Phoenix Suns’ future not as bleak as future power rankings say, although stars still needed


It’s become a tradition for the Phoenix Suns to fare poorly in ESPN’s future power rankings, and the edition released this week provided no exception.

The rankings by ESPN’s John Hollinger and Chad Ford slotted the Suns’ future 29th for the next three years thanks to a No. 28 ranking in players and No. 29 for management. The Suns did much better in draft (fourth), market (ninth) and money (12th), but since players are graded on a 400-point scale, management and money 200 and market and draft just 100, Phoenix is weak in the wrong areas.

The Suns originally fell to 29th in February’s edition, but they have been in the bottom fifth of the league since ESPN started publishing these rankings in Nov. 2009 when they were 27th. The Suns also ranked 26th in December 2009, 25th in March 2010 (albeit with fewer points than they have in the current edition), 27th in August 2010, 26th in December 2010 and 26th in March 2011.

The original projections were for the three-year period encompassing 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13, and in that time the Suns have been two games under .500 thus far, which is the definition of mediocre rather than bottom-five bad.

For this point in time, Hollinger and Ford wrote:

The Suns have bottomed out, falling from 26th to next-to-last.

Our prediction in February was that they “might just stay there a while.” Six months later, despite a flurry of offseason moves, very little has changed.

Steve Nash and Grant Hill are gone. So are Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress. In their stead, the Suns have brought in Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson.

Dragic was a nice pickup. Scola, obtained via the amnesty waiver wire, came at a bargain. And obviously both Beasley (the No. 2 pick in the draft in 2008) and Johnson (the No. 4 pick in the draft in 2010) have talent. Marcin Gortat remains a bright spot. Markieff Morris showed some promise as a rookie. Kendall Marshall was the best pure point guard in the draft his year, though taking him at No. 13 seemed like a reach.

Nevertheless, we believe that only the Bobcats and Magic are in worse shape from a players perspective.

We’re pinning much of the blame on owner Robert Saver. He’s the worst type of owner — both a spendthrift and a meddler who doesn’t really know basketball. It’s virtually impossible for us to rate the job GM Lon Babby has done because of Saver’s influence on basketball decisions.

The only good news for Suns fans? The team should have its own high draft pick this summer and is due picks from the Grizzlies and Lakers in coming years.

I understand the Suns are not exactly in the best spot for future success, but after what I consider a productive offseason I don’t get how only the Bobcats could have a worse future. Orlando, for example, just traded its franchise center for scraps and still has a host of cap-clogging contracts on its books and no impact youth. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better for them.

The Suns, meanwhile, are in an enviable cap situation and have brought on a host of talented young players. They likely possess six first-rounders in the next three drafts, and this offseason management has shown a penchant for making cap-smart moves. Add in a very tradable Luis Scola contract next summer, and I feel the Suns are positioned to be a playoff team in the near future.

The big question mark to me is how can the Suns acquire a star-caliber player? Until they do that (and then acquire one or two more), they don’t have much of a shot at legitimately contending for a championship in this super team era.

Had the Suns landed Eric Gordon to be a B-level star (a move I supported very much, by the way) with the bulk of their future cap space, I was thinking the Suns were locking themselves into an old Atlanta Hawks-like future whereby they could grow into a No. 4 or 5 annual team in the conference with a fun young squad that did not have much of a shot at a championship.

I have been in favor of almost all of the Suns’ moves this offseason with the one caveat being they came no closer to acquiring the kind of star that can lead a team to a title, and in some ways the solid signings could hurt them since it could prevent them from truly bottoming out and taking a chance in the lottery.

This summer was tangible proof that the Suns never plan on tanking their way back to respectability, which is probably a good thing after seeing what losing does for the average lottery team.

All that being said, I feel the Suns are in a great spot to rise to respectability post-Nash much quicker than could have been expected, and they possess a nice core of young players that should gel into an annual playoff threat.

With their combination of talented young players, cap flexibility, draft picks and a front office that deserves kudos for the job it did this summer, I don’t understand how 28 teams could be blessed with a brighter future than the Suns.

Preseason schedule announced

The Phoenix Suns revealed their preseason schedule that will include three home games, three roadies and one neutral site contest to gear up for the season.

The full schedule is as follows:

 Suns offseason grades

NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper gave the Suns a C+ for their summer, writing that Phoenix “has something real developing” if it gets solid point guard play.

