Grantland's Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose don't like the Suns

Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons’ NBA preview series on Grantland touched on the Phoenix Suns, and to nobody’s surprise, they’re only expected to impress more than the Philadelphia 76ers. Once Bill and Jalen get past the first few minutes of trashing on Suns owner Robert Sarver three years after it was cool, they get into some interesting discussions.

  • Simmons is one of the skeptics about Eric Bledsoe. While he may be a great defender and a potential star, he didn’t prove he could run an NBA team when Chris Paul was out last season. And if Phoenix wants to look at Bledsoe as a longterm player, it could be hard determining his ability to play the point guard position since Goran Dragic will be the 1A option. Yes, the Suns want to run with two points who can both set up the offense, but there could be handholding from Dragic. After all, he proved in EuroBasket he knows how tempo and game management works. This will be an important development if the Suns see Bledsoe as part of the future
  • The discussion gets interesting when Simmons and Rose begin discussing Phoenix as a trade partner. Of course, the two most valuable assets are Gortat and Dragic, who could be nice acquisitions for contending teams. Both are on relatively decent contracts, and Simmons and Rose think the Oklahoma City Thunder would be nice trade partners. Dragic could give the Thunder a third option to handle the ball a la James Harden. Such a trade might dump Kendrick Perkins’ contract on Phoenix — a scary thought but it’d free up a lot of cap space in the summer of 2015.
  • Rose complained a lot about Mike D’Antoni.

  • DBreezy

    LOL at Rose’s continued complaints about D’Antoni. Dude was glue by then and D’Antoni just happened to be the caretaker at the time. Prior to coming here he was waived by a Knicks team that would go 33-49 and that was just 8 mos after Toronto had salary dumped him. At the time he was picked up by the Suns, I thought he was acquired for some very specific reasons which he never demonstrated being capable of. I thought he was brought in to be a secondary playmaker in the backcourt and specifically for the playoff matchups against bigger backcourt guys like Livingston and even Devin Harris who had given the Suns trouble the season before. That team didn’t need his scoring, although Jalen thought it did. It needed him to summon what veteran savvy and skill he had left to be a defensive presence and playmaker in limited minutes in big games.

  • DBreezy

    None of that has to do with their preview tough, which I thought was funny and pretty fair overall. I like where the franchise is headed, but it’s more than fair to question Sarver until the Suns show consistent effort and focus towards turning this thing around over the long haul.

    A lot of pundits seem to have the same questions on Bledsoe. I suppose it all depends on what the expectation level is. I’ve seen some articles with people wondering if he can make the kind of jump that Harden did last season. That’s outrageous as Harden was always a better prospect who had already had a much greater impact and role through several playoffs and the finals before going to Houston.

    Eric seems like a pretty quiet guy, similar to Joe Johnson, something that prompted both the Celts and the Suns at times to question his confidence and if he could reach his potential. It will be interesting to watch him handle things as the expectations of many are much higher than they were for Joe Johnson going into the 2004-2005 season. Possibly even higher than they were in the 2005 offseason.

  • DBreezy

    Also I see that Ralph Sampson is pimping for a job with the Rox. Why exactly did the Suns (very quietly obviously) let him go? Especially when they just drafted the kind of guy at 5 that would seem tailor made for him?

  • ward

    In my opinion Jalen Rose talked very high on Eric Bledsoe, and was saying as a lot of people are saying he has a high ceiling. And he is a ex all NBA guard. Bill Simmons, who did he play for? Jeff Hornacek was saying after training day 1, he was surprised how Bled ran the team and made good passes, and Bledsoe said the coaches really don’t know how I play (yet)…

  • john

    Not a big fan of Simmons as an analyst. He’s too full of hyperbole. It doesn’t take a genius though to figure that the Suns are going to be awful this year.

  • dave:f32

    Darn… Everything they touched on about the Phoenix Suns is RIGHT ON POINT, even DAntoni only playing 7 deep when there was capable players on the bench… Robert Sarver, just sell the team Lol but he wont cuz hes stubborn as a mule, on an island all by himself. Rich with money, but just not rich in the ppl or brains departments. Thx Jalen. Thx Bill. No exiration date on bagging on Sarvers ignorance.

