Where the Phoenix Suns are at seems so simple yet the overriding theme of the organization is currently confusion.
From a big picture stand point, the Suns overachieving during the 2013-14 season, and just missing out on the playoffs ended up being the worst possible scenario.
The achievement of not only being a surprise, but also one of the biggest surprises in NBA history has brought on frustration from all parties. The increased expectations caused discontent.
There's a level of frustration from the fans.
There's a level of frustration from the players.
There's a level of frustration from the coaching staff.
There's a level of frustration from the front office.
It's created a toxic atmosphere from all perspectives. Players are bitching about fans (and it's more than just Markieff Morris - I know and saw this first hand), fans are fed up with the players, head coach Jeff Hornacek is comparing his players to high school students and general manager Ryan McDonough and president of basketball operations Lon Babby are airing out the team's dirty laundry for everyone to see.
None of this should be happening - everyone is in the wrong.
Even though I didn't personally agree with everything the Suns did at the trading deadline - I was behind moving Goran Dragic and opposed trading Isaiah Thomas plus dealing the Lakers pick for Brandon Knight - the organization is still in a good place. They're flush with young talent on good contracts, stockpiled with future draft picks and have plenty of flexibility with regards to cap space going forward.
There's no reason for the negative vibe that exists.
The biggest difference from last year to this year is they no longer look to be in-sync from top to bottom. A lot has been made of the chemistry in terms of how the roster hasn't been the cohesive group they were. To me, it's bigger than that.
The best organizations are on the same page from ownership, to the front office, to the coaching staff and all the way down to the players. You know what you want to accomplish, there's a singular goal and you stick with it. Whether you agree or disagree with what the Philadelphia 76ers are doing, they're in unison going forward with a plan.
What is the Suns plan?
Are they trying to make the playoffs or are they building for the future?
One game the goal comes off as the playoffs, while during another the young kids get mixed in. A direction needs to be picked for this year and the foreseeable future, and then Sarver, Babby, McDonough and Hornacek must stick with it.
I'm not talking about some bullshit line of "we're doing what's in the best interest of the organization" either. A real decision has to be made about what they want to be.
They can't worry about trying to placate a fan base that is extremely hungry to get back to the playoffs, it's about doing whatever route they think is best (go back and look at the comments on my story from January 3rd about how the Suns should be looking to the future and not now if you don't think that's true).
How I would handle it?
The rest of this year would be about developing the youth of the roster. Unrestricted free agents to be, Marcus Thornton and Gerald Green, would no longer play and I would communicate with them exactly why I was doing it.
With the rotation the rest of the season I'd feature Alex Len, Markieff Morris, Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe, Archie Goodwin, T.J. Warren, P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock and Brandan Wright. That's a ten-player look to give consistent minutes to with all positions covered.
That's my thought process, which I happen to think is pretty logical at this point.
Maybe the Suns don't agree with me and that's perfectly fine. As long as they choose a path, make clear what it is they want to be doing, and start the process of heading down that road; they can start to settle back down the turmoil they have internally created.
There are too many smart people in this organization for them to be sidetracked like they currently are.
The Suns are still in a virtuous position, but a little bit of fine tuning to the vehicle they're using to take them where they want to go is in order.
A vision must be selected and carried out from this point forward. No more confusion, no more frustration and finding a way to get everyone back on the same page is of the highest importance.
What's gone wrong this season can easily be fixed, it's just about the Suns figuring out how they want to go about it.