ESPN’s Ford handed the Suns a C but was not as optimistic, writing:

The one bright spot this summer was the addition of Dragic. He’s not Nash, but he is a good, young point guard who fits the Suns’ system. If you ignore the fact that Phoenix traded Dragic away to the Rockets a year ago — and gave the Rockets a first-round pick to take him — he was a solid pickup.

The addition of Scola should also help though the Suns interest in him is a little puzzling. Scola can play, but he’s 32 and can’t be thrilled to be landing on a rebuilding team at this point in his career. Scola is better than the Suns’ other options at the 4 — Markieff Morris and Channing Frye — but he’s not enough to put them back into the playoffs in the West.

The rest of the team is a work in progress.

  • Zack B.

    Amazing. I completely agree and will we just prove the critics wrong. We’re a top 20 team come on now. I don’t think we will ever be favorites, even when we do get that star (even though I think we have him in Beasley, mark my words). We will always be an underdog team. But to say only the Bobcats and Magic are worse? What an insult. I can’t wait to see the day we get a bandwagon, because nobody will expect us to rise out of nowhere like we will within the next few years. I know I’m optimistic but if this roster plays to its potential and the second chances pay off, we can be like OKC. Best case scenario: 6-8th seed next season, first round upset or lose in the first round. Worst case scenario: miss Playoffs, get a nice draft pick. Sucks that Iggy will be off the market (wants an extension with Nuggets) but if we can’t get Harden, Tyreke Evans should definitely be the next choice for next summer. These critics judge based on performance in the past. I’m judging by potential. That’s what we have an abundance of now.

  • Zack B.

    We will**. My bad. I was rage typing at the beginning.

  • Red

    Sounds like a lot of nonsense to me – as the Suns actually had a reasonable team over the past few seasons, either just or just not making the playoffs.

    What about Orlando indeed. Charlotte won’t have shot up!

  • Red

    And indeed, if the team stays healthy – I don’t see why Phoenix can’t challenge for the playoffs.

  • HankS

    Yes, the future ranking seems quite ridiculous. The Suns have no big contracts to weigh them down, lots of pics and mostly young players who will either prove themselves, or be gone before too long. As much as I hate Nash being gone, the situation is much more hopeful than last year, when the Suns were old, getting older and going nowhere.

    Another team I’m sincerely sorry for is the Rockets. They have handed out two crazy contracts for Lin and Asik, stripped the team of all proven talent except Kevin Martin, and added a kindergarten… lots of things will have to come up right for the Rockets not to be the worst NBA team this season!

  • KayGee19

    The experts are right……at least for right now! And the reason they are right because of two words, Robert Sarver!! That guy don’t know squat about championship basketball, he’s cheap and not knowledgeable enough of the game! The Buses for instance, don’t care about luxury taxes or crazy contracts, you know why, because Dr Jerry Buss wants to win championships which is why those lucky bastards got a lineup that includes four allstars: Nash Bryant Gasol & now Howard! So yeah ESPN is right, we dnt have a future unless they can get a Harden & Kevin Love to along with an Iggy or Josh Smith! Which are all possible!! BUT THAT SARVER WONT MAKE IT HAPPEN BECAUSE HE’S A JOKE & A TERRIBLE OWNER! CHARLES BARKLEY BUY THE SUNS PLEEEAAASE!! He’d do it right I betcha!

  • KayGee19

    BTW bring Michael Redd back dammit! He was nice off the bench! Like that J.O pick though he’s an underrated signing!

  • Joe

    I’m optimistic that Beasley will pull it together and be an 18 an 8 guy, Johnson will be an excellent back-up, O’Neal will stay relatively healthy and be a 10 and 8 guy. O’Neal and Scola will add a bit of much needed nastiness to the team. That will influence Frye and he’ll finally start to stick his nose in there and play like the talented 7 footer he is. And we’ll make the playoffs as the 6th or 7th seed and no one will want to play us in the first round, not even the Lakers because they’ll be battling injuries. ;)
    It’s not really out of the question when you think about it.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    The rankings are right on the money.

    Us Suns fans have to defend this new team because, well, we’re Suns fans, but when you break it down, it’s right on the money going ‘into the season.’

