BSOTS Roundtable: Are the Phoenix Suns really that unwatchable? Really?

Ronald Martinez

Are you not entertained?

For the National pundits I more or less get that they have forgotten about the Suns. With them it is "out of sight, out of mind" and by "out of sight" that means out of the playoff hunt. That is a hunt the team has not been invited on for a few years now, but to be called the least watchable team in the NBA is a bit extreme.

That is like throwing the clothes and TV out the window of the second story before giving them a chance to tell their side of the story. Extreme break-up move there National Media.

Have we forgotten about the ghost of Boston Celtics past with that abysmal roster that, do not omit the fact that they are minus Rajon Rondo for a while, as one of the most unwatchable teams? How about the Philadelphia 76ers and that JV team they are trying to put together on the fly?

Not trying to be a Suns apologist here, they are going to bad, and tough to watch on a lot of occasions, but they are not unwatchable. That comes down to style, preference, and other intangibles.

Let's put this issue to rest, Bright Side Staff... CONVERGE!

Fifteenth Topic: The watch-ability of the 2013-2014 Phoenix Suns

1. Breaking the Ice: Are the Phoenix Suns the most unwatchable team in the NBA this year?

Jacob Padilla: Philadelphia is probably in the driver's seat here as the 76ers have a chance to be spectacularly disastrous this year. They traded away their most talented and most exciting player in Jrue Holiday for a player who is going to miss some time, their other lottery pick is an incredibly raw player who is going to be starting at point guard. Evan Turner is still on the roster and will probably have the ball a lot. Kwame Brown and Spencer Hawes are their big men. That team is going to be both bad and ugly. With that being said, the Suns deserve to be near the top of watchability reverse power rankings. No true star, turnover-prone players and a lack of shooting does not an entertaining style of basketball make. However, there will be more highlights than last year at least.

Dave King: Hardly. With the promise of a faster pace based on drives to the hoop and kick outs to Frye and the Morrii, the season will at least be entertaining. Sure, the Suns will miss a great many of those open jumpers but there will be a lot of breakaways and steals and blocks to initiate excitement. Unwatchable was last year - predictably bad, lacking spirit. Did you SEE that Top Ten Plays of 2012-13? I mean, that was boring.

Kris Habbas: There is a significant difference in being an "unwatchable" team and being a bad team. This season the Suns will be a bad team and, at times, unwatchable, but take a quick peek at the roster in Philadelphia. How about Toronto? Again, there is a difference in being a bad team and being unwatchable. They are in the bottom five in all likelihood. That would be a fairer distinction.

Richard Parker: Absolutely not. Obviously, this is probably a biased platform to be asking that question on but I just don't see how this team is less "watchable" than the 76ers, who will pretty much be fielding a D-League team, or several other teams. Jeff Hornacek's offense has great promise and with speed demons like Dragic and Bledsoe leading the way, I think this team will be far from unwatchable (and be much more entertaining than last year's team).

Sean Sullivan: I don't think so. Last year was borderline unwatchable, but this year there is hope; and a reason to watch in order to see the development of the young players and possible future of this franchise.

2. So if they are not exciting and unwatchable then by process of elimination, they are boring, right?

JP: Well, I did say they were going to be pretty unwatchable above. But they're not going to be boring for the most part (although I'm sure the offense will get bogged down more often than we'd like). Athletic players in an up-tempo system should produce a fair number of highlights on a pretty regular basis. However, on this team there will also likely be plenty of Shaqtin' A Fool style highlights as well. Either way, you shouldn't be falling asleep during these games.

DK: Not boring. With an average age of about 23, the team will look helter skelter a lot, but at least should be moving at all times. If you're only looking at a box score the next morning, then yes the team may appear boring to you. But i you're a game-watcher, then there will be some highlight reel plays each night that make you smile.

KH: This group feels like a really athletic college team that has potential to do some things, but they are fundamentally flawed in areas that will hold them back. There is no questioning the teams athleticism and young energy, but they are very young, leaderless, and have a shooting handicap that will be easy to exploit.

RP: I don't think they're boring. Sure, they will be bad, but the roster boasts some quality athleticism in guys like Bledsoe, Dragic, and Green and the fast-paced offense will cater to their strengths. The lack of star talent and fundamentals will obviously hold the team back, but that doesn't mean they'll be boring.

SS: To the casual fan, maybe. The Suns don't have any superstars, and they won't get hardly any national exposure. However, to Suns fans, I don't think this season will be boring at all. We have a new coach and a new system along with new players that should make for a relatively entertaining if not exciting season.

3. One of the key off-season acquisitions for the team was Eric Bledsoe and he is about as exciting as they come. Are you not entertained?

DK: Bledsoe will help ramp up the craziness. His personal Top Ten plays from last season topped most of the Suns' plays, but none of them were on a designed play. They were are broken plays, open-court wildness that Suns fans can only hope repeats itself in Phoenix.

KH: Bledsoe is a one man demolition derby! He blocks shots, steals the ball right out of the hands of the best, dunks on your dreams, and comes off your screen like a 3D movie... Of course you have to be entertained! In all seriousness the addition of Bledsoe alone makes the Suns are much more watchable and exciting team than the likes of the 76ers and potentially other teams. He is a play-maker in so many ways. He comes in with the tale of Paul Bunyan's Shadow and may not be able to meet those expectations, but he is a very exciting player on both ends of the floor.

RP: Bledsoe is a very exciting player. He's a dynamic swiss army knife-type player who contributes in pretty much every statistical category and regularly makes highlight plays with his athleticism, both on offense and defense. He has several deficiencies he needs to work on to be a premier guard but his athleticism and raw talent is unquestionably entertaining.

