Denver Nuggets 118, Phoenix Suns 98 — Unmerciful end


It’s over.

The 2012-13 abomination in Suns history ended Wednesday night with the same mix that got Phoenix to such historic lows in the first place.

There was the lack of star power when the game mattered, followed by encouraging numbers by young players and bench warmers in meaningless minutes.

There was the Suns’ new offensive identity: ugly. Phoenix shot just 38 percent on a whopping 104 shot attempts, including 7-of-25 from 3-point range.

Finally, there was the latest development: intentional and undeniable tanking. Kendall Marshall played 41 minutes in place of Goran Dragic, who received another late-season DNP-CD.

The entire formula was the 82nd and last disgusting dose for a Suns fan base that, after four playoff-less seasons over the last five years, may unwillingly be getting used to losing. Even worse, the Suns won’t get an added bonus in the lottery thanks to Utah’s fantastic no-show in a do-or-die-for-the-playoffs loss at Memphis. Due to that game, the Lakers will make the playoffs, robbing Phoenix of an extra lottery pick from the Steve Nash trade.

That leaves the Suns with their own pick (potentially top 3), at least one late first-round pick, and a medium-sized amount of cap space with which to right the ship during the offseason.

Much of that cap space, however, could be affected by players Phoenix deems desirable to keep. Will Wesley Johnson (12 points on 5-of-11 shooting vs. Denver) be brought back? What will happen to Shannon Brown after falling out of the rotation? Will other players be dealt on or after draft day before their contracts expire a year from now (see: Marcin Gortat)?

Whatever happens, it’s doubtful things can get any worse than Wednesday’s game — or the 2012-13 season.

  • PennyAnd1

    OK, so where were we?

    The end of the season is here.

    Who still thinks Gortat is a strong finisher?

    Who still thinks Brown was a starter?

    Who still thinks JR Smith or Jamal Crawford was not right for Phoenix?

    Who still thinks Suns would do better without Nash?

    Who still thinks Lakers won’t make playoffs?

    The list can go on and on and on.

    So far, I’ve been right.

  • KayGeezie

    At the beginning of the season fans ripped me for saying this team will be worse than the Hornets & that Kendall Marshall was a terrible pick….well 82 games later, The Suns had a worse record than the hornets & Kendall Marshall looks like a waste of a lottery pick, but there’s not going to be any “I told you so’s” because as a true Suns fan im extremely dissapointed right now, hell who am I kidding, I’ve been dissapointed all season long! There’s no playoff future any time soon, so this is what we should expect from a Sarver/Babby/Banks/Hunter lead team! I don’t want no part of it :/

  • PennyAnd1

    @KayGeezie

    Marshall isn’t a waste. He’s a gifted passer and can really do damage if he had guys who knows what to do with the ball.

    I really hated guys like Morris, Brown, or Gortat, who just looks around and most of the times looked lost playing out there. Get rid of those guys!

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    I generally take high-assist games with no talent around a point guard as a good thing considering their individual talent. Saw some good stuff out of Kendall the last few games.

    Now about those Morris twins …

  • Beasley’s No.1 fan

    The important thing is that the team tried hard and that is all that matters.

    Who cares about the playoffs anyway? Playoffs and championships are overrated.

    Effort>Trophies all day!

  • DBreezy

    Kevin,

    There’s no denying Kendall’s passing ability and I’m not surprised that his TO’s dropped once he got his feet wet, but he’s a long ways off. He’s trying to do something that no one in recent memory has done besides Rajon Rondo, and Rondo has big advantages in speed and finishing ability. The Suns are so bad that teams don’t really even gameplan for a guy like Kendall which he slices up in the assist department. However if they did, he would have a world of trouble imo as he can’t really punish people for playing him for the pass. Along with shooting and driving, he probably needs to study the post up games of guys like Kidd and Payton.

  • Tony

    @Penny,

    Except for your praise of Marshall, I couldn’t agree more with you.

    Marshall does have good size and can pass, but other than that, he’s utterly useless. He doesn’t play any defense, has a slow and awful shooting release, and despite being a young player, has very limited athleticism and speed. I doubt he’s in the NBA five years from now.

    @KayGeezie,

    I underestimated how pathetic this Suns team would be, but I still predicted they would finish 5th or 6th worst team in the NBA. So I wasn’t too far off.

    But anyone with half a brain, which excludes Sarver, Babby, and Blanks, should have predicted this would be an awful season for the Suns. Besides many dumb Suns fans, i.e. Steve, the local media clowns were the only other ones who thought this Suns would be any good. The sad part is that they will once again buy into whatever bs Sarver or Babby proclaim during the off-season. I’m just waiting for Babby to once again say that the 2013-2014 Suns are the most talented Suns team he’s seen. (Just like Blabby said about this scrub Suns group).

