This will be about as popular as a patio table at a Phoenix restaurant in July, but what the heck:
Thank you, Ryan McDonough.
Giving birth is never pretty. It’s usually a long, painful process that sometimes requires drugs to get through. Sound familiar, Suns fans?
The last five years were the long painful birthing process of what, after one game at least, looks to be something that will grow up to be truly beautiful.
And you know the thing about that birthing process? In two years, when you’re watching this young, fun and beautiful thing that came from it playing in front of you, you won’t remember the hard and trying road that got you there, you just know the joy you’re feeling in the moment.
Years from now when we look back on the McDonough Era, we’ll likely remember it as the time that gave us the foundation of the next great Suns team. When a diamond in the rough turned into the crown jewel of the franchise in Devin Booker. The time when the center curse was finally lifted, as Deandre Ayton went No. 1 overall. When the team took a chance on an offensive visionary at head coach and it paid off. In all likelihood, the point guard hydra, the salon, love and yoga, and TWINS will all fade from our collective memory like the little sister on Boy Meets World.
What will remain is an appreciation for how we got here. An understanding that, despite the chaos of the franchise around him, McDonough found a way to get young quality talent in the door. While the tanking was difficult, it is really the only path to winning in a smaller market in the NBA. Time will make that clearer.
That, or maybe I’m just riding high on a double-digit Suns opening night win. And there’s nothing wrong with that either, after the double-digit shellackings to start last season. Every time you see a hint of promise like opening night; every time Devin Booker goes off on a team; every time Deandre Ayton makes a double-double look easier than saving money on insurance with Geico; any time Trevor Ariza has a big game to help put the Suns on top, just remember that McDonough’s fingerprints are all over everything you’re witnessing.
Just ask yourself: Would you rather have a starting lineup of Canaan, Booker, Ariza; Anderson and Ayton with Jackson, Warren and Bridges off the bench; or Dragic, Bledsoe, Plumlee and the Morri with Frye, Green and Tucker? It’s pretty obvious which roster you’d rather have in its prime. The latter was what McDonough inherited and the latter is what he’ll be bestowing upon the next general manager. It’s pretty clear he left the Suns in a much better place than when he came in.
So thank you, Ryan McDonough, for giving birth to what looks like something special. You won’t be around to witness the growth firsthand, but your presence and belief in The Timeline will always be felt — every time Booker takes over late in the fourth or Ayton skies for an alley-oop.