This what it boils down to right? Six games left on the schedule, in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, bottom feeders of the western conference, playing for draft position, and what does all of that equate to? Shutting down the veterans.
Goran Dragic has had a fine second-half, but it’ll be ideal for the Suns to terminate him for the remainder of the season for many reasons.
First being to give the young Kendall Marshall more court time. Marshall has been less than effective as Dragic’s back-up but in the two games Marshall has started he averaged 11.5 assists in the two contests. Marshall has shown that he’s capable of running an offense but the bottom line is, the kid can’t learn by playing 10 minutes a night.
Second would be to avoid injury. It’s no secret that Dragic plays an aggressive style of basketball and as many of us witnessed last night in the game between the Suns and Warriors, Dragic was fouled on a made three-pointer and came down awkwardly on his ankle. Dragic and the Suns were fortunate that Dragic didn’t get hurt on that play but the Suns wouldn’t want to risk having Dragic suffer a serious injury in the final six games of the season that might potentially affect him going into next season.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, draft position. Yes, we all hate the concept of tanking, it’s unethical and it’s bad for the sport but it’s the way the system works. I wrote a piece awhile back making reference to the 1968 Philadelphia Eagles back in 1968 when the Eagles won two meaningless regular season games after losing their first 11 games of the season. Those two wins ultimately kept the Eagles from drafting hall of fame running-back O.J Simpson. The Suns must avoid making the same mistake. The Suns have already lost 53 games on the year, what’s a few more?
“We’re just kind of shutting him down,” Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter said before the game against the Jazz last month. “He’s been playing a whole lot of minutes and we’re going to give him a break periodically through these last couple of games. If you watched him come out of games, he’s looked like he’s been in a brawl.”
The season was flushed down the crapper before it even began. It’s imminent that Goran Dragic is the Suns best player, and he will be the commander of the star ship moving forward.
At this point with little significance left in what has been one of the worst seasons in franchise history, it’s a good idea for the Suns to shut down Goran Dragic for insurance purposes and start building towards next year.