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Suns’ Practice Perspective: The ashes always come before the rise

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The Phoenix Suns need to struggle before they succeed.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I’m going to tell you a story about the beloved Golden State Warriors real quick. They have won 3 titles in the last 4 years and broke the NBA record for wins in a season in 2015-16 finishing the year 73-and-9. Before the greatest shooter known to mankind, Stephen Curry, was drafted to the Warriors, before his splash brother Klay Thompson joined him, before the team was constructed into the perfect blend of coaching, personalities and talent, it faced its struggles.

Just to provide some context, Golden State was 29-and-53 during the 2008-09 season, 26-and-56 the following year and improved by just 10 games the year after that. My point? Sometimes it takes being at rock bottom, knowing what it’s like to lose, and knowing what it’s like to face adversity, in order to build the necessary foundation needed to succeed in the future and stay on top.

We’re just 7 games into the 2018-19 NBA season and everybody is overreacting. Yes, the Suns are off to a 1-and-6 start and of course the team is frustrated but they know it’s a process that doesn’t just happen overnight.

“What people don’t understand is we got a new coach, a lot of new faces, an inexperienced team with young guys and a new system,” Suns guard Isaiah Canaan said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Canaan was out against the Spurs after aggravating his ankle against the Thunder the game before. He struggled watching his guys go down the way they did against San Antonio and really wanted to be back out there for them.

“I hate to just leave them out there so if I’m able to go I’m going to go,” Canaan said. “I just know we needed a little bit more leadership and at the point guard we had two rookies out there last night so just to try to have my presence back out there, hopefully we can turn things back around.”

Rookie Elie Okobo started for the first time of his NBA career, which would be nerve racking for any player who hadn’t gotten much playing time before. Thankfully for Okobo, he has veteran guys like Canaan who are there to keep his spirits up and guide him along the way.

“Just try to help him continue to run the team, keep building that relationship with all his teammates and just understanding the game more so than anything,” Canaan said after being asked what he’s doing to help the young rookie. “Watching film, and studying up the opponents, their tendencies, their plays, just trying to keep them one step ahead of every team and just try to help the best way I can.”

Canaan knows all too well about adversity after suffering a brutal season ending ankle injury last February.

“This organization giving me another opportunity to go out there and kind of pick up where I left off at and to actually be able to start,” Canaan said. “I’m sure 8 months ago if they told me you’ll be starting your first game back out I would have never believed them.”

Veteran Trevor Ariza is in his 14th year in the league and has also dealt with his fair share of ups and downs throughout his career. He has learned how to handle it.

“Just forgetting about it and moving onto the next one,” forward Trevor Ariza said. “Grinding through it and looking forward to the next game because the good thing about the NBA is that you always got another one coming up really soon so the best way to try to get yourself out of it is to work through it.”

Again, it’s a process and will take some time for all the pieces to come together but Canaan has no doubt in his mind that the Suns will eventually figure it out.

“We’ll start taking off once we get familiar with everything,” Canaan said. “Get familiar with what the coach is asking us, familiar with the system, familiar with each other.”

For now, it’s staying patient, confident and looking at the bright side of the sun.

Canaan will be back in action on Friday night against the Raptors although it hasn’t been announced whether he will be starting or not.