  • Scott

    I think this team could have played better this year, but for the first critical part of the season they were hampered by Gentry’s coaching.

    Hunter did a better job of recognizing that the younger players needed more practice, and even veterans probably needed to know the schemes better. Gentry did not run enough practices, in spite of the fact players weren’t getting to their spots or otherwise executing.

    This was a problem for players in previous years as well, and I believe it led to the trade of Dragic to Houston.

    Gentry also gave Beasley heavy minutes, he kept Johnson on the bench, he kept Marshall on the bench, and he preferred to play Brown and Telfair, even though Johnson defended better than Brown and Marshall ran the team better than Telfair. And when Beasley was in the game, he was playing at SF, when the general consensus is that he plays better at PF … and that probably includes this season. (I’ve not analyzed this statistically, I’m just thinking of his excellent defense on Blake Griffin and David Lee, and his difficulties attacking the basket when at SF.)

    Was the team even built to win? It’s possible the idea the whole time was to tank. Coming into this season that was clearly an optional way to read it, looking at the personnel moves Blanks made. The other option is just that Blanks and Gentry acted stupidly, which is well within the realm of possibilities.

    The whole season could have been run better, if that was the intention.

  • foreveris2long

    I no doubt agree with just about all of the criticism. Penny with all due respect, Marshall may be the worst backup point guard in the league. He is so limited in what he can do teams don’t really guard him. If you ever notice him on a fast break he tries his best to find a teammate to pass it to even when he is in front of the break because he is fearful of getting his shot blocked.His game is flawed in so many areas, it needs reconstructive surgery. like DBreezy said, he is a long ways away. I also agree with Tony that he might not be in the league in 5 years.

  • Tony

    @Scott,

    Just man up and admit it, you thought this team would compete for a playoff spot and were wrong! This has nothing to do with Gentry and if you truly believe that Hunter has done anything remotely positive as the Suns head coach, then I expect you’ll be one of those dingbats buying into the inevitable Bobby-Blabby pr spin this coming off-season. Gentry is a solid coach and did a good job despite the lack of talent on this roster. As far Beasley is concerned, I agree Gentry used him too much early on, but he had to because for all his faults, he’s probably the most talented player on the Suns. Now that reflects poorly on the roster that was assembled, but that’s the fault of the front office, not Gentry.

    And no Scott, this team was not built to tank. The FO wouldn’t have signed Scola or O’neal if they were planning on tanking. Nor would they have Blabby publicly proclaim how “talented” this team was, if in fact they were planning on tanking all along. Just admit you were wrong! Simple as that!

  • SHAZAM

    omg..i just went back to verify..i commented on this site before the season that if the suns dont make a name trade we will finish 25-57..i also predicted 4 days later that i thought marshall would turn out to be a horrible pick (jury still out on that one) but still i got the w/l right…i should get a prize

  • DBreezy

    Your prize is a worse season next year

  • Azbballfan

    Yeah, no doubt this season was a disaster

    if Marshall does not improve to become a threat by hitting a jumpshot he will be relegated to backup duty at best

    You have to make defenses honest in the NBA you just cant hide marshall like you could nash, where someone could take his man on defense

    Marshall can really, really pass but does almost nothing else

    no turn overs is great!

    but we lost by 20 in a game we were never in

    we need more than 2 points and 3 boards

    John Henson just had another huge game

    28 points 16 boards and i dont know how many blocks

    while the M&M boys barely played

    as much as i like them, you really got to trade them

    our power forwards have to be a threat inside and they have to draw double teams otherwise we are just putting up contested shot after contested shot

    either that, or we have a offense that uses slashing players, pick and rolls and screens

    Suns didnt really have an offense game plan this year, and when you dont any real talent on the perimeter other than the dragon, well thats how you end up with 25 wins, it really should have been 22 cause i swear 3 of those weere miracle games or games where people on the other team fell asleep at the wheel

    also we were TERRIBLE on the road

    8 wins and 33 losses! and you know we should really have 6 because we shouldnt have won that game in San Antonio and Dallas fell asleep

    just god awful basketball anyway you want to spin it

    Hunter and Blanks need to go.

    I heard Doug Collins is availible make him your GM and Byron Scott your coach or something

    hell, get Hubie Brown.

    Anything but this, especially not with a good pick in this draft

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    It warms my heart to see so many angry Suns fans.

    Suns fans going on and on about how this season was terrible, how the team brought in Scola or ONeal and how that supposedly meant they were trying to compete.

    **Scola, (and possibly ONeal) are potential deal sweeteners and / or easily managed contracts, nothing more**

    Lets talk about some draft picks and how they factor into this rebuild / tanking season.

    KEEF Morris was drafted as a component of the Nash-Driven System. He stopped fitting the second Nash went to Los Angeles. Even worse for him, the Suns won the Scola sweepstakes and effectively cancelled him out.

    Lets pause a second and bring up a former Sun, then I’m going to ask a question.

