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Center of the Sun: Arrests, assessments, and can the Phoenix Suns win with Robert Sarver?

Another eventful week passed despite the summer being in full swing

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly...


Where we catch you up on everything that happened in the past week.

Overall, the Suns had a positive week that could culminate with the most experienced staff on the sideline since the Alvin Gentry days.

But it wasn’t all good. Josh Jackson, Richaun Holmes, and Robert Sarver have ensured that Phoenix fans have plenty to talk about this offseason. Our fantable took stock of all the Suns news we’ve been treated to since the close of the 2018-19 season.

1) Without the nuisance of a pesky postseason to get in the way, your Suns got a head start on the summer break. For Josh Jackson and Richaun Holmes that means a run-in with Johnny Law. What does the recent legal troubles of the young Suns say about the Phoenix organization, if anything at all?

Southern Sun: It says that Josh Jackson makes bad decisions, if you hadn’t already realized that by watching him play basketball. It also says that certain people are more likely to get pulled over by police for things like seatbelt use, and then searched. But most people already know that. Richaun’s legal troubles were not concerning. I don’t think he’s coming back to the Suns, but neither this nor his play on the court are the reason why. Jackson is hopefully going to be traded, because he’s bone headed and doesn’t appear to be very good at his profession, but this may make the return even smaller.

Alex Sylvester: I don’t think it says much, personally. We already knew what Josh has gotten into during his time in Kansas so to hear about his incident recently didn’t come as a shock. Is it embarrassing? Sure. But this is who he’s been known to be, and hopefully for his sake as well as the franchise that Josh is able to mature before it’s too late.

Weed is a tricky subject considering laws that differ throughout the country and Richaun has been a stand up guy since he’s joined the organization so his arrest doesn’t do much for me. Plus, he’s a FA so if it is such a big deal the franchise can choose to let him walk.

GuarGuar: Josh has had off court issues going back to his days in Kansas. Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me he got arrested a few weeks ago. Holmes got caught driving with weed. I don’t think these arrests say anything that bad about the Phoenix Suns organization and culture. I think it’s about the individual. Don’t be stupid.

Kyle Glazier: I’m personally pretty hesitant to pile on and say that Jackson and Holmes’ arrests are evidence of the organization having a lawless or losing culture. Yes, the Suns have cultural problems, but these two are hardly the only NBA players to get popped lately. Jackson has been letting his temper get him in trouble since before he was in the NBA. I think these incidents display bad personal judgment much more than anything else.

Matthew Salenger: Josh and Holmes having run-ins with the law potentially shows two things, I think. This is conjecture on my part, of course, but we know these aren’t good signs of a well-run team.

a. Ryan McD didn’t bring in players with the highest characters. And it goes further back. He inherited Markieff, but he doubled down on Morrii with Marcus. Goodwin didn’t show the best decision making. Marquese Chriss had his issues. And now Josh and Holmes. And I feel like I’m leaving a couple of players out that belong on this list. In any case, I don’t think all these players were simply casualties of a badly run organization. Some of it is on them.

b. We have a badly run organization that, for the past 6-7 years, didn’t know how to make better men of these young players. They may have had flaws, but the team didn’t know how to wash them of those flaws and get the best of them.

2) If there is one thing that Suns fans can agree on, it is that Robert Sarver is not the best owner in the NBA. Recently there have been rumors that Sarver is exploring selling the team. Can the Suns return to relevance with Sarver as the owner? “Yes” answers will require you to show your work.

Southern Sun: Yes, the Suns can become relevant again under Sarver. All it will take is for him to just stop sticking his nose into everything. Let Monty coach. Let James Jones manage (with help from Jeff Bower). Just sign checks and smile and make an occasional appearance in the locker room after a big win and fist pump and give some high fives. Then go home to his mansion and roll around in all the money he makes by owning a team despite doing a horrendous job of it for one and a half decades.

Alex Sylvester: Yes they can, but it won’t be easy. The biggest negative of having Sarver around long term is perception around the league, and that doesn’t simply change overnight. I’m starting to like what I see from his this offseason but until the Suns start winning basketball games, I’m not going to say things are for the better quite yet.

My gut tells me if they’re able to pick up a somewhat big FA or trade for one this summer as well as retain Oubre, that will go a long way to show that they’re starting to put things together and are ready to rise from the ashes.

It won’t change overnight but even progress is a big deal for the Suns.

GuarGuar: I would absolutely LOVE for Sarver to sell team. He’s been the worst owner in the NBA for the past decade, and that isn’t an exaggeration. If he doesn’t sell though, I still believe we can return to relevance. As bad as Sarver has been, I think he realizes his mistakes now. And James Jones and Monty Williams have been very real about their relationships with Sarver, and how he has admitted his mistakes. Jones has said numerous times Sarver isn’t telling him what to do anymore. Booker and Ayton are also on really good terms with Sarver, so it’s not like our players hate him too. Time will tell whether he has changed.

