New eras of NBA basketball teams come with skepticism. That skepticism is hard to argue against considering winning teams are built upon consistency in the lack of roster turnover and in the front office.
The Phoenix Suns have little of either.
Yet they also had little choice. Sooner or later, they’d have to face the end of the Steve Nash era, and at no point would anyone see the post-Nash Suns being successful off the bat. In speaking of the skepticism of roster turnover on NBA teams, chemistry appears at the top of the list for why a team in Phoenix’s position could fail.
But here they are. The Suns hold Media Day on Monday and will haul straight to La Jolla, Calif., for training camp. Let the answers begin to unfold.
Before Phoenix faces the tough reality of rebuilding, we can ask the question, “Why not?”
Why can’t a team of misfits become a winner off the bat? Pending the potential untapped talent coming to fruition, here’s an argument that it can happen. CBS college hoops blogger Jeff Borzello wrote about NCAA teams like Iowa State and USC trending toward building their teams off transfers, and I couldn’t help but think of the Suns.
This is, after all, a team where second chances and proving doubters wrong will permeate through the new locker room culture, not only as a team but individually. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.
At Iowa State, coach Fred Hoiberg turned the risk of a team of guys looking for second chances into a success story, leading the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament where they eventually lost to the national champion Kentucky Wildcats in the third round.
Could the Suns find inspiration in that?
They filled in Nash’s spot with Goran Dragic, and those in Phoenix can only hope it goes even half as smoothly as sports’ most recent example of protégé success stories — the Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers transition for the Green Bay Packers. Dragic is, by the way, the pure definition of second chances for the franchise, but he’s one new piece of many in Phoenix.
Michael Beasley is looking for opportunity and his place in the NBA much like an NCAA transfer — the high-profile guy who didn’t click with his coach and needed a change in environment. Same with Wesley Johnson, who struggled to find his confidence in Minnesota.
The chip-on-my-shoulder attitude could be the storyline from every player, from Marcin Gortat to P.J. Tucker.
Like all the returnees, Gortat must prove he can produce without the help of Nash. Tucker comes into his second try in the NBA with a professional attitude he developed in Europe. Even old man Jermaine O’Neal will be proving to doubters that he still has enough juice in his legs to contribute.
On paper, it’s a mess of players who didn’t pan out elsewhere. But similar to the case at Iowa State, the Suns have the chemistry master in Alvin Gentry. He’ll need to prove that his tactics will work with a rebuilding squad just as well as a playoff contender, and that will be learned as this year progresses.
If all goes well, call him the Fred Hoiberg of the NBA.
The Suns unveiled their new court on Wednesday, and it’ll probably rattle those of you who don’t like drastic change, especially when that change pushes memories aside. The biggest omission from the new court would be the striking lack of purple, which goes in line with the Planet Orange marketing campaigns of the last few years.
This offseason marked a good point for the team to make such changes considering the new era the Suns are entering.
The biggest change in the design is the centercourt logo reading “SUNS” and the out of bounds border being in all black.
What do you think?