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Center of the Sun: Phoenix Suns fall to 7- 14 after a winless week

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Are the fans losing faith in Ryan McDonough? The Fantable gives their opinions on the Suns’ GM.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

vs Milwaukee Bucks L (113-107 OT) Full Recap

vs New Orleans Pelicans L (115-91) Full Recap

@ Minnesota Timberwolves L (119-108) Full Recap

I don’t think that anyone was shocked by any of the three losses this week although I hated to see Devin Booker’s buzzer beater at the end of regulation go to waste as they lost to the Bucks in OT. With Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo sitting out the game, I was disappointed that the Suns couldn’t get a win.

Regardless of the final score, I thought that the Suns played a good game against Minnesota as Booker sat out with an injured toe. It was good to see the team step up and play tough with their leading scorer out. And Triano’s starting lineup for the T-wolves game was... interesting. I could understand starting Chandler and Monroe against the Pelicans’ twin towers of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins but I found it curious that he would start them both against Minnesota.

The New Orleans game was really the only one that I found painful to watch. Since I don’t want to bring up to many painful memories for Suns fans, I’ll end my comments on that game now.

Not a good week for the Suns. Hopefully Devin Booker will be back to 100% before Tuesday’s game in Chicago.


Fantable Question of the Week

"#TheTimeline" sounds like the most reasonable plan for the Suns to rebuild the team into a contender but do you have faith that Ryan McDonough is the man to oversee that plan?

GuarGuar: I do believe in #TheTimeline. Developing youth and acquiring top talent through the draft seems like the most realistic way to build a title contender. However, when you fail to obtain a top 3 pick and make the same management mistakes over and over it really becomes difficult. Going into this season, I was fine with McDonough and willing to see this process through. I was fine with him because I believed he learned from his mistakes and had a set plan. However, this season has proven me completely wrong. The whole Eric Bledsoe situation went about as bad as possible and showed McD hasn't learned anything from the past. The image of our franchise is in shambles and we got very very little value for our best player last season.

Indubitably, I can't stand McD anymore and would love for him to be gone. I don't know if firing him right now is the best thing though. If we get someone new, there is a solid chance everything is completely blown up AGAIN, and we start from ground zero. Say what you will about McDonough, he has acquired solid young talent. There is a plan, and I am willing to see the end result. I just wish someone else was in charge. The constant losing has started to take it's toll and I don't want to play with fire when it comes to Devin Booker's happiness in Phoenix. I think we really need to take somewhat of a win-now approach this offseason, but nothing too absurd. We can win games and develop youth at the same time.

Sun-Arc: As I've mentioned a couple of times before, I do think Ryan's plan is sound. I think building through the draft, building up assets, and bringing in a star via trade or FA at the right moment is the most reasonable way to build a contender in PHX. I think this summer is the right time to start looking at making strong moves. I'll give him two more off-seasons to make those moves.

*McD is the right man for the job because of two reasons:*

1. His ability to draft well. Sure, he doesn't have a perfect record. Though even mightily derided, Alex Len was taken 5th in a draft where only two other of the players taken between #5-#11 were serviceable (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at #8 & C.J. McCollum at #10) and was considered a wise pick at #5 that season. T.J. Warren and Devin Booker were steals at their positions. Dragan Bender is coming around. Josh Jackson appears to have super-high two-way potential. Plus the 2nd round picks Tyler Ulis, Davon Reed, and possibly Alec Peters look like steals in the second round.

2. He actually has a plan and understands how to execute it. He has the patience to lose a lot of games through three seasons to get the maximum chances for top 5 picks, where statistically a team's best chances of finding a star through the draft exists. He also learned how stockpile assets from Danny Ainge in Boston, and when to utilize those assets. We know have several enticing young players and a bevy of picks to utilize in a big trade when the moment comes up. We also have excellent cap flexibility moving forward, helped by the recent Bled for Greg Monroe trade.

*McD is the wrong man for the job because of two reasons:*

1. He sometimes makes knee-jerk trades with bad results. Though some trades (Jared Dudley for Bledsoe, Luis Scola for Green/Plumlee + pick, Groan Dramatich for 2 picks, Markieff Morris for a pick) have been really good - others, such as the Brandon Knight affair, were abysmal. In the end I feel he has a good shot at pulling this part of the plan off, though, because he's patient enough to wait for the right deal. The question is whether he will be put into panic mode by Robert Sarver? And if so, will the wrong deal be sought?

