Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
The opening night loss to Portland may have been the worst game of organized basketball I've ever seen... on any level. After the Clippers game I was sadly convinced that I might see even worse games from the Suns as the season goes on. We're only three games into the regular season and many fans - including yours truly - are probably considering making appointments with their physicians to get prescriptions for anti-depression and/or high blood pressure medications... or at least asking the proprietors of their local liquor stores if they can get a bulk discount on game days.
Financially, I think I picked a hell of a good time to quit drinking.
But the BIG news is in the #MiniTimeline that played out on Twitter yesterday afternoon. First, there was this:
And as the Suns’ twittersphere began to explode, this tweet quickly followed:
But wait! There’s more!
Then came the Woj-bomb.
Associate head coach Jay Triano was named as the interim head coach Sunday night. What will happen with the Eric Bledsoe situation is yet to be determined. Stay tuned in to BSotS for more info as we get it!
UPDATE: Suns also fire assistant coaches Nate Bjorkgren, Mehmet Okur and Jason Fraser.
Fantable Question of the Week
Given my own state of mind following what I will politely refer to as a "bad start" to the season by the Suns, I asked the Fantable for their own opinions on "The State of the Suns".
EDITORS NOTE: Some of the following opinions were written before the news of Earl Watson’s firing and Eric Bledsoe’s “I Don’t wanna be here” tweet.
GuarGuar: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS ORGANIZATION AND THIS SEASON!
- We lose by 48 POINTS on opening night to the Blazers without CJ. McCullum.
- We let Lonzo Ball drop a 29 pt near triple double on us in a loss to the Lakers.
- Devin Booker has a nasty fall and has a lingering back issue.
- We lose by 42 POINTS to the Clippers.
- Josh Jackson makes obscene gesture towards fan @Clips game and will likely result in suspension.
- Eric Bledsoe goes on twitter to announce he wants out.
BLEDSOE……CMON MAN…..WE GAVE UP GORAN AND IT SO YOU COULD BE A STAR HERE AND LEAD! AND YOU GO ON TWITTER INSTEAD OF DOING IT PRIVATELY???
I am really fed up with this garbage. We have lost by -92 points in 3 games combined, an NBA record. We are giving up 130 points per game…We can’t even score 100 a game…We can’t guard a Pick and Roll, we can’t rebound, we can’t pass, we can’t shoot, we can’t do anything right.
We haven’t made the playoffs in 7 years. I know we are in a rebuild but this is a new low. Ryan McDonough has made too many mistakes and I’m calling for his job too. Bled should of been traded this summer (preferably pre draft). There’s no way this just sprung up out of nowhere. McDonough’s weakness is locker room issues and he has show ZERO IMPROVEMENT. I’m sorry McD but you just haven’t cut it.
WATSON YOU NEEDED TO GET THE BARNEY SCRIPT OUT OF YOUR GAMEPLAN AND RUN A DAMN OFFENSE AND DEFENSE! BUT YOU DIDN'T AND NOW YOU ARE GONE!"
To the Suns staff and players who will still be on the roster…
GET IT TOGETHER MAN!
Sun-Arc: Welp, folks. This is not what I expected from the team. I expected them to be bad - but not historically bad. Rather than talk about what I’m seeing in games, I’m going to start with what – in my estimation - is wrong and who is to blame.
I’m going to say that half of the problem is the coach. It seemed to kind of work last season, but it isn’t anymore. There had been player development over the course of the season - but that seems to have come to an end. So must Watson’s tenure. That much is clear.
Slightly less than half of the fault lies with McD for not finding a better head coach before moving forward with Watson. I still support the method of building through the draft, but the team should have the highest quality coach available to teach these kids the right way to practice, grow, live, and play.
The last of the fault lies with the players. Mostly the vets. I don’t think Bled or Tyson Chandler have been as bad as many are saying. I don’t think they’ve completely checked out. But they definitely are not giving their all either. You know who are playing hard? Mike James and Troy Daniels - two guys that haven’t seen the memo of despair about what it is like to play for this team. And thank god because if they had also seen the memo this team would be even worse.
And then there is Sarver. But no need to go into that. Everyone understands the issues with Sarver’s management.
Now, for some positives about what I’ve seen in the games.
- Josh Jackson is going to be really good.
- Booker and Warren are really good players. They just need better coaching.
- The team at least started off each game playing fairly well.
- James and Troy Daniels are working hard.
- Dragan Bender’s defense looks good.
- Injuries haven’t swallowed the entire team.
- I made it to #6 before giving up trying to find positives.
