years.

That all makes sense. There's a lot of draft picks and Phoenix is an above average market but not California, New York or Income Tax-Free Texas. (Although I'd still rather live in Phoenix than Houston or Dallas despite the taxes.)

Where things get more puzzling is the last two categories.

The Suns were ranked 29th in "Management" despite the moves they made this offseason. I suppose you could justify this, since Ryan McDonough is unproven and Lon Babby hasn't exactly impressed the national media Chad Ford. But would you really rate the Suns management behind the mess in Detroit or the complete unknown in Sacramento?

But the worst ranking is "Money" where the Suns come in 25th despite being about $10m under the salary cap this summer and having only about $22m in guaranteed contracts for 2014. More importantly, the ONLY bad contract the Suns have on the books is the ~$9m owed to Michael Beasley. The Suns should have no problem moving guys like Dudley, Frye or Gortat should they have a reason to.

Compare that to the Toronto Raptors (ranked 22nd) who owe about $60m to Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay over the next two seasons. Who's balance sheet would you rather have?

Anyway, we can't let "facts" get in the way with our lists or people like us would just ignore them.

NBA Future Power Rankings: 26-30 - ESPN
The only thing that saves the Suns from dead last in our rankings is the complete and utter disaster known as the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats have been last in every Future Power Rankings we've ever done and don't seem much closer to losing their grip on the bottom spot. But, oh, how the Suns have tried. With bad draft choices, selling draft picks, horrible free-agent decisions and misguided trades, the team has fallen apart over the past few years. The good news? They've probably already hit rock bottom, and with a few rays of hope. The Suns have the No. 5 and No. 30 picks in this year's draft and have a total of six first-round picks in the next three years. They also got a small bump in Management thanks to the hiring of former Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough. But other than that? Not much. With no cornerstones for the Suns to build around, it's going to be grim for a while. The loaded 2014 draft might be their best way out of the mire.

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