2. He is abysmal at dealing with personnel. And this is the big one. Even with a sound plan in place, will he mess up player relations with the potential young stars he has before he can pull it off? Furthermore, has he damaged the reputation of the team badly enough we can't lull free agent stars here or keep ones we acquire in a trade?

*My conclusion:*

The plan is sound but the execution may not be handled well enough to pull it off. In the weakness categories, I am not too worried about #1 - I think Ryan can make the right choices at the right times and I think Sarver has bought into the plan. #2 worries the hell out of me, but McD has not seemed to enrage the young guys at all. T.J. is motivated, as is Booker, Bender, and Ulis. Tyson Chandler and Dudley have expressed their content too. It worries me that could change, but so far things are cool with who we have right now.

While the team's reputation is undoubtedly damaged greatly, I think money will talk for both potential FA's and trade acquisitions, and we'll have that money. Plus the pull for stars to play with up-and-coming exciting young players, some of whom may be stars themselves, may help offset some of the damage.

As much as I wish Ryan would actually learn from his mistakes, and clearly hasn't yet, I still think- on the whole, he can complete the plan. Whether or not he boogers up the situation and how quickly that happens after the plan is complete is another conversation.

SDKyle: I do not have faith that Ryan McDonough is the right man to lead the Suns’ rebuilding effort going forward. The simple reason for this is that five years into his tenure the team feels like its treading water at best and regressing at worst.

Sure he hit a home run with the Booker pick and has made some other moves I agreed with. Doesn’t really matter, because his isolated successes have either not elevated the team or have even blown up into outright failures later. I can understand why he still has his backers, but I don’t agree with them or their unconvincing defenses of his plan (the rebuild really only started in 2015, it’s actually Sarver’s fault, etc.).

If I were Sarver I’d fire McD right now. Before he has the chance to choose our next coach and before he makes a draft pick that fits his vision rather than that of the new GM we’d be hiring.

SouthernSun: I have a small sliver of faith left in Ryan McDonough. It grows smaller by the day.

Every significant player that leaves Phoenix for the last few years has something bad to say about the organization. What other team has that happen this much? None. No other one. And the two guys who have been here for each of those exits are McDonough and Sarver.

It's obvious the Suns need a point guard that's starting quality. They don't have one on the roster now. There are no realistic options in free agency next summer. So, he should trade for one. If he trades for a decent starting point guard this season, I will be much more enthusiastic.

I need to see him make a big move. Trade some of his precious assets for a good player, take one of the can't miss big men in the draft, and go hard after free agents this summer. Try to get a DeMarcus Cousins or a Clint Capela.

If McDonough does those things this summer, then I will feel a lot more comfortable about him managing the team. So, I'm to give him one more off season to show he's willing to improve this team and is done tanking.

No NBA fan should wish they could fast forward to the off season so something interesting can happen, but that’s a feeling this team often invokes. That's what Ryan McDonough has done with the Suns in four years so far. He needs to put a competitive team on the floor next season. The patience of Suns fans is wearing thin.

Once again, many thanks to GuarGuar, Suns-Arc, SDKyle and SouthernSun.


Key Stats

17.3 assists per game

At the end of the previous week, fans marveled at the jump in team assists to 25.8 per game during that period. This week the Suns reverted to form in their first two games averaging a pitiful 13.5 apg. They did get back into the groove in game three though as they had 25 assists against Minnesota. Hopefully we will see more 25+ assist games than under 15 assist games as the season goes on. The Suns are averaging 19.4 apg for the season which is surprisingly not dead last (it’s 29th).

Random Stats: Alex Len had two DNP-CDs this week (Milwaukee and Minnesota). The Suns are averaging 16.6 turnovers per game for the season but averaged 20.7 in the last three games. For the season, Dragan Bender is hitting 38.2% of his three point attempts and 39.8% overall but in the last 10 games his numbers are 46.4 FG% and 48.4 3PT%.

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.