Yeah, the organization is a mess right now. And, yeah, I would not mind if the league stepped in and “straight gangsta’d” the team ownership away from Robert Sarver , as they did with New Orleans a few years ago. Or maybe they could just bring in Bryan “the fixer” Colangelo to clean up this mess. Because, man it is hard to be a Suns fan right now.
SDKyle: The state of the Suns can be accurately summarized as a confused mess. It pains me to say that, but it’s true.
The team is not only 0-3, but two of those losses were complete blowouts and the third was to a Lakers team that will also almost surely be picking in the lottery. Most of our players aren’t playing well on an individual basis. A couple are playing well enough within their limited roles...Alex Len for example, but that’s not much comfort.
But I don’t want to focus a too much on the individual players, because there is too much sin to go around for that conversation to be productive. Basically, the Suns are inept at both ends of the floor. On offense they don’t have a plan, and it shows painfully. It was sad to see how easily the Clippers neutralized the Suns attack. On defense, despite some solid individual on-ball effort, the systemic problems that plagued this team all last year still remain. Lack of awareness, rotation problems, and unnecessary fouls run rampant.
I came into this season as probably the most pessimistic of the Fantable, but even I didn’t think the Suns could realistically be the worst team in the NBA. At this point I think that’s a legitimate possibility.
With Watson’s firing I can only hope that some of these problems may begin to resolve. Either way, though, I hope the Suns learn from this experience and take some time to evaluate the coaching market and not rush into making a permanent hire of whatever assistant coach clicks with our young guys.
SouthernSun: My opinion on the state of the Suns eh? Ha. Haha. Wow. So, yeah. This is pretty awful huh?
Maybe we should have possibly gone out and signed a free agent or two to try and improve a team that only won 24 games the previous year? I'm pretty sure the remedy for losing because you have so much youth and a crap coach isn't "keep the same crap coach and throw more children onto the roster until it's better."
I am ecstatic that Watson is gone, while simultaneously being extremely displeased with the I assume foregone conclusion that Triano will finish the season filling in the head coaching spot. This needed to happen. I was calling for it before, and I'm no less positive about my feelings now. Watson is an awful head coach with very little ability in actually developing players, despite his label, who should have never made it past interem status. I really hope the Suns surprise me and go out and get somebody competent who demands respect. I've seen a couple names I like being bandied about. How about Jeff Van Gundy or Kevin McHale?
On the Bledsoe front... I just saw the tweet by Gambo saying that the Bledsoe trade request was nothing new and that he had met with the team over the summer and requested a trade. I was holding out hope that the firing of Watson might mean we could mend the relationship, but that doesn't seem possible now. I'm a very big Bledsoe supporter. I completely understand his feelings. He has every right to want out of this dumpster fire, and if McDonough continued to refuse his request, then I suppose this was his only recourse. At least he gave him a month or two to make something happen.
Bledsoe has done everything be possibly can to try and drag this team back to relevancy by himself. He's in Phoenix every summer trying to get better. He's a model player and a great citizen of Phoenix, constantly giving back to the community. He hired a life coach at one point to help him improve and lead this team. Summer before last he was hosting all the Suns players and inviting guys to do summer team building activities and paid for all the rookies who weren't making NBA bank yet really. He has given this franchise his sweat and blood and tears and some of the prime years of his career, and they've simply repaid him by benching him during a career year to prevent any pesky wins, and then doing nothing at all to improve a 24 win team and get this man some help. You cannot blame this guy for checking out.
There are not many trades that make sense, and this franchise cannot at all afford to get even younger and much worse. I think the smartest move to make would be to find a trade that gets you a productive player or two, preferably one of them being a point guard. Perhaps swing a three way deal that sends Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Lyles to Atlanta, Dennis Schroder to Phoenix, and Bledsoe to Denver. He's a 24 year old productive point guard who would fit everyone's precious timeline. Trade some of your assets for proven talent right now. Not the Suns 2018 1st. Not Josh Jackson or Devin Booker. But maybe a Bender or a Chriss? Maybe a 2018 Miami pick? Maybe a future Suns pick? Perhaps package Marquese Chriss and the Miami pick and get the best return you can of instant impact players? I don't know. But something. There is entirely too much youth on this team, too many unproven guys who need minutes, and the result of them being given those minutes is going to continue to be 40 point blowouts to so-so teams until we replace some of the youth with some players who actually belong on an NBA court right now.
One thing's for sure, if we don't want more players quitting on us, and starting to hate it on this team, there needs to be a trade that brings in some impact players and sends out a couple future assets, because if we let this situation stay like this, those assets won't be able to save us. Win some games and the players will be happy. The way you're going to win games is by trading a future pick or two for actual NBA players. It's really that simple.
