The Phoenix Suns will Win Again – Someday


So far, the Phoenix Suns have made all the right moves. But will it get them into the playoffs next year?  Will they return to perennial contender status? Not unless they do more in free agency. Or 2016-2017 will be another dreadful, boring, forgetful season.

Anyone who doesn’t like what the Suns did in the NBA Draft isn’t worth talking about, so let’s not. The Suns scored big when they took two young (very young) power forwards in Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, doubling down on their chances to hit it big with a new franchise big man. Okay, it only feels like they’ve doubled their chances by drafting two power forward prospects. It’s kind of like pulling twice on a Casino Arizona slot machine. It feels like you’ve doubled your chance to win by playing twice, but it’s not, really. Do the math yourself.  But I still like it, and both these kids have tremendous upside potential.

And no one can argue with bringing Jared Dudley, a.ka. Junkyard Dog,  in the first three days of NBA Free Agency. Dudley and P. J. Tucker are both fan favorites, they play hard-nosed defense and are great character guys. You couldn’t have two better players for role models as the Suns welcome Bender and Chriss into the fold.

But as Suns fans get more nervous by the day with the team not making a big free agent move, one has to wonder. Is this team strictly in a “rebuilding-with-youth” mode, or do they plan to win again anytime soon?

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Here’s what it comes down to in my eyes: Right now, you can start one or two really young forward/centers to see what they can do. And you can start either Tucker or Dudley at the other forward position. Sounds great. Except it’s not.

The Suns will never win a championship with Tucker or Dudley in the starting lineup.

Let me put it to you this way.  Will the Suns make the playoffs with either Dudley or Tucker in the starting lineup? Maybe, if everyone stays healthy. But will they return the Suns to perennial title contender status? Most likely not.  Don’t get me wrong – I like both these guys, and I couldn’t be happier having them on the Suns.  Have them come off the bench as defense stoppers and as players who can stretch the floor with killer 3-point shots== that is what I’d like to see. They both would play much better against the other team’s bench players anyway. They could not only hold a lead but extend it with their shooting.

As starters – not so much.

Then there is Bender and Chriss. As I said in the beginning of this story, the Suns have wisely doubled down on a pair of young power forwards, because, let’s face it, they really need one. And both have the potential to be NBA stars. But will they? Not next season. Too young, too thin, and neither of them can rebound. Not yet anyway, not until they grow up (or out) a little.

So either way, the Suns won’t be contenders next year with any of these guys. Although I like the moves, there is something missing here.

How about the Suns finally shed their image (Well, it’s really Robert Sarver’s image) as a cheap also-ran in the Western Conference…and go out and sign a quality big man free agent! Please!

I got to warn you fans; the Suns are in danger of becoming Donald Sterling’s Clippers. A joke. The Paper Clips. A team that can’t win because no one wants to play there. Ouch.

I’m not saying Sarver is there, not yet anyway. But after so many years of not even making the playoffs, a lot of stars in this league are looking the other way. Hell, Phoenix didn’t even get an invite to interview Kevin Durant this summer. That just looks bad. Even if there is a good reason, it’s poor optics for Phoenix, to say the least. If Jerry Colangelo were still the Suns’ owner, the team would be at the top of Durant’s list…instead of signing with the Warriors, which is even more bad news for Phoenix.

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Oh well, we can cry in our beer, or get to work. Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough has a tough task ahead, but most of us think he’s up for the job. He certainly deserves another chance after last year’s point guard fiasco. The Suns need a top 10 veteran power forward.  That’s the bottom line.  There are plenty to choose from, so McDonough needs to go out and get him.  With the other pieces already in place, and the future looking very bright with astounding young talent, the Suns can win now and for a long time.  But they can’t wait any longer. Another year outside the playoffs looking in, and the Suns will become this decade’s Los Angeles Clippers.  A punchline.

Ryan needs to sell this team to perspective free agents as it once was. The Suns still have one of the top five winningest NBA regular season records of all time – so sell it! We still have some of the best fans in the NBA no doubt – so sell it!

Jerry Colangelo once brought A.C. Green into the Suns locker room, with Green’s name already on a nameplate above one of the Suns’ lockers. Green signed the next day. That’s salesmanship.

The Suns will win again – the only question is will they be able to sign someone to help them win now?  I sure hope so…No Paper Clips for this city.  Phoenix deserves better.

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