  • Foreveris2long

    Good question DBreezy regarding Sampson?
    This will likely be the 1st season where I do not care what the critics say about the Suns because I am very comfortable with their new direction. They will be experimenting with several different pieces and most of those pieces are 25 and under with athleticism. I cannot wait to get started.

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    I imagine Sampson was let go just because Hornacek had other guys in mind for the coaching staff. And McDonough hasn’t remade a player development staff that Blanks had built up (remember, Sampson was really just on that staff).

    I don’t know if he interviewed, but Sampson was the most visible member of the old staff this summer until Hornacek was hired.

  • SoCalSun

    I’m down for the rebuilding, and had pretty much accepted the Suns aren’t going to be very good this year, but when they laid out the roster, it really struck me–they’re spot on, the Suns really are not a good team. Hope they get something good for Marcin!

    Didn’t really think Jalen was complaining about D’antoni so much as just relaying what happened.

  • Ty-Sun

    I will only be disappointed in this team if they fail to win 20 games. It is very possible that they might not win that many but I think they can do better. If Dragic and Bledsoe can’t find a way to mesh and play well together, then a sub-20 win season is VERY possible. And this team is going to rely on progress being made by a lot of young players. But I’m not worried about THIS season’s W/L record.

  • Scott

    ^^ Yeah. If the Suns win fewer than 20 games because the players fail to step up, it would be a disappointing season.

    My hope is that players (other than Len, Goodwin, and Dragic) step up, draw attention, and get traded for assets aimed to show their stuff further ahead in the future, like the 2015-2016 season.

    (As for Dragic, I think it’s wise for the Suns to keep him till they’re assured of having a PG that is better, whether by draft or by trade.)

  • Foreveris2long

    Thanks Kev for the insight on Sampson. I know some of you guys are hoping for at least 20 wins which could happen but I do not expect it. We simply do not have a host of guys who know how to close out games. A lot of these guys can improve but not enough mentally to close an opponent out. So if they only win 17 games but improvement is shown in areas other than finishing a game, I am fine with that. Mental toughness sometimes takes a year or two to fully develop. It is not that easy. It seems 4/5s of this roster consist of lifetime subs or 1st year players.

  • NOitall

    Gortat has very little trade value. He is expiring and not a large amount clearing off anyone’s cap. He requires being re-signed. The entire league knows he is not staying here. At best we get a 2nd rd pick for him.

    Dragic has value, and in fact has value right now. If we don’t trade him NOW, we should extend him NOW. Otherwise we will be sitting in the same boat we are in with Gortat in 2015 when Dragic opts out [which he will].

    This is a HUGE issue that nobody is talking about.

  • Scott

    @Forever -

    But … there is no Beasley. So wins go up some as well as down.

  • hawki

    The Over/Under on the Suns this year is 21 1/2

    only one lower is the 76ers @ 16 1/2….that is incredible

    Heat #1 at 60 & Clips 2nd at 57
    LVH SportsBook in Vegas.

    3 college teams to watch
    Kansas…Wiggins & Wayne Selden
    Kentucky….James Young & Julius Randle
    Duke….Jabari Parker

    It’s probably 50-50 that one of those 5 is A Phx Sun next year.

    After this year…no more tanking.

  • hawki

    ps….I’ll take the “over”….23-59

  • foreveris2long

    Noitall I would consider trading Dragic but there is not a present need for points guard on other teams. I think they have to hold onto him for awhile because he is good player who will probably get a little better. I think however if Houston had him he would likely make them a championship caliber team. The problem is they are married to Lin who is often injured and is not a good defender.

  • dave:f32

    Trade Dragic to Houston, to beat out Lin for starting PG or have him play SG. Nice game if he can play pick n roll or pick n pop with D12 and Lin. Or trade Dragic n Gortat to OKC for PJ3, kp expiring contract, Lamb and late 1st round in 2015…

  • john

    I would take the over any day. I don’t think the loss of dudley and scola will drop the suns any lower than they already were last season. 25 wins again would be my prediction.

  • Luka

    Suns will win 15 games this year.

  • Voqar

    Rose was a mediocre player and can barely complete a sentence. I have no idea how he has a job as an analyst unless there just aren’t many people who want the job – or he has good drug connections or something.

    I liked Simmons more before I ever heard him speak (and preferred when he was more of a writer and less of a podcaster).

    Sarver has been a disaster but with the new GM there is hope – if Sarver stays out of the way.