Phoenix Suns last in West in ESPN Summer Forecast

Posted by on August 14th, 10:41 pm

The Phoenix Suns will likely rank among the bottom two teams in every preseason prognostication of the Western Conference, with the majority likely to rank the Suns dead last.

The surprise to me in the ESPN Summer Forecast ranking of the West came from the fact that the Suns bottomed out with a gruesome projected record of 22-60, eight games below No. 14 Sacramento and 10  behind No. 13 Utah. If the Suns lose 60 games, they would finish three games behind the 2012-13 Suns as well. Considering the large number of voters in this poll, that means an awful lot of people think the Suns will be putrid this season with only Philadelphia earning fewer projected wins.

As somebody who feels strongly about how winning the draft lottery could change the fortunes of this franchise, I don’t think this would be the worst outcome in the world. As commenter @FatHunty wrote: “Give Dragic and Bledsoe a year to work out their roles together and then draft Wiggins? Future looks bright in Phoenix.”

Yet with the additions of two potential impact rookies in Goodwin and Len, a talent like Bledsoe and a new organizational culture that Jeff Hornacek started cultivating in Summer League, I do not see the Suns being that far behind Utah and Sacramento.

One mitigating factor is the fact that the West is so good from 1-12 and so elite from 1-6 that the Suns could “improve” on the court but not have it show up in the win column. That would seem to be a best-case scenario to me as it would allow an organization that hit rock bottom last season to start taking positive steps while still being in a choice position come lottery day.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott // Aug 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    We shall see how it goes, but “last in the West” fits the overall rebuild plan.

  • 2 SHAZAM // Aug 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    in this years nba finals the suns will beat the heat 4 games to 2

  • 3 hawki // Aug 15, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Bledsoe & Dragic can not exist long term as a starting backcourt…5 minute spurts playing together each half…yes.
    The majority of minutes playing together…no

    Will one of them (Dragic) accept a back-up role….doubtful.

    I still contend that the best long-term solution would have Goran playing 16-18 minutes a night as back-up PG & getting another 10-12 minutes per game playing alongside Bledsoe.

  • 4 Luka // Aug 15, 2013 at 4:57 am

    The McDonough and Hornacek duo will pay major dividends for the Suns. Hornacek is a guy that commands respect from the players. McDonough knows it takes time through the draft. I’m just hoping when it’s time to spend Sarver spends wisely for once.

    It’s obvious there’s a lot of work to be done. But for the first time in three years I actually feel like there’s hope for this franchise.

  • 5 Troy // Aug 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Excellent analysis once again, Schwartz. There’s no way with the talent that the Suns have added and the new “culture” they’re instilling that they don’t show at least SOME improvement, even if it doesn’t translate to many (or any) more wins in a stacked West. With the prospect of adding Wiggins, Parker, or Randle next year to a quickly improving, young, talented and athletic core under Hornacek’s tutelage – the future indeed appears to be bright on Planet Orange, regardless of how the numbers stack up in the W/L columns this year.

  • 6 Foreveris2long // Aug 15, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Hawki, I agree with ya regarding Bledsoe and Dragic.

  • 7 Michael Beasley // Aug 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Dawg, listen to this crazy funny idea I just had. What if after every loss this season, I light up a blunt on the bench? It’ll be like Red Auerbach style. Ya’ll should keep me around, I’m helping the team get better yo!

  • 8 Brenton // Aug 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I think playing two point guards in the back court will work if they can shoot. Dragic and Bledsoe dont have great, consistent jump shots. If they had a 3 who was a great shooter, it still might work, but playing Butler or Tucker at the 3 negates that idea. Butler is OK, but certainly not a great 3 pt shooter.

    Thankfully, shooting is one thing players can learn and get better at over time. You cant learn to be faster or more athletic, but you can learn to shoot. If Bledsoe and Dragic can become good 3 pt shooters, pairing them together would be a nightmare for defenses, especially with good shooting 4s like Morris, Morris, and Frye.

  • 9 Scott // Aug 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    @Brenton -

    While it’s true Butler isn’t a great career 3 pt shooter, he did shoot 39% on 4 3-pt attempts per game (24 min) last season.

  • 10 KayGee19 // Aug 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Best case scenario for the Suns is they lose a ton of close games this season, kinda like the ’04 season where you new they were 1 good player away (SteveNash) from being in the playoffs every yr. I actually think this squad will win more games then last season. I honestly think Eric Bledsoe will change the team & culture like Harden did for the Rockets last yr. I see Bled averaging 18ppg next season & being just a complete steal for the Suns! He alone will change this franchise because many other nba players will want to come play with him in the future!

  • 11 Brenton // Aug 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    @ Scott, that was with Chris Paul running the show and Blake Griffin playing inside. I bet 3.5 out of 4 of those shots were wide open. Im not sure Channing Frye and Markief Morris put the same fear into the hearts of opposing defenses that Griffin does.

  • 12 Polish fan // Aug 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    BRENTON but Len and Gortat will… Twin towers plus twin point guards ;)

  • 13 flaco // Aug 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I think we should start our rooky center len and we will have a chance

  • 14 flaco // Aug 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I think we should start our rooky center len and we will have a chance make playoffs and in the playoffs anything can happen

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