    Sure, most of the financial weight has been unloaded in terms of certain players on silly contracts that were overpriced, but the fact remains that the roster as currently constructed and at the moment unproven as a unit would not bring any sort of confidence from anybody looking in at the organization.

    The Suns are young and they have a couple of good players going in the right direction, (Dragon & THORTAT!?!?!), a couple more players who are at their ceiling but contribute, (JMZ & Scola), and A LOT of unproven or underwhelming players.

    While a lot of other teams destroyed to rebuild a year or two ago, Phoenix just started the process so they are behind in that aspect as well.

    It will be up to coach Gentry to figure things out quickly and get these guys to produce for him. If that happens then the Suns ranking will skyrocket.

    For now though, it is what it is and I’m okay with that.

  • Andres

    Well, lets prove them wrong once again!
    Its too funny to see the positive comments from the analysts regarding the talent that the team has yet they are second to last on the rankings.

  • steve

    It would be tough for an “expert” to predict anything else for the Suns heading into the next few years. Everything is an unknown about the players and how they will mesh. I understand that.

    But these rankings have never meant a thing. The Suns have been far from a bottom-fifth team since these rankings have been around, and I have never seen one ounce of empirical data to substantiate any of the claims made through these rankings.

    If the Suns don’t mesh at all, I can see them winning only 25 games. If they mesh very well, I can see them winning 45 games. When all is said and done, I think they’ll be right around 35 wins with more looking up than looking down. In my book, that would put them very far from being the 29th best team in the league over the next three years.

    By the way, this sentence alone should be enough to prove that the Suns are headed in the right direction:

    “So are Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress.” (Speaking about players who are no longer with the team). Enough said.

  • Antwuan

    Good Article And I Agree.

    The Suns have a solid young team with some potential.

    From the financial side the Suns got rid of bad contracts (Warrick & Childress) and they have aquired draft picks 6 1st Round Picks in the next 3 years, 4 2nd Round Draft Picks.

    The Suns are set to rebuild while having a solid young team with the moves that they have made this offseason, I like every move the Suns made this offseason. Im looking forward to this season & future with the Suns.

    The Suns are headed in the right direction.

    Go Suns!!!

  • Ryan

    Sometimes I like what Ford and Hollinger come up with, but this future rankings stuff has been garbage from the beginning. This future rankings stuff as I read it looks like the crap Bucher and Brousard would come out with. Really, after the last year of the Dwightmare and what Orlando got in return if you say that Orlando has the 24th ranked managment you’ve lost all credibility with me. Even the Wizards, Bobcats, and Kings should be offended they graded worse in the management catergory. Ford had another good one in the offseason grades article. When grading the Hornets off season he writes concerning Lopez “a young center with tons of potential.” Yeah good luck with that NO

  • sun also rises

    @Zack B. Reminds me of a few years back when the Sixers put Iggy on the table for a trade with STAT (before we let him walk) and how everybody on the board lost their poop over how the Suns FO was slumming it, how the guy was nothing but a role playing bum and how it would be a better idea to hold onto Amare until after the AS break and try to match offers on him.

    Just goes to show that most “fans” know about as much as these statistic monkeys do when it comes to the long view. lolol.

  • Ryan

    @Steve
    Couldn’t agree more on that last sentence, and as far as the Hill and Nash being gone, how come is it in all previous future rankings Hollinger and Ford always pointed out the age of those two as if to say future wise they were never a plus anyway. It’s just garbage writing and analysis.

  • steve

    @Ryan

    I’m pretty sure it’s personal between Hollinger and Sarver. Either that, or he’s just hopping on the hate bandwagon for the attention and clicks. Even Bill Simmons (whose articles are laced with overstated satire) doesn’t hate on Sarver as much as Hollinger.

    Maybe Sarver stole his woman or killed his dog, I don’t know, but Hollinger’s hate of Sarver is almost as creepy and obsessive as Tony’s.

  • Scott

    ESPN chronically picks the Suns to underperform, and then no one is really surprised when they outperform. The Suns apparently defy characterization by the numbers.

    The Suns will play better than the projected #28 talent level.

    Also, the Suns’ management is better than #29. Teams with worse (or at least not better) management include: Houston, Sacramento, New Orleans, Cleveland, DC, Golden State, Orlando, New Jersey, New York, Milwaukee, Utah, Minnesota, LA (Clippers), and Charlotte.

