The worst phrase uttered in sports is “we’re comfortable with losing.” When a team, like the Phoenix Suns, are comfortable with losing, the clock is ticking on an inevitable implosion.
The Phoenix Suns have been one of the worst teams in the league for far too long now. A franchise once synonymous with postseason play, a team that could be penciled into a preseason postseason playoff bracket, they now have not experienced the big dance going on nine years.
Meaning that every single player that has be drafted by the Phoenix Suns since 2010 has not experienced a playoff run with their original franchise in their entire career.
Most importantly that means Devin Booker and T.J Warren.
The worst of it too is that this is a franchise who hasn’t even been close since 2014, the year before Devin Booker was drafted.
And now, four years into a seemingly endless tank, and Devin Booker believes that his team is “comfortable” with losing. They are so used to it, it is so expected of an outcome every night, that they aren’t even bothered by it. They can’t win, so when they lose, why be upset because they’re just going to lose again the next time out.
Fans can point fingers all they want at who is at fault (Robert Sarver), but what is important to note about this position by Booker is that the clock is now ticking on a full implosion if nothing is done about it ASAP, and the catalyst will be Booker himself.
Whether or not a statement like this means that Booker is going to demand a trade remains to be seen, he could also force other players out in a public (or just behind the scenes) blow up that will tear the locker room apart and potentially damage the franchise’s image even more.
This is incredibly dangerous ground that the Phoenix Suns are standing on at the moment. To be “comfortable” with losing is an extraordinarily tenuous position as it could mean that there is no hope with the current core to ever get back to winning ways.
Players can not only develop terrible habits, becoming lazy or incurring a general malaise with their off-day working out, stunting their growth as an individual, but also they could completely lose belief that their team and this franchise can ever win, entirely undermining the competitive process before it starts.
Players then also talk with one another around the league, and not only get into Suns player’s ears, constantly reminding them that there is greener grass elsewhere, but current players could also remind outsiders that there is no reason to come to Phoenix because they’re never going to win anyway.
At that point all the franchise could do organizationally to acquire talent is to continue to lose seeking the best possible draft picks, which is an extremely inefficient way of building a team, a black hole that the franchise might never be ale to escape.
At the moment the Phoenix Suns have become the Clippers of the 1980-90s: constant losing, drafting a star player here and there but never building a winner around them, and perpetuating losing to the degree that it becomes natural for the franchise to lose the way it once was natural for the Phoenix Suns to win.
Devin Booker has articulated that which all franchise’s fear to hear the most: that they are comfortable with losing. There is no trap more dangerous for a team to fall in, and if it’s true, the clock is ticking, and we may have entered the beginning of the end, the beginning of a much longer era of losing than we could ever imagine.