Get ready for all the NBA season preview articles being written across the globe over the next month, where writers get to re-heat the negative hot takes on each Suns transaction over the summer, followed eventually by an admission that the team could double their win total over last year.
The latest comes from Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com, who spends 90 percent of his article crapping all over the Suns, then comes to this conclusion.
Would going from 19 to 34 wins really feel that much better, especially considering the downgrade in lottery odds? I don’t think so.
Yes, Dan. Yes it would feel that much better. How can you give the Suns a D+ when their most likely outcome is to nearly double their win total?
And that downgrade in lottery odds? Really? The “downgrade” in lottery odds is the exact opposite of what Dan implies. The downgrade in lottery odds actually favors the 30-win teams while lowering the chances of the 20-win teams to get a top-three pick. This past June, three of the four top picks went to 30-plus win teams.
But what bothers me the most is that Dan implies the Suns ditched the whole youth and asset-collection movement in order to win 30 games, while having “fewer resources to use when the Booker and Ayton are actually ready to win”.
Technically, Dan has a point. The Suns indeed have fewer extra second round picks laying around, and fewer failed lottery picks riding the bench. They were replaced by actual NBA players on short-term deals.
Here’s the tale of the tape:
If you’re a big fan of second round picks, the Suns squandered a handful of them this summer in their various trades and roster moves.
Otherwise, I believe the Suns are in pretty good shape going forward with a pair of future All-Stars in Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker, a handful of young rotation players and a boatload of resources to continue building around those two.
This year alone, the Suns have the perfect trade assets to acquire a power forward upgrade, with a young starting-caliber player in Dario Saric and huge expiring contract — as well as solid rotation player — in Tyler Johnson.
In fact, the Suns could swap up to $34 million in expiring contracts this season to a team wanting to move on from their All-Star level power forward for a quick reboot. What if, say, Detroit has a difficult start to the season and wants a clean slate? They could trade Blake Griffin to the Suns for a younger starter who is a restricted free agent, a future first round pick or two, and a cleared-up cap sheet. Same goes for Cleveland, if Kevin Love is back to health (though I’m not excited about a 30-something on a four-year big money contract). Or what of Philly — can they really afford to keep all those big long-term salaries together once Simmons’ contract kicks in? Same question in Golden State.
Nah, Dan, the Suns are in excellent shape while they climb out of the muck and back into NBA relevance.