SDKyle: Sure. But it does require him to actually get out of the way of himself at times. The Suns will win basketball games when they put on the floor a good roster under the guidance of a competent head coach. But even that won’t last if Sarver continues his past behavior of undermining the coaching staff and front office staff alike. He needs to learn to trust the people he’s put in place at least a little and at least for awhile. He keeps saying publicly he’s learned his lesson from his failures, but it’s time for him to either show it or make good on selling the team.

Sun-arc: I think the team could be great under Sarver. Seems somewhat unlikely- but maybe he has really turned the corner. If he really could stay out of the way, the team could come around.

3) Suns pre-draft workout talk is heating up. Based on the current composition of the team, what should the Suns be looking for ahead of next month’s NBA Draft?

Southern Sun: They should be looking for any and all ways to trade the pick. If they draft another project teen my fury will sweep down the corridors of Talking Stick Resort Arena with the force of a thousand winds. Trade the pick for a good in his prime contributing player who is a PG or PF, or trade the pick along with Tyler Johnson to a team with cap space for a young player on a rookie contract who has shown flashes, and open up more cap to sign in their prime contributing veterans who play either PG or PF.

If they have to draft a player with that pick, I honestly don’t really care who it is. Garland I guess? Coby White? Clarke? They play positions the Suns don’t have now, but they won’t be contributing rotation players who actually help the team win for another couple of years so whatever really. Some say Culver is a guy to go after, but isn’t he a shooting guard? Isn’t that like... the least necessary position to try to draft someone at? So no to him. Garland, White, or Clarke. But not because they excite me. I refuse to be excited about any of them. I don’t want any of them on the Suns because I want the Suns to stop stockpiling children.

Alex Sylvester: To keep it simple, a backup PG or PF. You hope you can get a guy at 6 whose able to play decent backup minutes next year without having to depend on a young rookie too much.

The pick in terms of trade value is entirely a different conversation.

GuarGuar: The Suns should be looking for a trade ahead of next month’s NBA Draft! I’m pretty against us continuing to rebuild through the draft, but if we are choosing players this year, we got to look at guys who can defend at a high level. We saw the effect a guy like Mikal had on our team last season. We desperately need good defenders. I’ll continue to bang the drum of draft Brandon Clarke at 6. Culver could also be a guy who fits our needs. But my #1 preference is package the pick to get a quality NBA player.

SDKyle: The best ballhandler and/or the best PF available. I don’t think this is incompatible with the best player available philosophy...but even if it were we need to start bringing some sensible roster construction to this team. We’ve seen what having SFs at PF and G-leaguers at PG looks like, and its not good.

Sun-arc: The team needs to find the BPA in the draft at #6, regardless of need. Of course I would rather they trade the pick for a player they actually need, but they need to be ready to draft the best they can so they can trade the player later in the summer or build them into an asset if a draft-night trade doesn’t materialize. As we’ve seen, those types of trades are often difficult to pull off.

As always, many thanks to our Fantable - GuarGuar, SDKyle, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex Sylvester - for all their extra effort every week!

Quote of the Week

“This particular situation, I think patience is going to be key. Allowing our team to grow, but at a rate where I don’t push them too hard. I could push my group that first year {with the New Orleans Hornets}, then we strip the team down then I had Anthony Davis, Tyreke (Evans), Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson. I learned that you have to let those guys grow at a slower pace. That’s not what fans want to hear all the time, but if you push them too hard you put them in a situation where they might not perform well. Not everybody’s ready to win a championship.”

—Monty Williams, on how this Suns team compares to his stripped-down Pelicans/Hornets after year one

News & Notes

Beyond the Bright Side...

Suns respond to rumor that team is quietly up for sale — ABC15

Devin Booker’s relationship with Monty Williams is pivotal to Suns success — AZCentral/Arizona Republic

Booker earns one third-team All-NBA vote — Arizona Sports

Sarver asks Colangelo’s advice on Monty Williams — Arizona Sports

Previewing the Weeks (and Months) Ahead

  • Early-mid June - Pre-draft workouts in Phoenix for contenders for 6th and 34th picks
  • June 10 - NBA Draft Early Entry Entrant Withdrawal Deadline (5 pm ET)
  • June 20 - NBA Draft 2019
  • July 1 - Official start of the 2019/20 NBA league year. July moratorium begins. NBA free agency officially begins (6:00 PM ET — earlier than any year before) and free agents can begin reaching verbal agreements with teams. Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet. Teams can begin signing players to rookie scale contracts, minimum salary contracts, and two-way contracts.
  • July 5-15 - NBA Summer League (Las Vegas)

This week’s poll


Will the Suns trade the No. 6 pick before the draft?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    (173 votes)
  • 50%
    (179 votes)
352 votes total Vote Now

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