Game Highlights

Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns Full game Highlights + OVERTIME Nov 22, 2017

New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns - Full Game Highlights | November 24, 2017

Phoenix Suns vs Minnesota Timberwolves Full Game Highlights / Week 6 / 2017 NBA Season


Quote of the Week

"The other night, as bad as it was with 29 turnovers, I’m OK with it as long as they’re effort turnovers. If they’re lazy turnovers, then I have an issue." - Jay Triano


Rookie Report

Josh Jackson - 21.7 mpg, 9.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.0 TO, 2.9 PF

Mike James - 23.3 mpg, 11.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.2 bpg, 1.7 TO, 1.6 PF

Alec Peters - Assigned to NAZ Suns

  • 35.6 mpg, 16.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 3P% = 35.6 in 6 games

Davon Reed - DNP (Injured)

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.


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News & Notes

Bickley: Jay Triano teaching Suns how much coaching matters in the NBA. Dan Bickley/AZCentral Sports

Game Day: Buzzer-beaters becoming a habit for Devin Booker. Scott Bordow/AZCentral Sports

McDonough: Suns have options to open roster spot for Mike James. Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports

Suns’ center rotation under spotlight with Monroe, Chandler and Len. Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports

Greg Monroe Continues to Impress in Suns Uniform. Suns.com

Triano: Suns’ Alex Len playing with desperation in contract year. Joe Jacquez/Arizona Sports

Devin Booker putting up MVP numbers in Phoenix. Kentucky 247 Sports


This Week in Suns History

On December 1, 1984, Phoenix Suns Coach John MacLeod became the 10th coach in NBA history to compile 500 career wins as the Suns defeated Golden State 115-103.


Suns History in Video


Suns Trivia

The Suns are averaging 54.4 combined free throw attempts per game (26.4 by Suns, 28.0 by opponent) - the highest average in the NBA this season. Last season, the Suns’ 55.4 combined free throw attempts per game led the league and were the most by any NBA team since the 2009-10 Denver Nuggets averaged 57.5 combined free throws per game.

Greg Monroe made his Suns debut on Nov. 16 vs. Houston and posted 20 points (10-14 FG) and 11 rebounds. Monroe became the 14th player in Suns history to record a double-double in his debut with the team, joining: Gail Goodrich, George Wilson, Connie Hawkins, Alvan Adams, Gar Heard, Maurice Lucas, Charles Barkley, Tom Gugliotta, Shawn Marion, Stephon Marbury, Luis Scola, Miles Plumlee and Kris Humphries.

The Suns are 4-0 this season when T.J. Warren scores 25+ points


Previewing the Week Ahead

Tuesday, November 28 - Phoenix Suns @ Chicago Bulls, 6:00 pm AZ time

Wednesday, November 29 - Phoenix Suns @ Detroit Pistons, 5:00 pm AZ time

Saturday, December 2 - Phoenix Suns @ Boston Celtics, 11:00 pm AZ time

This week the Suns continue the six game road trip they started on Sunday with a loss in Minnesota. They start this week off playing the team with the worst record in the NBA (Bulls, 3-15) and end it playing the team with the best record in the NBA (Celtics, 18-3).

On Tuesday they'll be in the Windy City for a rematch with the Bulls whom they beat 113-105 Phoenix just a little over a week ago. I think this will be their best shot at a win this week so I’m predicting the Suns get the W and sweep their series with the Bulls this season.

Logic says that the Suns should lose this game. The Pistons are just a better team and the Suns will be playing them less than 24 hours after the Chicago game. But the Suns are 3-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season so who knows what may happen. I’m still picking the Pistons to win though.

After a couple of days rest, the Suns take on the Celtics in Boston. Boston has the best record in the NBA. Do I really need to give any more reasons as to why I expect the Suns to lose this game? I think not.

It could turn out to be a very long and ugly road trip but I'm predicting that the Suns go 1-2 this week.

What's your prediction?


Last Week's Poll Results

The poll was, "What do you think the Suns should do with Greg Monroe?"

The results were:

55% - Keep him and play him for the rest of the season... unless they get a very good trade offer.

25% - Trade him before the trade deadline for the best offer they can get.

01% - Just buy him out and move on. We already have too many centers on the team.

19% - Try to trade Chandler or Len and keep Monroe for the rest of the season.

There were a total of 372 votes cast.


This week's poll is...

Poll

Do you believe that Ryan McDonough is the right man to oversee the Suns' rebuild?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Yes. Just give him the time to see it through.
    (31 votes)
  • 55%
    I'm willing to give him some more time but my patience is beginning to wear thin.
    (110 votes)
  • 29%
    No. The Suns need to get a new GM to make #TheTimeline work.
    (59 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now