    Earl Clark had some stretches this season where he was absolutely beastin’ and that came with time. Limited court time in Phoenix and a bit more in Orlando. The question is simple.

    Would you rather do everything possible to eject Morris, (both of them), or give them time to mature and break out as the rebuild continues?

    I mean, really, they’re still very cheap. I assume guys like Scola, Gortat, JMZ, and ONeal have a high probability of being elsewhere come next season. Why get rid of them to pay more for the same thing?

    KEN-DOLL Marshall – I’m with Zimmerman on this one. He can’t defend a gentle breeze, but Nash never could either. He was out there without much to work with and his numbers got better as the season went on. I’d keep him around too.

    Again, what is the alternative? Draft another point guard? That takes away from Suns’ ability to fill greater holes. We have Dragon; i’m not worried about the PG position.

    By the way, this post is brought to you by OLADIPO2013 – please support the cause.

    This team was constructed to bottom out. It is obvious now that Gentry was getting in the way as he tried and tried to find a winning formula. Once the FO came out and admitted it, (without actually saying it), he got out of the way as fast as he could.

    I’d imagine Garrett, Haddadi, Dudley, Brown, Gortat, Scola, and possibly the Morris Twins will be gone. That’s EIGHT guys who probably aren’t Suns next season for any number of reasons.

    I think the Suns will do everything possible to pass along that Beasley thing, and I think Oneal is up in the air.

    Personally, I’d keep Marshall and Wes and ONeal if he wants to remain. If I didn’t feel any nibbles, I’d keep the Morris twins around too.

    Otherwise, I’d be shopping everybody else I have to anybody that would listen. I’d still try to stockpile draft picks, (even 2nd round ones), or try to get back youth from almost-contending teams in exchange for proven veterans like Scola, Dudley, Gortat, etc.

    As for what the Suns will do, I guess we’ll wait and see. One important thing I think they have to do is solidify the coaching situation as soon as possible.
    either extend Hunter or get rid of him and find the next captain of the ship well before candidates evaporate.

    I know a lot of you guys are upset but I’m excited about this rebuild. It has to be done. I don’t have faith in the front office yet, but to be fair they’ve nailed the first year of a rebuild save playing Dragon after March.

  • Azbballfan

    Theres a chance the M&M boys could blow up and be 15 and 9 guys

    However there is always new talent entering the NBA and you have to produce consitently to keep a spot on your team unless your the darling of the front office or something

    the 2014 draft has a Julius Randle he would be a great prospect for the Suns in the front court

    8 points and 4 boards a game on 39 percent shooting aint gonna get it done

    of course had we kept Clark like we should have, we wouldnt have picked Morris in the 1st place

    like back in 2002 the Clippers pick Chris Wilcox over Stoudemire

    who would you rather have had on the Suns?

    i mean we are going into year 3 and neither even start consisently much less play consistently

    20 minutes a game isnt gonna do it either

    The Morris twins were also drafted in the lottery because they were NBA ready players that had limited upside but could come in and produce right away

    if Daryl Morey only wants a 2nd round pick for Marcus, either he is admitting he made a mistake or he doesnt want to take salary back

    I think it was a good trade actually, giving up only a 2nd round pick for someone in the lottery is a good deal

    i gotta think where do the Morris twins fit in the team long term?

    we are stacked at PF and really everyone in that spot needs to go since no one is good enough

    even channing frye when he was healthy gave us 13 points and 7 boards

    Beasley, the Morris Twins, Luis Scola, we gotta find some deals for them and add draft picks or young talent or something

    I dont think Beasley will ever get it either.

  • bill.thomas

    I vote that we give Shazam a prize for his prediction, a limitless supply of all the pizza he can eat or otherwise dispose of for as long as Marshall is in the league, to be billed to and payment deducted from Marshall’s salary and paid directly to the pizzerias in question.

  • bill.thomas

    I vote that at center we keep Haddadi and O’neal, barring a good multi-player trade. We won’t get much for either of them alone, at all. Low 2nd round draft picks are near worthless. They are both cheap, O’neal is a great locker-room guy, and Haddadi, while plodding, shows flashes and is the tallest C in the league. We can’t give up what little basket protection we have. Of course, if we can get someone like Dieng in the draft we only need one of the vets. If we can make a great package deal trade for young talent or GOOD picks and an O’neal or Haddadi needs to be thrown in, OK fine for the greater good and the big picture. But let’s not dispose of players unnecessarily and for little compensation such as the Dragic trade.

    I am not going to rag on the Morris twins; I think we some work, coaching and a more winning culture they could both become at least decent rotation players in the league.

    BTW I have now elevated Babby’s grade form an F to a D+ since I just looked at Turkoglu’s stat line and his PER this year was 3.99. BTW he is still under suspension for drugs, I believe. Talk about a fall from grace !!