Following one of the worst season’s in franchise history last season, which featured a carousel of point guards after their own requested out on Twitter three games in and two different coaches resulting an abysmal record of 21-61, the Phoenix Suns are somehow going to top that nightmare.
Somehow, someway, Phoenix is even worse with two top 10 draft picks brought aboard, including their first ever No. 1 pick. How the Suns can be sitting with 11 wins at the All-Star break with Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and other young talent surrounding them beats me. The Suns even made a coaching upgrade from an Xs and Os standpoint from Earl Watson to Igor Kokoskov. Your guess is as good as mine at this point.
Nowadays, I’m left scratching my head how these inconsistencies can continue to pop up. And it’s been a long running issue as the losing culture has started to truly seep in.
Nine years now the Suns will be without a playoff berth.
Nine years ago owner Robert Sarver saw Steve Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion lead them to their most successful era.
Ever since, it’s been a clown car filled with blunders.
Nearly a decade later, Phoenix has been sitting in neutral with a revolving door of inexperienced general managers, head coaches, and players along the way.
Will the cycle be coming to an end here soon? The franchise is craving a flip back to winning basketball while maintaining stability. However, after hearing Vice President of Basketball Operations and likely soon-to-be GM James Jones on 98.7 FM earlier this week, another summer full of roster changes is incoming as they plan to add three to five new players for the 2019-20 campaign.
Back at Media Day in September, former GM Ryan McDonough said he hoped this would be one the most improved teams in the NBA. That has gone the exact opposite way.
Unfortunately, the 2018 offseason blew up in the front office’s face. The signing of Trevor Ariza right on July 1 ended after two months that featured plenty of on-court loafing, while the Ryan Anderson addition was abandoned after 11 starts.
Instead of improvement, we are now looking ahead towards relying on luck in the draft lottery to take another swing at possible generational talent for the fourth straight season.
This time, will it be Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, or Ja Morant next up for the Suns to rely on to flip their fortunes at the drop of a hat? Massive and quite frankly unfair expectations were placed on the broad shoulders of Ayton right after he donned the Suns’ hat on draft night with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Many wanted him to be Hakeem Olajuwon 2.0 right from opening tip on Oct. 17 versus Dallas despite knowing prospects, whatever level they enter at, take time to develop.
However, Ayton and Richaun Holmes are filling the roles Tyson Chandler and Alex Len left. Mikal Bridges is the Suns’ best perimeter defender already in years. Kelly Oubre Jr. is a definite upgrade over Jared Dudley. Booker had another year of experience under his belt.
There’s no excuse for Phoenix to be in possibly an even worse spot than they were last year. This upcoming offseason could be reaching a point of desperation as this rebuild strategy, as Jones admitted on 98.7 FM, isn’t working and likely never will.
One of the most talented rosters the Suns have had during this tenuous rebuild attempt is barely getting off the ground floor with immediate improvement in the win-loss category.
If we want to stretch this out even further for the dysfunction, Phoenix has a record of 13-72 in their last 85 games dating back almost a year. Over 25 percent of those have been losses by 20 or more points.
That’s incredible, and it speaks to how far this once proud franchise has fallen in recent years out of relevancy.
Whenever the Suns are brought up on a national level, it’s to make fun of the long-running drought of notching victories with bad decisions sprinkled throughout.
How this team responds after a much-needed break from basketball until next week will be interesting to follow along with. Will they rise up against this adversity and avoid breaking a franchise record for consecutive losses? Who knows, because once it got into double-digits you would think there would be some urgency but it just hasn’t happened.
There’s a plausible scenario where if Phoenix doesn’t win their next three games at Cleveland, Atlanta and Miami, they could be face-to-face with a season where they have maybe 15 wins if we continue to see these types of outings over and over again.
The Suns have won three games since the now improbable four-game winning streak out on the east coast almost two months ago. And out of these losses now piling up like flapjacks, a quarter of them over that span have been blowout defeats.
I didn't think we would be in the same position as last year, when it relates to poor on-court product, but it’s arrived. Disappointment continues to rear it’s head at every level.
There has to be an urgency for rapid improvement next season, and those at all levels of this organization surely know it.