A brief look back on the season that was - scrapbook style - from one fan’s perspective.
Around this time last year, I was still recovering from the Suns’ 2017-18 season. I was, however, very glad to hear that the Suns were going to do a proper search for a new head coach instead of just handing the job over to interim head coach Jay Triano as they had done with Earl Watson at the end of his stint as the interim HC. I was also very excited when Mike Budenholzer was the first guy to come to Phoenix for an interview!
Unfortunately, that didn’t last long as he took his name out of consideration quickly. No one knows for sure why he did this but the reason doesn’t really matter. The fact that he was out of the running was all that really counted.
So the search and the interviews went on until the Suns finally decided to hire long-time NBA assistant coach Igor Kokoskov for the job. I liked the hire at the time.
But I wasn’t thrilled. Who could have been with these guys still in charge?
And as much as I hoped it would all work out, I said way back then that no one should expect miracles from Igor. During his previous stint on the Suns’ coaching staff as an assistant, he tried his best to turn Josh Childress into a productive NBA player... and failed.
But that was a worry for later down the line as the NBA Lottery was swiftly approaching. I had little hope that it would turn out well for the Suns but I forced myself to watch as the lottery results were announced.
Holy Mother of God! The Suns won the number 1 pick! I couldn’t believe it but it really did happen. The only thing that detracted from that win were the inevitable Ayton vs Doncic debates that followed. Either was fine with me so I stayed out of them for the most part. When draft night eventually came, I was good with the Suns taking Deandre Ayton over Luka Doncic. Both are going to have great careers in the NBA.
I was also very happy that the Suns traded up to get Mikal Bridges. Elie Okobo seemed like a solid choice with their high second round pick as well. George King... well, who actually cares who you take with the 59th pick in the draft? But he was now a member of the Suns so I was glad to welcome him aboard too.
The summer started off with a bit of a controversial free agent acquisition. Trevor Ariza was signed very quickly to a one-year $15 mil contract. I was a bit puzzled by it at first but tried to look at it as a good signing of a solid veteran player that could help a young Suns team.
Later, I would learn that I was in error to think that way.
The rest of the Suns’ offseason was rather uneventful (with the exception of Josh Jackson looking terrible during the Summer League games) until it was announced that Devin Booker - who had just signed a max contract extension with the Suns - was undergoing surgery on his right hand in early September.
His dominant, shooting hand.
Fans went nuts over this and all sorts of worst case scenarios were being thrown about. A few even questioned whether he would ever be the same afterward.
Weird rumors about the injury happening because of a unicycle accident didn’t help things.
It did disrupt his ability to participate in training camp and the pre-season games but he was ready to go on opening night.
One person who wasn’t ready to go on opening night - because he was already gone - was Ryan McDonough.
Fans were mostly ecstatic to see him run out of town even if the timing was questionable.
My personal opinion was that he was fired after failing to bring in a starting caliber point guard while also trading away the only player remotely resembling one (Brandon Knight) on the Suns’ roster just a little over a month before.
James Jones and Trevor Bukstein were named co-interim GMs for the coming season and we moved on.
The lack of a real starting PG was briefly forgotten as everyone was excited over the opening night win against the Dallas Mavericks but that feeling faded quickly. The Suns lost their next seven games - most by double digits - and any wins that came along afterward were often a complete surprise to fans.
It wasn’t long before fans were losing hope for the season... and in the future.
Before the season started, I had already moved on from the “#TheTimeline” thing but by the beginning of December, I was completely questioning our team’s future. Everything looked grim and #TheTimeline became a thing of scorn to me. Why had I actually let myself believe in that hype before? I was questioning almost everything about the Suns by then.
But then that mid-December run of wins sucked me right back in.
That didn’t last very long either though. Sigh...
Around this point in time, I asked our BSotS Lord and Master Dave King if we shouldn’t be adding this to every Suns game preview we did.
Well, obviously that didn’t happen. I trust Dave’s judgment but things just seemed to keep getting worse which prompted me to create this.
I was in a dark place by then and I probably wasn’t alone.
But suddenly, the Suns unexpectedly started winning again... and they actually started to look like a good NBA team while doing so!
The additions of Tyler Johnson and Kelly Oubre Jr. were finally looking like good moves. Oubre especially looked as though he was making a big difference.
Even Dragan Bender was looking something like a real NBA player. Not a starter but at least a rotation player. Some people were starting to believe in him again.
But injuries began to pile up and the final 10-11 games were were again painful to watch.
The coming of the offseason was a welcome relief to me. The quick hiring of Jeff Bower as Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations is still a bit of a question mark but it was a decisive move which was good.
And this picture of him leaving his interview seems to attest to his commitment to this team!
James Jones was named the General Manager and Trevor Bukstein returned to his previous duties as assistant GM.
Rumors had persisted regarding the fate of head coach Igor Kokoskov but it seemed as though his job was was safe... for a short while.
Then the hammer finally dropped, Igor was out and the Suns are once again looking for a new head coach... their seventh since the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
I’m sure it all makes some fans angry. To me, it’s best to just try to find whatever humor you can in it all.
I hope you found some of it here.