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Rebuilding: Patience is not a Virtue

This history of rebuilding in the NBA shows that Phoenix’s timeline is doomed to fail.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Indiana Pacers
This is really getting old.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I know what you’re thinking Suns fans.

Eight years sure is a long time out of the playoffs...

Well, you’re right.

In fact, only 10 of the 30 teams in the NBA have ever had a streak that long in their franchise history. Only six teams have had a longer drought.

Guess how many teams won a championship after a drought that long?

Exactly one.

But if that news isn’t bad enough... that team was the Mavericks and after missing the playoffs 10 straight times from 1991-2000 the Mavericks actually went to the playoffs 11 straight years before winning the NBA Finals in 2011.

If the Suns managed to follow that exact same path it would be 2031 and Devin Booker would be 34.

Below is a list broken down into three columns.

The first column is the longest playoff drought a team had before winning a title.

The second column is the number of years after that streak that the team won a championship.

The third column is the franchise’s record playoff drought.

**Kings and Pacers won a title at the beginning of their franchise history before having a season out of the playoffs.


A few things to note.

Golden St. is a little misleading, because their franchise record 12 year playoff drought was followed by just one year in the playoffs with a 42-40 record... then five more years out of the playoffs before their current championship run.

So that was nearly 18 years out of the playoffs before building a championship team.

That Warriors team is also one of just two teams with a playoff drought longer than eight years that has ever won a championship.

Only the Kings and Wolves have a longer current playoff drought than the Suns. After this year it will only be the Kings.

17 teams have managed to rebuild into a championship team in less time than the Suns are currently in the midst of. Several of them have done it on multiple occasions.

The San Antonio Spurs have never had back-to-back seasons out of the playoffs and have only missed the playoffs five times in 50 years.

The Suns are one of 10 teams that has never won a championship.


So let’s use this data to draw a couple of conclusions.

First, this type of playoff drought isn’t normal or necessary in terms of building a contender. In fact, it is exceedingly more common for it to NOT take this long.

When it does take this long to rebuild that team is nearly destined to not actually win a championship. This is the road to perdition, not paradise.

Second, this propaganda from the Suns’ front office, and Ryan McDonough in particular, that it takes time to go through this process and we all need to be patient because rebuilding is really, really, really hard (and I mean like really hard) is complete nonsense.

The timeline is a hoax.

The Suns have become the outlier, not the norm.

Redbuilding isn’t this difficult.

The Suns just suck at it.

They have joined the ranks of the plebeians. They have become more like the Timberwolves than the Celtics, more like the Clippers than the Rockets, more like the Kings than the Spurs...

They have become a wretched, disfigured version of their former self.

They have failed to transition from one successful era to the next in a remotely reasonable amount of time.

They have flat out failed as a franchise.

Yet they still preach patience.

I’m tired of being patient.

When a team is rebuilding, patience is not a virtue... it’s a path to failure.

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