Was the De’Anthony Melton trade Ryan McDonough’s last gasp?

Phoenix Suns De'Anthony Melton (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns De'Anthony Melton (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns are in need of a point guard and there is a chance that one of owner Robert Sarver’s mandates for former General Manager Ryan McDonough was to acquire one this offseason. Was the acquisition of De’Anthony Melton McDonough’s last gasp to remain in Phoenix?

With Burns and Gambo on Monday the 8th, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver discussed that he had several – what he believed to be – manageable goals and expectations for now former General Manager Ryan McDonough as the franchise moved towards the start of the regular season.

It is entirely likely that acquiring a starting-quality point guard was somewhere near, if not at, the top of the list.

In fact, he said that moving forward, finding a starting point guard is “at the top of the list” for Interim General Manager James Jones.

As we well know, McDonough was unable to find a staring point guard and instead was apparently prepared to roll into the 2018-19 season with returning veteran Isaiah Canaan (who’s 2017-18 season ended with an awful leg injury), second-year returning point guard Shaquille Harrison (who is probably not suited to be anything better than a backup), second round French prospect Elie Okobo, trade acquisition De’Anthony Melton, and of course, Devin Booker.

It seems apparent though, especially based on Sarver’s comment about finding a point guard being a priority now, that Devin Booker is not the preferred option at point guard (against my ever-consistent wishes), and therefore the team has four reserves to choose from, none of which should be a starter on an NBA team attempting to win, especially for a franchise that has missed out on the big dance for eight seasons and is desperate to make the jump to become a regular playoff contender.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Obviously Sarver must rate and grade his staff based on accomplishing of set goals, and if he required McDonough to find and acquire a starting point guard – a task he obviously failed at – then that would be a pretty large demerit against the GM, potentially growing to become the death knell of McDonough’s career in Phoenix.

Throughout the offseason, McDonough probably felt the pressure of succeeding in that capacity, and as the season continued to draw near, knew that he needed to do something  about it to show that he was making progress in that regard.

Certainly retaining Harrison and bringing back Canaan (who has started outside of Phoenix in the past) helps, and drafting a point guard adds to the depth. But as none of those guards are of starting quality, McDonough likely looked for another point guard to prove his efforts to resolve the issue, hence the acquisition of De’Anthony Melton from the Houston Rockets.

Was that move, one that was entirely unexpected, McDonough’s last gasp at attempting to prove that he was doing everything he possibly could to find a starting point guard? Was he hoping and praying that Melton could immediately become a diamond in the rough and solve the situation for the apparently ailing general manager, saving his job?

Melton obviously came highly regarded, a player who had in some circles had been considered a potential lottery pick, but who – due to extraneous circumstances – fell past Phoenix at 31 (where they took Okobo) to his selection point at 46.

He might someday prove to be a legitimate starting point guard in the NBA, but McDonough probably had hoped that Melton could show that that day was much  sooner rather than later, thus saving the general manager’s job.

(It is also entirely probable that McDonough had been attempting to acquire another starting point guard elsewhere in the league, potentially shooting for a star, and had been unable to make a deal that suited Phoenix and thus settled on Melton.)

McDonough of course had to trade a young player (Marquese Chriss) to get a young player, but at least shifted someone who’s position is one of a surplus for Phoenix for one who’s position is currently entirely dry of starting talent.

Certainly both Sarver and the fanbase as a whole can be happy that McDonough never overpaid or overspent for a point guard, making a move of a young player for an aging veteran or near unrestricted free agent just to meet a goal set by his boss, and nothing more.

But at the same time, he was unable to find a starting caliber point guard for this season, a situation that many felt to be inevitable.

dark. Next. Robert Sarver said that finding a point guard is a neceesity. Does James Jones make a trade right away?

In the end, McDonough’s inability to find that starter may have cost him his job. While some might deem it as well-deserved, it might also have been an overreaction by an impatient owner all things considered.

Regardless of which side is true, the Phoenix Suns are without a starting-caliber point guard at this moment and now without a full-time contracted General Manager.

The acquisition of De’Anthony Melton might have been Ryan McDonough’s last gasp at saving his job, and when the rookie wasn’t able to step right in as a starter, in the eyes of his owner, it just wasn’t nearly enough.