With only three games left in this miserable season for the Suns as they have one of the worst records in franchise history, they need to evaluate where they are as the other half of the league prepares for the playoffs and see what went wrong.
You can say (and they are all valid points) that the problem was a lack of a star player, not enough talent on the roster, or not the right mix of players. The problem is probably a mixture of these reasons, but it is also true that some players regressed this year as compared to last year.
Beasley is averaging career-lows in minutes, points and rebounds in his time this year with Phoenix compared to his four seasons in the league with the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves. He was brought in to be a scorer and was even thought to be a starter (even though I said before the season that he shouldn’t), but couldn’t live up to the standard and basically lost his starting gig to P.J. Tucker for most of the year, who just came from overseas basketball leagues and has barely played in the NBA.
Whether it was the departure of Steve Nash, the mid-season coaching change, or something else, Gortat hasn’t played as well this year as last season. He is averaging 4.3 points less per game and grabbing 1.5 less rebounds per contest. Gortat is one of the more reliable, true centers the franchise has had in a while, but too much of the time he doesn’t finish around the rim as well as someone his size should. Presumably, he could be a good trade piece this off-season in the quest to acquire a superstar.
Morris hasn’t technically regressed, even though when you watch the games it looks like it. He has played in 16 more games than last year, and should play in the last three left on the schedule. Also, he started 22 more games, but his production has barely gone up. Morris is only averaging a couple more minutes per game, and even when he was starting, didn’t play too many minutes for the most part. He only increased his rebounding by .4 and for his position; he nets far too few boards per game.
Other players have regressed slightly, such as Luis Scola scoring a couple points less. However, he is rebounding more and of all the players (other than Dragic), he is the most solid and least responsible for this year’s failures.
Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown’s games have dipped slightly but that is because management is trying to see what they have in the younger guys, which brought about the emergence of Wesley Johnson, who stole most of their shooting guard minutes.
The one person you can’t say has regressed is the Dragon. Goran Dragic has increased his scoring output by three points per game, as well as his assists by almost two per contest. Also, he was the only player who was an automatic start for Phoenix when he was healthy.
Each Suns player individually has to take stock of themselves this summer and evaluate how they need to get better. Then hit that weight room or the gym and work on it because next year, hopefully there will be an influx of youth, even more than this year and everyone either wants to be traded to a contender or be a integral part of a rebuild so they are the focus and reason the team is propelled to prominence once again.