The Phoenix Suns 2014-15 season left a lot to be desired. After finishing with 48 wins last year and barely missing the playoffs, expectations were high, and the expectation was that the Suns could build on that success, and have an even better season this year.
But that didn't happen.
The 2014-15 season went awry: They lost Goran Dragic who was unhappy; They saw Gerald Green regress from his banner performance last season; saw Alex Len continue to struggle with various injuries; and they traded away Isaiah Thomas who was their highest bench scorer, Miles Plumlee who was their starting center last season, Tyler Ennis who was a first round draft pick this year, and the Los Angeles Lakers pick which had a top five protection this year, and a top three protection next year.
Of course, they did acquire Brandon Knight who is a restricted free agent who the Suns can and almost certainly will retain, and back-up center Brandan Wright who may be an unrestricted free agent but seems to have every intention of staying in Phoenix.
Still, The positives weren't enough to offset the negatives, and the Suns not only missed the playoffs, they posted a losing record of only 39-43.
Anyway you look at it, the Suns took a couple of steps back this year.
So what did the coach and the front office have to say about what went wrong with this past season, and what they will do to turn it back around next season?
Ryan gave the longest interview of the day, talking at length about what the organization learned from this season, and what they need to do to improve upon that next year, and in the future. He talked specifically about the process taking "a couple years", so I believe they are looking at a gradual rebuild over the next few seasons, instead of a focus on winning now. I recall this being slightly different than what was said before the season, but he has always remained consistent that the Suns are sticking to a long term plan.
(I had a camera malfunction when trying to record the press conference, but I got most of the audio, so I'll transcribe the key points below)
- Hornacek talked about the players having a couple of common themes in their exit interviews: One, being that they didn't feel that they had enough players who only cared about winning this season, and two, that this was the first time many of them had played this many minutes, and they were trying to learn on the fly.
- He didn't feel that the chemistry this year was as good as it was last season.
- He thinks the team still had a good chance of making the playoffs until Brandon Knight went out with an ankle injury and that Alex Len broke his nose.
- He said the players were coachable throughout the difficulties at the end of the season. He didn't think they quit, and that they all want to get better.
- Thinks the team needs more shooters to put around Bledsoe and Knight so they can be more successful driving to the basket.
- Would like the young players to become the energy players on the team. Wants them to hustle all the time.
Babby spoke about needing to use the salary cap room wisely this offseason, and figuring out how to maximize their flexibility. Lon also talked about how the Suns want to have Brandon Knight back, but that you never know how long the negotiations will take. He mentioned that he is optimistic about the organization because of the people the Suns have in place; namely McDonough and Hornacek who are only a year removed from being strongly considered for executive, and coach of the year, respectively.
That will do it. This season is officially in the books, and all eyes are now on the future. We at Bright Side of the Sun certainly aren't going anywhere during the off-season, we'll be ramping up our draft coverage and then focusing on free agency after that. There will be plenty of Suns related content to whet your appetite through the summer.