SS: Eric Bledsoe is certainly one reason to watch....like I said, at least for Suns fans. I don't think even Bledsoe is enough to garner much national appeal though. The Suns would have to become relevant again in order to do that, and I think they are at least a couple of seasons away from that at the moment.

JP: I've already written extensively on what Bledsoe brings to the court offensively. Short answer: yes.

4. The style of play normally generates excitement. The Warriors of the early to mid-2000's didn't win many games, but were fun as hell to watch. Will this team have a style that makes them watchable despite the win/loss record?

KH: The Suns want to run. I am still in the minority that they do not have the shooters and scorers to get to that 103+ points per game mark this season, but they will try. The style is absolutely indicative of the watchability. For years the San Antonio Spurs were called boring, then Coach Popovich unleashed Tony Parker and they were the funnest team in the NBA to watch last year. Style induces ratings and appeal.

RP: I think so. With a coach that wants to run and gun, the team will at least be exciting on offense. They lack shooters to really make the offense potent and their defense will definitely struggle, but for a team that will be in the running to be one of the worst in the league this year, they could be much, much less watchable (see 2012-13 Phoenix Suns).

SS: I think the most likely draw this season will be watching the return of the run-and-gun style of play. The Suns are built for speed and athleticism, and I believe Hornacek plans on using those attributes to the Suns' advantage. I don't think the Suns will generate anywhere near the same excitement as the Warriors in the mid 2000's though when they knocked off the Mavs in the first round of the playoffs, but I do think Suns fans will still enjoy watching them this season.

JP: Yes and no. Up-tempo basketball is certainly more fun to watch than the alternative, so in that sense it should be better than last year. However, I see the game a bit differently than many casual fans. I'm a fan of good basketball more so than any particular style. I enjoy seeing execution. A perfect pocket pass or a great defensive rotation is as entertaining as a high-flying dunk for me at times. I'm not sure how much good basketball we'll get this year, but the up-tempo offense should hopefully mask that at least a little bit.

DK: The key is making enough shots to keep teams honest. Having a Channing Frye and the Morrii making enough shots to keep the defense hesitating on drives can only help Bledsoe, Dragic and Goodwin. Gortat will be throwing a pick a possession to free up the guards, while Plumlee and Kravtsov warm up their pick techniques as well.

5. Separating emotion from it; how do you even determine whether a team is watchable or unwatchable? In your opinion what is the most unwatchable team in the NBA?

RP: Effort and excitement are big. A bad team has to give 100% effort to make every game as competitive as possible. Furthermore, a team has to generate some level of excitement in fans - it can be in the form of young, talented players (Bledsoe), style of play (fast-paced), etc. I think the 76ers will easily be the most unwatchable team in the NBA this year. Last year, the Suns were probably up there but I'd put the Charlotte Bobcats ahead (or behind?) of them.

SS: Let's face it... most fans want to watch championship contenders and All-Stars... neither of which currently fits the Suns right now. I have a different perspective than the casual fan though, as I would assume is the same with most of the readers here as well. So for the BSOTS community, I think this season will be much, much better than the last. But as for the mainstream sports networks, fans, and media, the Suns probably won't get much love at all.

JP: I already touched on it above, an Kris does a good job of explaining my perspective below. I like to watch good basketball, plain and simple, and the essence of good basketball is execution. If you play the game the right way, the highlight plays will follow.

DK: What makes a team watchable is sprinkling in just enough exciting plays to keep the fans wondering when its coming next. Bledsoe and Dragic need to be near the top of the league in steals as a pair if the Suns hope to keep fans engaged. Fans love the unexpected, but they also love to anticipate it an exciting play unfolding. Fast breaks are great. Threes are great. Dunks are great. The Suns can at least offer one of those.

KH: Effort, style of play, and execution. Three simple factors. If a team is sloppy, all over the place, score 110 points, but lose by 20 are they really exciting? Not to me. The Suns can average 95 points per game again and be an exciting team if they execute and have an engaging style of play.

BONUS: The bulk of the off season was re-imaging the front office, cleaning house, and getting the right people in place to lead the team. That is exciting to some, but is that maybe why this "unwatchable" banter is circling the internet? Or is it because #EarlySeptemberSoBasicallyStillAugust

SS: I think people are basing that on last season, and what a mess the Suns had to deal with. Like any other sport, you're only as good as your last game, and the Suns won't change any opinions until the get out on the court and give people a reason to pay attention again.

JP: The "unwatchable" banter stems from a terrible 2013-14 season, a roster that returns a decent amount of the players that caused the terrible season and even now what appear to be an unbalanced roster that might not fit together. The behind-the-scenes changes are great, but just because the Suns are on the right track doesn't mean that will pay immediate dividends in terms of on-court success and watchability.

DK: Yes, people inside and outside Phoenix are more interested in the turnover and the 2015 season than next month. But I do think the Suns have a chance to surprise people with their competitiveness, even if most games end in a loss due to missed jumpers. That should be the Suns' mantra: Make 'em work for it!

KH: Probably. To someone like me seeing the right front office guys get the jobs, new coaching staffs getting put together, and the process of the off-season and NBA Draft are what excite me the most. Then again I owned the first copy of Head Coach (with Bill Cowher on the cover) and spend hours (or days) putting teams together and minutes on the actual games. I was that kid.

RP: The necessary success of the Suns' offseason definitely has me excited. It's exactly with the last few months in mind that I think the Suns will prove to be at least entertaining in their journey to another top-5 pick this year. In the end though, I think way too much is being made of this one article that said Phoenix would be the most unwatchable team in the league. Everyone has an opinion and in August/September (for NBA purposes), they typically don't matter.

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