As we enter a second month of no basketball (or any sport, really), it’s clear that some of the league’s players are spending more time than ever before plugged into their social media accounts. With nothing to watch except classic games and HORSE tournaments, there’s plenty of reminiscing to be done.
One player looking back on simpler times is Isaiah Thomas. The former Sun took to Instagram the other day to post the classic media day picture of him holding onto the same basketball as Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. He included the caption “this would’ve worked in today’s game lol.”
The 2014-15 Suns were equally a spectacular experiment and a spectacular failure. Coming off a 48-34 season, the idea was to add even more offensive firepower to push the team to the next level.
And indeed, from a pure strategy standpoint, much of that seemed to be working. The Suns entered February 2015 with a 28-20 record. They also boasted positive net ratings whenever all three point guards shared the floor (which typically only happened a few minutes per game).
But for a handful of reasons, everything fell apart. Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee were not the same players that they were the season prior. The Morris twins seemed determined to rack up detrimental technical fouls, going so far as to curse out head coach Jeff Hornacek during a national TV game. Even the lovable P.J. Tucker had his own demons to battle, having missed the first three games of the season due to a “super extreme” DUI that forced a suspension.
But the biggest reason of all was Goran Dragic’s diminishing role, leading to an unbridgeable gap in his relationship with the front office. He demanded a trade shortly before the trade deadline, and the Suns proceeded to go just 10-18 following the All-Star break.
Despite the obvious chemistry issues, perhaps IT has a point in that more and more modern teams seem to be swiping the approach of the ‘15 Suns. If not by literally putting three point guards in the same lineup, then at least by placing an added emphasis on having multiple “primary” ball handlers and by playing small ball. If the ‘15 Suns existed today, maybe P.J. Tucker would be playing PF/C like he does for the Rockets.
Let’s also note that the ‘15 Suns took 25 threes per game, which ranked 10th in the NBA at the time. Today, that would rank dead last. If this team existed today, expect every single rotation player to be firing away consistently from downtown. Perhaps that would make the constant penetration from Thomas/Bledsoe/Dragic even more deadly.
What do you think, Suns fans? Is IT right? Was that team dismantled before it could reach its full potential?