Time, patience, and giant robots

From the depths of the Pacific Division, terrifying monsters have risen. At this moment, the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors stand towering over the Valley of the Sun and much of the Western Conference. The Clippers have the best record in the NBA and recently reeled off 17 wins in a row. The Warriors are the most shocking success of the season thus far and have shown no indications of falling off. The Suns are gazing up at both teams in the standings for the first time this century. Phoenix, as currently assembled, seems helpless against these powerful foes.

What’s more, other monsters may be joining the party soon. It appears the Sacramento Kings will be moving. More important for the Kings than the changing their city, is changing their ownership. With a grateful Seattle fan base and owners not named Maloof, the Kings are in the best position they’ve been in since Vlade, Chris Webber, and White Chocolate ruled Arco Arena. They very well might be headed north in the standings over the next few seasons. And we can’t forget about the Lakers. Despite their abysmal start and horrific string of injuries, the Lake Show is lurking. Even if this season is lost, they won’t stay down for long. If something isn’t done fast, the Suns could be looking at a long stretch in the division cellar.

But never fear Suns’ fans. There is no need to run like frightened Japanese city dwellers from these West Coast Godzillas. I have a solution: Giant robots and Idris Elba.

Now I know what you’re thinking: this movie looks awesome. Be that as it may, this sci-fi blockbuster provides the perfect blueprint for the Suns. When the monsters invade, normal weapons won’t save the world. Giant, badass robots have to be built. For the Suns, their current roster will not stand up to the teams towering above them. They have to build something more fearsome.

Keep in mind, giant robots don’t just come from space. The NBA isn’t a Michael Bay movie. The Suns can’t simply trade for their monster-battling heroes. They have to build. It will take time. It will take money. But when faced with oblivion, or eternity in the lottery, fire must be fought with fire. The Clippers and Warriors have assembled young talent (Curry, Thompson, Griffin, Bledsoe) and acquired valuable veterans (Paul, Crawford, Lee, and Bogut). The Suns are on the right course, but reaching the finish line will take time. Despite the monsters of the Pacific Division conquering everything in their sight and leaving the Suns’ record battered beyond recognition, now is the time to stay the course. It is not the time to panic and hasten the apocalypse.

Tags: Pacific Division Pacific Rim Phoenix Suns

  • azbballfan

    Funny article!

    i like the positive attitude

    Lets just hope that when we build those robots, they come with flamethrowers and jetpacks

  • john

    Nice write-up. I like the change of pace.

    I hope “Pacific Rim” threw you a bone for this. Good stuff.

  • Keith

    Um, okay. I’d settle for drafting well and getting some good people in FA, personally. You can have the robots.

  • Ty-Sun

    And “the apocalypse” is eternal mediocrity.

    With Eric Gordon’s return in NO, it looks very likely that the Suns will eventually wind up with the worst record in the West. That sucks but if the FO makes a panic trade to try and salvage this season all they will accomplish is ruining the future of the franchise. Yes, they haven’t made many good draft choices in the past but this year they have a very good shot at getting one of the top 3 picks or at least one of the top 6-7 picks. Do we really want to trade that for a few more wins this season and having the #13 or 14 pick again?

    Hopefully the FO will either give Gentry the go ahead to start trying to develop younger players or just go ahead and let Gentry go and tell whoever they replace him with to do the same. There is no way to “fix” this season so the best thing to do is start looking forward.

    The Suns made a lot of gambles that haven’t paid off. A lot of people have mentioned that we should have gone harder after OJ Mayo and, although he’s done well this season, look where Dallas is in the standings… one spot above Phoenix in the West. Two years ago they were world champions. Now they’re almost as unlikely to make the playoffs as Phoenix is. And the Lakers aren’t far above Phoenix either and are also just hoping to find a way to make it into the playoffs this year.

    If the Suns make any trades before the deadline it should be for young players with some potential, not an overpaid semi-star like Gay.

    Being in the cellar sucks but, especially with the new CBA, I don’t think that there are any quick fixes.

    With so many 1 year contracts in the NBA, I don’t think that expiring contracts are quite as valuable as they used to be. Just look at other team’s rosters and see how many players are now on one year contracts. Every time I look into potential trades for Phoenix I run into a lot of one year contracts that make something like Wes Johnson’s expiring contract almost useless as a trading chip.

    Like it or not, this team is going to have to try to build by way of the draft. A good trade may come later on but not this season.

  • azbballfan

    I think i was separated at birth from Ty-Sun

  • DBreezy

    Yes, as Ty-Sun pointed out, the new cba is a huge complication. If you don’t already have at least some of the primary pieces of a championship core on your roster, I think you’re going to have to largely build things via the draft. The new tax rules really limit roster flexibility to add new players, even for those who don’t mind the new stiffer tax penalties. In time as old cba deals expire, future salaries may adjust to the new cap in such a manner that allows better flexibility, but if you’re a deep lottery squad how long are you willing to wait for that?

