There was a time not too long ago (at least it doesn't feel like it was that long ago) when the Phoenix Suns were must-watch TV. They were given the best slots on the national networks and they held the position as the darlings of the NBA. EVERYONE tuned in to see the Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion show.
Good times. Good times indeed.
Now after a couple of years in the lottery and the departure of the three above mentioned stars, the Suns are "rebuilding"....or "retooling"...or "reloading". Whatever they are redoing, it doesn't promise to be that attractive to NBA fans outside the increasingly declining base of dedicated denizens of Planet ORNG. (Are we still saying that?)
Sometimes, outside national writers are stuffed full of Joe Biden's malarky. Sometimes, they are just telling us what we don't want to hear.
Check out what my colleague and office mate Mike Prada had to say about the Suns in his annual NBA Watchability Index -- which, by the way, is highly readable.
22. PHOENIX SUNS
Dominance: 3. The Suns won't be completely hopeless next year, but I would be shocked if they made the playoffs.
WOW factor: 4. Goran Dragic is good for a handful of highlights a year.
Drama: 4. It'll be interesting to see how Dragic and company handle close games. The Suns' home atmosphere has traditionally been pretty good, but it'll be tested this year.
Aesthetic Beauty: 7. The Suns won't have Steve Nash, but as long as they have Alvin Gentry, they will still play an open style that emphasizes quick passing and few isolations. Things will flow pretty seamlessly, mostly because Gentry insists that his players take open shots when they are there.
Intrigue: 4. The novelty of watching a Suns team without Steve Nash will wear off after a while, but at least, initially, it'll be there.
Hilarity scale: +1. Add one point for all of Luis Scola's up fakes. Add one point for Michael Beasley. Subtract one point for Michael Beasley.
TOTAL: 23. The Suns should be an interesting bad team, but the absence of marquee players makes them a tough sell for the casual fan.