    That said, part of why the Suns will do better than predicted this year is because of developing potential.

    While it won’t show up in numeric predictive logic, it’s reasonable to assume Dragic will perform better this year with a full training camp, a veteran starting squad, and the unchallenged leadership of the team. Likewise, Marshall, a rookie, has no past in the NBA for the stats to figure, but if he avoids injury, after a possibly rocky start he’ll be an outstanding backup PG.

    Where I project the Suns will struggle is trying to fit Beasley into the lineup. To me, it’s quite possible that the team will function better with Dudley and WJ at SF. Beasley’s inefficient offense and lackluster SF defense could easily turn him into the next Childress. The only time he’s guaranteed to shine is if he gets bench unit play at PF, which is below his new pay grade.

    However, Beasley will play better at backup PF than Morris, so it’s possible that at least until midseason trades occur, Morris will be riding the bench, along with Frye and either Tucker or Telfair.

    I think this is what ought to come out of training camp …

    Starters: Dragic, Brown, Dudley, Scola, Gortat

    2nd unit: Marshall, Telfair/Tucker, Wes Johnson, Beasley, JO.

    If Telfair is playing at SG, the idea is that not only would he provide some training wheels on offense for the rookie, but he’d also switch off on defense with Marshall to cover faster PGs.

    Beasley (instead of Morris) would play with Marshall because the second unit will stall out unless there’s someone who can create their own shot. Since Marshall doesn’t even have that move himself, he’ll need help from a veteran volume chucker.

  • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.ca JT’s Hoops Blog

    Hollinger having the suns at 26th is awfully low because they have a rather good team. They have an up and coming young PG in Goran Dragic who lit it up at the end of last season for the Rockets. They also added some fresh young talent in Wesley Johnson and Michael Beasley who will look to have breakout years. Add the pickup of Luis Scola and the Suns certainly have a team that will shock onlookers.

  • bill.thomas62

    The Wizards, Bobcats, Magic, Pistons and Rockets clearly will all be worse than us unless one of them (only the Rockets could do it) pulls off a major trade.

    The Kings, Warriers, Cavs, Hornets, and Bucks look to be no more taleted than us, less cohesive, less well-coached, and have less constructive NBA experience and no big game or playoff experience. We have that in Scola, O’Neal, Frye, Gortat, Brown and Dragic. Was anybody really looking at these rosters when conjuring up that stupid article?

    The Blazers are not much more talented than us, in fact they’re really no better than equally talented. The Hawks are somewhat better than that but have various flaws. The Bulls are superior but notby much at all if their injury issues arise again. We consistently beat the Knicks in the past with Nash and I think we can do it again with Dragic.

    Philly, Boston, the Lakers, Clips, Grizzlies, Heat, Spurs, Utah, Denver and Dallas will give us trouble but pprobably only the Lakes, Heat and Spurs are really capable of sweeping us.

    This seems to leave us no worse than middle-of-the pack with an up-and-coming team.

    Phhooey on the talking bubbleheads. The team would have to mentally implode or have the worst injuries in the league to fall so low.

    And neither of these will happen.

  • sun also rises

    @bill.thomas26 Real talk!

  • sun also rises

    Also, roflawful at JT’s usual trash post: the article has us at 29th, Einstein. If I didn’t know better I would guess that you were copying and pasting the same comment on a bunch of blogs with the player names changed…. but that would be a crazy waste of time and energy right?

  • bill.thomas62

    Forgot the Wolves, they may well be more talented but I thibk we can play them to a standstill if we put our minds to it and have good coaching. This thought re. physical and mental effort really trumps just about everything, as we are talented enough to beat nearly any given team on any given night.

    Also forgot OKC, my guess is we could at least win 1 out of 3 there.

  • bill.thomas62

    @sunalso rises, thanks man, nice to get some love.

  • Eric

    This is a solid evaluation. Maybe Hollinger is bitter because the ssol suns are gone for good. One thing’s for sure though, we’re underdogs.

  • Anthony Lane

    What star do you think they would be able to get in the future??

  • Ty-Sun

    I still think that defense is going to be one of the keys as to how good or bad this team is this season. I think Turner has more defensive material to work with than last season. I don’t expect the Suns to suddenly turn into a lock-down defensive team but they have the potential to be much better defensively than the Suns have been in many years.