    I still think that sustaining a championship run will require paying the luxury tax in most cases and potentially the repeater tax. However I thnk the easier way(relatively speaking) will be with young players that you either drafted or acquired on rookie deals vs the free agency/blockbuster trade method. Those teams will likely surround those players with role players on short (often overpaid) deals that they can easily stretch or let go via free agency to manage the various luxury and repeater tax levels.

  • m.i.milliman

    That was funny. Good article. Would love to see more of that kind of writing here on this site. Much more entertaining than watching a Suns game this year.

    As for improving over the next few years. I don’t see it unless the front office goes and someone is put in place that has an actual plan and foresight rather than guess work and wild reaches.

    But again, loved the article.

  • Tony

    Besides all the other nonsense from some Suns fans, what also astonishes me is that they act as if this is year number 1 of the Suns rebuilding, when in fact, this is the 3rd year of rebuilding. Why do Babby and Blanks get a pass for the previous two seasons’ they spent the entire time reducing talent to save cap-space? Should we just pretend as if this is their first season with the Suns? This is not year 1 of the rebuilding process, but rather, year 3. The fact that after three years they still don’t have a young franchise player to build around is absurd. So no Ryan Weisert, because they should not get a pass for the previous two years, the fact that it’s year 3 in the transition era without a player to build around demonstrates that the Suns FO is not on the right track whatsoever.

  • Penny Hardaway


  • Ty-Sun

    Yes, this is the 3rd year of “rebuilding” here. The first year they made some very bad choices (Childress, Warrick and Turkoglu) in the beginning, then one pretty good mid season trade and one pretty bad trade deadline trade.

    The second year – which was the lockout year – they made marginally better choices but with a very shortened FA season the Suns mostly stood pat and added short term contracts as necessary. Hardly encouraging but they were also saddled with some contracts that made it difficult to bring in any real talent without. Trading Nash might have made more sense this year but that obviously didn’t happen.

    This year they basically rebuilt the team. Beasley was a bust. Picking up Scola was a smart short-term move. Whether you think offering Gordon a max deal was a PR stunt, a good/bad idea or what, they still made the offer. They brought Dragic back. They have a good stockpile of draft picks.

    All in all, the 1st year they tried to rebuild on the fly and failed. The second year I’m willing to be a little lenient with the FO because of the lockout. This year they’ve made a mixture of good and bad moves (and attempted moves). Do we have a good FO and owner? No. Do we have a horrible FO and owner? Maybe. The moves they make during this season, this draft and during the coming FA season will be definitive as to how bad they really are.

  • Forever is2long

    Tony, excellent stuff. I too question whether the Suns are on the right track. While I would not have any interest in Gay unless we could unload Beasley in the deal. However I am fine in not pursuing Gay at all. If the Suns really are in the rebuilding mode they should have traded Gortat as he is or will soon be 29 and has no interest in signing an extension with the Suns. He is a good player but I hope he is dealt before the trade deadline for some young talented pieces.
    Signing Beasley, letting Lopez walk to keep Gortat makes it seem like the emphasis was to perhaps sneak into the playoffs instead of truly rebuilding. Now that they cannot win a game they want to call it the rebuilding process. Their actions are inconsistent with a rebuilding plan.

    Finally, drafting Marshall and Morris have not looked very good and are questionable at best, lottery picks. So no the Suns are not on the preferred rebuilding course. Now if they make excellent 1st round selections this summer, that will be a step in the right direction. However we should give management credit for getting multiple 1st and 2nd round picks for Nash. I will conclude by suggesting there is reason for optimism.

  • john


    The Suns had a terrible “rebuilding” plan for years 1 & 2, if you’re going to consider the beginning of the rebuild when Amar’e left. Their idea was that they could rebuild while remaining competitive, probably thanks to my bff Sarver being too scared to suck because he would lose out on ticket revenues.

    The true rebuild couldn’t have begun with Nash remaining in the Valley. The team was built around Nash. All the pieces the Suns have picked up in the past five years have been with Nash in mind, and Steve Nash plays the game like no one else. You can’t build a go-kart and expect a giant to drive it. They couldn’t build a Nash-based team and expect anyone but Nash to be able to work with it.

    Big misstep by the front office. You’re right that the rebuild SHOULD have started after Amar’e left (when they should have got rid of Nash also), but it really was postponed until Two-Time left town. Now the Suns will have at least one more year until they can get rid of the Nash-based pieces and move on in a new direction.