For the second straight season Robert Sarver publicly set an expectation for the Phoenix Suns that they were going to be nowhere near being able to achieve. But they are not tanking, they are just losing.
We were told it was time to win.
We were told that the Phoenix Suns were done tanking and that the offseason moves meant that the rebuild was over and that it was time to begin to make moves strictly for wins and eventually the playoffs.
Chips were cashed in at the draft to find another win-now-type player.
The young players are a year older and thus supposedly a year better.
Deandre Ayton was supposed to be an immediate impact player.
Then the Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks on opening night, and not only did so in exciting but in an extremely efficient manner.
For a split second it felt like they were finally there. They are finally a team on the rise. The playoffs might not happen this season but they are not too far out.
Phoenix is 3-24 since.
But it’s not like they are tanking. Everyone who is healthy is playing (Devin Booker has missed some time which obviously hurts, but it’s not like they were winning when he was playing anyway). They released Tyson Chandler, but Richaun Holmes is better.
Ryan Anderson is easily the worst player on the roster, and he’s not playing.
Phoenix too hired a head coach who knows his stuff and isn’t just spewing ridiculous platitudes to sound smart.
When writing and tweeting I too get a little caught up with the old idea of tanking and use that term for how the Suns are playing. It’s easy to say. Comfortable. We’ve been saying it for so long and feeling good about it that continuing to use the phrase doesn’t feel all that out of the ordinary.
But the truth of the matter is, they aren’t tanking. They’re just losing. Somehow, with an older, more veteran-laden roster, the Phoenix Suns aren’t playing any better, but worse, and this time they’re not losing on purpose.
The Phoenix Suns aren’t tanking for Zion Williamson this year, he just might be a pleasant gift after an unexpectedly bad season.
Hopefully if Phoenix is going to have a great pick again they are able to select Zion, and hopefully he’s the right guy to help the Phoenix Suns finally stop with the losing, whether it’s intentional, or not.