Welcome to ‘Inside the Suns’, your weekly deep down analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.
First up, the Fantable — a round table of Bright Siders who give their takes on the Suns latest issues and news.
Fantable Questions of the Week
Q1 - Reports are that even though Robert Sarver does not own the Phoenix Suns in full, he has the authority, as the team’s managing partner, to sell the team in full to whomever he chooses (with the approval of the other owners). Does this concern you in any way?
GuarGuar: I hope Sarver would just take the best offer and from someone who wants the team to win. That being said I could definitely see him being petty and selling to some investor group who only cares about a profit. So I do have some concerns about who he exactly chooses to sell to. That being said it’s hard to get a worse owner than Sarver.
OldAz: Not really. Any choice has to be approved by the other owners, which offers some stability to the process. Also, regardless of the outcome we fans won’t know if the new owner (or group) is good or bad for a few years. They could be the richest person in the world but be meddlesome and terrible in their player and personnel evaluations. Similarly, Michael Jordan has been an owner for over a decade and has not shown nearly the aptitude that many expected after his playing career. The worst outcome is an ownership group that will be limited financially, as that is not something that typically changes and improves over time.
Jim C: Maybe a little bit. I’m guessing that Sarver’s focus will be on the highest offer... irrespective of whether that person/group is actually interested in and passionate about the team and winning a championship for the community and the team’s fans everywhere.
But...isn’t that what most people would do? The asking price would be the first priority and finding a person dedicated to winning would be second (or even lower). Then you have to ask yourself, “Is Sarver the type of guy who will purposely look for someone who isn’t a rabid basketball fan?” I don’t know about him “sticking it to the team”, but obviously he isn’t unicorns and rainbows about leaving under these circumstances.
Rod: It concerns me only slightly as I doubt he’s going to care much who he sells it to as long as they’ve got the cash. Thankfully, his word isn’t the final one on a deal going through.
Q2 - With Sarver on his way out, do you think that we’ll see any difference in the way Suns games are refereed this season?
GuarGuar: What a great and fun question haha. Depending on who our new owner is I could definitely see us getting a few more calls than usual. It’s on the record many refs hated Sarver so it wouldn’t surprise me to see a little bit of a shift in the refereeing of our games.
OldAz: Great question! It is indisputable that some of the past animus from officials has been due to Sarver and many of his early actions as owner. However, much of this has persisted a long time despite Sarver toning down his public antics and putting a better team on the floor. I am always hopeful games are officiated even, but also aware that almost every fan of every team truly believes they get the short end of the calls. This fan perspective will not change.
Jim C: Well Sarver wasn’t well liked around the league, and maybe that subconsciously affects officiating, but I doubt we will see anything dramatic.
First, I don’t think Chris Paul is well liked by referees around the league.
Second, just as we saw in the playoffs, other teams seem to be more aggressive than the Suns at attacking the basket. The ball finds activity, the whistle finds aggression. The Suns don’t get to the line much... because they don’t have the type of guys that get to the line.
What would probably help the Suns get more “referee respect” is Ayton attacking the rim and getting to the line 2.4 times a game. The refs do seem to have it in for the Suns at times, but I don’t feel the Suns help themselves much. Going back to San Antonio, it always seems the Suns are the less physical team... especially in the playoffs. Once a team has a reputation as being soft... they can’t just try to turn on the toughness. Nobody buys it.
Rod: We might. Tim Donaghy admitted that a lot of refs hated Sarver for the way he berated referees and said “When something can go either way they’re gonna make it go against him (Sarver)”. Some of that may persist until the team is actually sold but having Sarver no longer in the arena should at least get the Suns a few more evenly called games.
Q3 - This Monday is Media Day. If you could ask anyone there a single question and be assured of a completely honest answer, what would that question be?
GuarGuar: I’d like to ask Monty Williams why he refused to change his pick and roll coverage on Luka in the playoffs. We stayed with this soft coverage and he abused it all series. My concern with Monty is his lack of in game adjustments if his initial plan doesn’t work.
OldAz: I would love to ask James a Jones about his long term plans for life after CP3. For example, how long does he really believe CP3 can continue to be effective, how urgent is the PG position to address this year or next? To me this is the Suns #1 need for continuing to be competitive, but if Jones disagrees it would be nice to know so I could get over it and simply enjoy the run while it lasts.
Jim C: Monty Williams, “What really happened with DA in that game?”
Rod: My question would be for James Jones. ”Why did you pass on drafting Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 draft?” I’m not one to cry over spilled milk but I’d really like to know why and put all the speculation to rest.
Bonus Q - I’d say that the odds of the team being moved after it’s sold are right at zero. What are your opinions?
GuarGuar: I’d say there’s next to no chance of this team being moved. There’s been reports that during the preseason we will learn about two new expansion teams. I can’t imagine that moving the Suns would even be entertained let alone happen.
OldAz: Anything is possible, but I believe this is a fairly minute possibility. I think the current ownership group, other NBA owners, or city may take steps to get assurances on not moving the team before approving any sale.
Jim C: It wouldn’t make sense to leave this market, and I’ve actually heard quite a few people say that a better owner could make the Suns one of THE premiere destinations in the league.
I just can’t even imagine the team leaving. I would be absolutely devastated. I’m more optimistic about the future of the team (here in Phoenix) than I was all summer.
Rod: My opinion is in the question but as good as this team is now and the backing it gets from the fans makes it virtually impossible for the NBA to approve it being moved. If this had happened 4 years ago... I might have had a few worries. Playoff teams don’t move but a 19-63 team that hadn’t made the playoffs in a decade???
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members for all their extra effort this week!
Interesting Suns Stuff
The Suns have been a sleeping giant for a long time - Zach Lowe on Suns’ future | NBA Today
PHOENIX SUNS: Frank Jackson
Robert Sarver’s Phoenix Suns Sale Could Fetch $2.5 Billion | Forbes
Last Week’s poll results
Last week’s poll was “Do you think that the building pressure on Sarver to leave will eventually get him to resign as managing partner of the Suns?”
65% - Yes.
35% - No.
A total of 213 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
Will the Suns’ games be more fairly refereed now that Robert Sarver is on his way out?
This poll is closed