Are you sick and tired of losing and demand that the Phoenix Suns return to relevance in the Western Conference? If so, you may have more passion about turning around this disaster of a franchise than team owner Robert Sarver.
Sarver sat down with Scott Bordow of the azcentral.com this week. Of course, Bordow asked Sarver about his very bad basketball club, and his response is unlikely to get you fired up that change is around the corner in Phoenix.
On his expectations for next season:
“I think with a piece or two and a solid year of development, I think we can flip the switch and end up being a team that can have a winning record. But looking at where we stand right now, there’s a long way to go to get to that.”
Bad answer, I say. Get mad, damn it. Say something like ‘obviously the product on the court is completely unacceptable, and it will be fixed, either by the people that we currently have or the people that will replace those people.’ Too strong? Screw your complacency.
On what the team is missing:
“Our younger players need confidence. I think there’s a fine line between coming in a game feeling confident you can win and not feeling confident you can win. I think maybe we can add a piece or two next season with some leadership and some experience and some winning and some grit that can help turn that confidence level with some of our younger players. So this offseason is going to be about adding some of that confidence and leadership, and at the same time to get some of our younger players to take a meaningful step forward. I think you’ve seen that a little bit this year. Obviously, Devin has shown he’s capable of playing at an All-Star level and can be one of the pillars of the franchise moving forward. The second half of this season for Josh (Jackson) has shown what we saw when we drafted him. At times you’ve seen Marquese (Chriss) and Dragan (Bender) show what they can do, but the two of them haven’t been consistent enough.”
It just all rings so hollow. I guess I want to hear something about how Sarver and others created this toxic culture of losing and it’s incumbent upon him, above anyone else, to change that culture. I understand that asking an owner to take some ownership may be an unrealistic expectation.
He doesn’t say that, though. Here’s what he says the team needs:
“I think two things. Balance in terms of shooting. The league has been changing. What’s very important is the ability to shoot the 3 and defend the 3. And getting back to this winning attitude that someone can bring to us. Someone who has won and someone who plays a meaningful role on our team. Someone who probably is a starter or first guy off the bench who can bring some swagger and a winning attitude. Obviously I’m biased, but I do think the talent on our roster is a little bit better than our win-loss record, and I think we need some of that winning attitude and swagger. I don’t think we have that right now.”
The talent on the team will always exceed the win-loss record, because that is how bad management works. It’s not even about basketball, guys. So much of this has nothing to do with basketball. It’s about leadership, and success, and accountability, and culture, and you know what nevermind me, get back to your advanced metrics about how Devin Booker compares with a Hall-of-Famer on a winning team.
I’m done. Thanks for allowing me to vent a little. There’s more in Bordow’s article that you should check out. He does fine work as always.