    I am really looking forward to seeing how the Suns do this year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sunsspot Phoenix Rising

    Ty-Sun I think success has always come down to whether or not a team can get stops when they need them. Every championship team in recent memory has had this ability and been able to perform at least admirably on the offensive end.

    As for this year I think we will struggle in the beginning half of the year to score effectively, so we will have to rely heavily on defense. As the year goes on, though, Goran will settle in and become the leader we all knew he could be and the Suns will be a potent threat.

    The real question in my mind is whether or not they can do it in time to turn the season around and sneak into the 7th or 8th seed.

    I think the stars are there: Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat minus the lack of a super talented shooting guard the team has the potential to really put points up in a hurry. And on the defensive end, if they can give 100 % they could cause some serious problems with their length and quickness.

    So with a couple years of development our team has some serious stars right in front of us.

    The real promise still comes from the bench and Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall both with promising careers. I expect to see a breakout year from Morris, keep your eyes on him!

  • Scott

    OMG … Houston decided it didn’t have enough players, so they picked up Delfino.

    What is going on over there? And is there any way the Suns can take advantage of them? ;)

  • http://n/a Chris

    im sorry, i love the suns and hope they do great things, but with how the other teams are being built these days (Big 3 Fever), i hope we suck for a few years. We have no superstars and the way our team is build right now, we will not be competing for a championship anytime in the next 5 years. That being said, I hope the suns suck for the next 5 or so years. There are a or some lebron type talent that will be coming up in high school that we could totally use. That is the only way we will become championship worthy. We will not get a superstar to come to AZ. I love nash but he was a flute, he didnt become a superstar till he came to AZ and that progression rarely happens. The only way will will be able to compete for a championship is through the draft. We will need those high draft picks over the next 5 years. I hope i am wrong and the suns surprise me and the whole nba like when nash showed up, but it isnt likely.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Phoenix Rising – That’s why I keep hoping that the Suns concentrate on defense this year. Defensive chemistry is easier to develop than offensive chemistry. Good defense generates offense too. I think that the Suns should be an improved defensive and rebounding team this year. The offense will come if the defense delivers.

  • Ty-Sun

    I’ve been harping about defense a lot but Gentry should just tell Beasley to concentrate on scoring. Beasley is the one guy the Suns have that has the potential to score 30+ points on any given night so they should just tell him to concentrate on scoring. Whatever defense he plays will be a plus but counting on him to be a defensive stopper at either the 3 or 4 is a pipe dream. If he can’t score at or near 20 ppg then I’ll admit that he is a bust and the Suns should have never signed him. But they signed him hoping he would be a scorer not a defender.

  • Tony

    I see objectivity is predominately missing in the VOTS community today! While I disagree with Hollinger picking the Suns 29th over the next three years, he really isn’t too far off from what will likely be even more below-average Suns teams’.

    It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone why the Suns are predicted to perform so poorly. Firstly, the Suns main additions are either underachievers or past their prime. There’s simply not enough evidence to expect Beasley or Johnson having breakout years, when they haven’t done so the past few seasons. While Dragic has the potential to continue to improve, even he’s still an uncertain as to how he will perform as a starting pg over an 82-game. As far as Scola is concerned, at least he’s a proven player and the Suns have a good indication about what he will bring. The same cannot be said for any of the other new additions. The Suns FO is banking on a hope that Dragic’s 28-game breakout was not just a fluke, that moving them to a new city and team will rejuvanate the careers of Beasley and Johnson, and that Marshall deserved to be picked 13th. The point is that with so many variables and unknowns, it’s reasonable to conclude that the Suns won’t be any good, just by reviewing the past few seasons of many of the Suns players.

    Secondly, to succeed in the NBA, teams have to have star players. Without having a star player, the Suns will remain irrelevant and won’t get the respect from the rest of the league, including the officials. By losing Nash and not replacing him with a star player, it will be extremely difficult for the Suns to develop an identity without him. Moreover, having a star player provides a team with a solid foundation to build around and other players are more apt to accept their roles when they know their not expected to be “the man” on the team. With the Suns likely going to start the season poorly, just due to lack of team chemistry, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Suns players forget about the team concept and start to become selfish and build their individual statistics to deflect blame away from them.

