The Phoenix Suns are one of the worst teams in the NBA. They are young, have very little veteran leadership, and only one star. But would you be upset if they the roster wasn’t touched at all?
The Phoenix Suns are never going to be anything special in the NBA until they acquire at least one more star – if not two.
Sure, Deandre Ayton is expected to be that second star alongside Devin Booker, but if he does not develop into the kind of player that will result in the Shaq/Kobe 2.0 combination he stated they would be prior to his selection first overall, the Suns will likely need to acquire at least one more through trade or free agency in the next year or so to finally grow into the playoff team that we have all longed for, for so long.
In the meantime, Phoenix has a number of young assets and multiple draft picks they can use to make trades this season, potentially jumpstarting their growth process (and taking pressure off of Devin Booker who is obviously playing both out of position and out of his realm of comfort as a scorer and who could really use another star player on the roster to share the ball with giving Booker more freedom in the offense).
And while recent rumors which had Phoenix connected to Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks have been refuted locally, the fact that the Suns could potentially be in the process of searching for upgrades to the roster, including if not especially point guard, is probably smoke enough to know that somewhere there is at least a small fire.
Suns fans are definitely desperate for the team to get better, but over the past four seasons, many of us have become so accustomed to the “rebuild” that the idea of trading off those players who were acquired through the draft, each of whom were drafted so high that their ceiling should have been nothing short of stardom, that fans are afraid of letting some go for fear that when they leave they’ll finally be great.
The problem with this notion is that there is no way that each of them will be. The draft process in all sports is an inexact science and players who were drafted high and were sold on being the next big centerpiece, bust out and fail with such regularity that even number one overall picks are never guaranteed to either be the best in that draft class, or even relevant throughout their career.
The Phoenix Suns are by no means immune to this having missed out on at least three of their last seven top-ten picks with the likes of Alex Len, Marquese Chriss, and Dragan Bender all nothing better than okay role players, if not busted all together.
So while Suns fans see hope in these draft picks, and glom onto a single good game here or there as evidence that that player will eventually be great with total consistency, the odds of such long-term success are so long themselves that the risk is very likely greater than the reward.
And yet is seems that the franchise is actually taking such a sentiment to heart, at least at this time, apparently looking to continue to take the long-term approach of developing internally rather than finding established players from around the league who can step right in immediately and make a positive impact.
This, of course, has been the relative plan of the franchise for the last four offseasons, and has found success with the Philadelphia 76ers, but is also one fraught with risk which cannot be understated.
Should the Suns remain on this route not only through this season but also through the summer and into next season, continuing to stick to the young players and afford them the time to fail on the court here rather than succeed elsewhere, and it doesn’t work out, then the results which could lead to trade demands and stunted maturity, could be catastrophic.
But is this the risk that most Phoenix Suns fans would prefer to take?
Would they prefer to hold onto Josh Jackson who a year-and-a-half after being drafted fourth overall might not even be slated as worthy of a top-five pick anymore at this point in his own draft?
Would they rather stick with De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo, two players taken in the second round and neither of whom have shown to have been far undervalued in their respective drafts?
Would they rather keep the incoming draft pick, which has absolutely no guarantee of either being the first pick or an uber-talented player attached to the end of it?
Would Suns fans prefer to wait out another year of incessant losing with the hopes that all this young talent will suddenly find that right combination and coaching, osmosis, and maturity that will turn a bottom-feeder into a playoff contender simply with the turn of a few calendar pages?
It seems like this is the route that, unless a trade is brought to Robert Sarver and James Jones’ door that they absolutely cannot turn down, will continue, and it appears that it is also the path that many Suns fans are happy with – if not even advocating for.
For the last four seasons the Phoenix Suns have been the epitome of losing and each offseason brings hope of a turnaround that as of yet has failed to materialize.
But fans should be warned: waiting too long and being too patient with losing could have results far more disastrous in scale, than the potential results of winning this group might ever be able to produce.