Something needs to happen. And whatever it is better result in no more 40 point blowouts. We've already had an entire seasons worth in the first 3 games.
Now I'm going to continue drinking bourbon and watching episodes of Cheers.
May God have mercy on Earl Watson's soul.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable... GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle and SouthernSun!
The Suns have lost their first 3 games by a combined 92 points, their current Pythagorean win expectation based off that is 1.8 wins.— Jacob Goldstein (@JacobEGoldstein) October 22, 2017
Starting out 0-3 is bad enough but getting outscored in those games by a combined 92 points is more than cringe-worthy. Just for the sake of comparison, here are the Pythagorean Win Expectations for all 30 NBA teams at this point.
Random Stats: The Suns are dead last in defensive rating, 29th in offensive rating and dead last in overall rating. The Suns are actually #1 in the NBA in free throws attempted which shows they are good at drawing fouls and getting to the FT line but they are unfortunately 24th in FT percentage (71.3%) which doesn't make this that much of a plus.
Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.
2017 Season Highlights
Portland Trail Blazers vs Phoenix Suns Full Game Highlights Oct 18 2017 2017 18 NBA season
LA Lakers vs Phoenix Suns - Full Game Highlights | Oct 20, 2017 | 2017-18 NBA Season
Phoenix Suns vs LA Clippers Full Game Highlights / Week 1 / 2017 NBA Season
Quote of the Week
"Would I rather be a top-2 or top-3 team in the West right now and have those deep playoff runs? Yeah, absolutely. So I embrace (the timeline) because I think it is the best path for this team to win a championship. I don’t embrace it because I like it." - Robert Sarver
Josh Jackson - 28.1 mpg, 11.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.7 apg, 1.7 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.0 TO, 3.0 PF
Mike James - 19.0 mpg, 11.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.7 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.3 TO, 1.7 PF
Alec Peters - 7.2 mpg, 1.5.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 1.0 bpg, 0.0 TO, 0.5 PF (1 DNP)
Davon Reed - DNP (Injured)
Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.
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News & Notes
Phoenix Suns Fire Earl Watson, But They Haven't Begun To Solve Their Problems. Forbes
Suns forward Dragan Bender's defense earning him playing time, Earl Watson's trust. Scott Bordow/AZCentral Sports
Suns’ Devin Booker takes rough fall against Lakers, stays in game. Arizona Sports
Here's the Story Behind Those Giant Phoenix Suns Sneakers. Phoenix News Times
Phoenix Suns’ Marquese Chriss adjusting to bench role. Arizona Sports
Phoenix Suns: 5 goals as the season begins on Wednesday. Scott Bordow/AZCentral Sports
Suns owner Robert Sarver explains his expectations for the timeline. Arizona Sports
This Week in Suns History
On October 23, 1993, the Phoenix Suns defeated Italian League champion Buckler Bologna 112-90 in the finals of the sixth McDonald's Championship, held at the Olympiahalle in Munich, Germany, as Charles Barkley led all scorers with 28 points. Barkley was awarded the Drazen Petrovic Trophy as MVP of the tournament after scoring 52 points in two games.
On October 25, 1975, Ring of Honor member and 1-time All-Star Alvan Adams made his NBA debut for the Phoenix Suns in an 89-88 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The worst season start in Suns history was in 1996 when the Suns lost their first 13 games before finally getting their first win against the New Jersey Nets (99-77) on Nov. 27, 1996. The Suns finished the 1996-97 season with a 40-42 record.
Information courtesy of Land Of Basketball.com
Previewing the Week Ahead
Monday, October 23 - Phoenix Suns vs Sacramento Kings, 7:00 pm AZ time
Wednesday, October 25 - Phoenix Suns vs Utah Jazz, 7:00 pm AZ time
Saturday, October 28 - Phoenix Suns @ Portland Trail Blazers, 7:00 pm AZ time
After the way the Suns played this past week, I’d say that the only game that they have the slightest chance of winning this week is the Kings game... but I doubt that they win that one either. Perhaps the coaching change will have an immediate positive influence on the effort put out by the team but I’m not holding my breath in anticipation.
This week I will be totally shocked if the Suns don’t end up with an 0-6 record.
Last Week's Poll Results
The poll was, "During the preseason games Josh Jackson..." The results were:
31.2% - ... met my expectations.
66.2% - ... exceeded my expectations.
02.6% - ... fell short of my expectations.
There were a total of 225 votes cast.
This week's poll is about Eric Bledsoe.
What should the Suns do with Eric Bledsoe?
This poll is closed
Trade him ASAP.
Wait and see if the coaching change affects his attitude.