    Lastly, being an irrelevant franchise and without a star player will also make recruiting top players even more difficult. At this point, the Suns best chance for getting a franchise player is by the draft, but they aren’t bad enough to land a top-3 pick. And let’s not pretend that the draft picks the Suns are acquiring will turn out to be gold. They will be 29th-30th picks in the draft, and it’s unlikely the Suns keep all of them anyway.

    Although Hollinger was probably too harsh about ranking the Suns 29th, he was spot on where he ranked Suns ownership. Winning starts at the top and unfortunately for us, Sarver’s incompetence and penny-pinching has turned what once was an elite team he inherited in 2004 to a perennial lottery team. I just wonder at what point some of these dingbats will stop buying into his koolaid and demand better management? Hopefully sooner rather than later…

  • sun also rises

    98% of a coherent post that folks could agree with before he had to give in to the voices in his head and start with the usual garbage. Almost made it.

  • bill.thomas62

    @Scott, yeah, ESPN makes it appear the Rockets have 20 players under contract. Crazy situation. Someone & likely a few will take advantage but my guess is that it will have to await McHale’s eval. and training camp-end cuts.

    My guess is that at least 2 of 3 of JaJuan Johnson, Marcus Morris and Sean Williams will be available (i.e., cut) after their camp. If Frye is on disability until January, it would make sense to bring them in for workouts and pick one. I really don’t know what to expect as far as Frye coming back, as the case of Al Horford seems to show this type of injury can be a bear. Don’t want/need to rush Frye.

    Others on Rocket roster who may be avail. don’t look interesting. Of course if they cut Parsons, we should grab him. I don’t envy McHale, maybe he should hire a hit man for Morey, LOL !!!!!!!!

    And what about signing Barbosa if we want to win some games ?????

  • Scott

    @bill -

    Barbosa probably wants a bigger contract than what the Suns want to pay someone. Also, the Suns may not have minutes for him, depending on how they play people. However, if he was willing to take the veteran minimum, he’d probably be a better fit for the team than Telfair.

    One Rocket I like and keep mentioning is Royce White. With their IQ and passing, I think he and Marshall could make a great duo for the future.

    Lamb and Motie are good, and probably the best young players on the team, but I don’t see the Rockets parting with them. Of the rookies, I think White and Jones are the most likely to get dealt, and seeing as the Rockets currently have 8 or so PFs on the roster, I’d like to see the Suns make a play to get White. I wouldn’t give up the farm for him, but maybe offer them a Laker first in exchange, which would help them trim the roster and yet give them another asset.

    Parsons surprised me. When he was in the draft, I didn’t think he’d be starter material … but he did okay. He’s not a star, but if he keeps working on his shooting he could be a solid player. He’s certainly worth his current contract (less than $1m).

  • Ty-Sun

    I like R. White too but I doubt Houston would let him go for just one of the Lakers picks. As low as the Lakers picks will probably be, I wouldn’t be upset if the Suns offered both of them to get White if Houston said no to just one.

  • Scott

    @Ty-Sun -

    I wouldn’t give the Rockets so much. It’s important to get good deals on players and avoid overpaying. One pick is reasonable for White; and if that’s not enough for Houston, then just move on.

    White has promise, but he’s unproven, and the Rockets have way too many players. Offering them a pick for White would help them. My understanding is that White won’t be starting. He quite possibly won’t even be coming off the bench. So Houston will probably be looking for someone to take him off their hands, as he’s too valuable to cut but not ready to play with their particular lineup.

    If the Suns were to get him, I think it would ensure that they could trade Scola in the summer without worrying about losing quality depth at PF.

  • Aquafina

    Harden looks like leaving the thunder next year. I bet the suns looking good to get him

  • essay

    Kind of stinks to keep hoping for a likely short playoff run as a 4-8 seed, or, both literally and figuratively, winning the lottery. Though this team’s chemistry will prove a major credit, I fear a second-round exit is the best/worst to pine for. The ESPN folks ranked them so lowly because of, not despite, the assured middle road taken by the team post-Amare.

  • Scott

    @essay -

    IIRC, the ESPN folks chronically ranked the Suns low even when Amare was on the team.

  • http://www.yourconstantcompanion.com dice8up

    2nd to the last!!! that’s outrageous! We couldn’t be worst than the bobcats…

  • http://www.yourconstantcompanion.com dice8up

    @Scott…. agree… guys at ESPN are paid handsomely to get hits… they’ve always been amiss in their pre season rankings.