Phoenix Suns GM James Jones could be a shoe-in for Executive of the Year

James Jones Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry GossageNBAE via Getty Images)
James Jones Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry GossageNBAE via Getty Images) /

The second in an on-going offseason series about how the Phoenix Suns can win every major 2019-20 NBA award, James Jones could be a shoe-in as the Executive of the Year.

James Jones was placed in an unenviable position of needing to remake the Phoenix Suns’ roster, something has managed to do dramatic fashion in just one offseason.

While the Suns are not the only team in the league to have been given a complete makeover, they were by far  the worst team in the league from last season to have received such a makeover this summer.

Meaning that the Phoenix Suns have the opportunity to climb higher in the standings than any other team in the league.

In a way, he has become an architect of destruction, as in: he has destroyed nearly everything that Ryan McDonough built, which let’s be fair, was terrible.

Gone is Josh Jackson. Gone is Dragan Bender. Gone is Marquese Chriss. Gone is T.J. Warren. Gone is Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson. Gone is Troy Daniels and Richaun Holmes.

Other than Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges, gone are all the names that had soured fans of the franchise for the last few years, players who fell extraordinarily short of expectations and brought the once proud franchise to the ground year-in-and-year-out.

In their place are a number of veterans who both want to be here and who will not be asked to lead by voice or from the bench, but lead with their play, scoring points, grabbing rebounds, dishing assists, blocking shots, and making the life of the opponent as miserable as possible.

Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, and Dario Saric, each replace young players who unfortunately never amounted to anything in the league and several of whom may find themselves out of the NBA very soon.

Gone is Igor Kokoskov too, replaced by Monty Williams, one of the most well-respected and sought after head coaches in all of the NBA this summer.

The Phoenix Suns, at the hand of the ever-aggressive Jones, might as well be a brand new car replacing an old beater that finally and mercifully died after last season.

Make no mistake: this isn’t a paint job. Jones bought the same make and model by retaining Booker, Ayton, and Bridges, this is a brand new car – and it is sporty.

The roster overhaul, however, can not be considered complete without too considering his two draft picks, Cameron Johnson and Ty Jerome.

While veterans should be expected to be signficiant improvements over young failures, and the young studs retained (which does too include Kelly Oubre) each now have an additional year of NBA play under their belts, if Jones hit on Cam and Ty, then the roster is that much better at two key issues of faults from last season.

Cameron Johnson has been billed as a possible  Klay Thompson-type player, and if he is able to shoot anywhere near the 45% that he fired last season at North Carolina (40.0% would be spectacular), then he will help to dramatically improve the franchise’s awful shooting woes that has placed them at the base of the league in 3-point shooting for the past two seasons.

Ty Jerome is a born leader, a consummate professional, and an assist magnate, if he is able to play himself into the primary backup role (and deserve it – unlike rookies of the Ryan McDonough past), then the roster will have serious depth at the position for the first time in several years.

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While James Jones does not need either of them to actually win the Rookie of the Year Award for himself to be considered as Executive of the Year, if at least Cam Johnson plays well and earns some national recognition for his play, draft day critics of the position that Johnson was taken will have to change their tune in complete favor of the selection itself.

The beauty of the position that James Jones has found himself in is that the team can only go up.

There is zero chance that a roster that now features Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric at point guard and power forward versus Isaiah Canaan and Dragan Bender will finish with 19 wins again and compete for the worst record in the league.

There is zero chance that the team as constructed will be blown out by 20+ points more often than they will win games by a minimum of 10.

Once the team wins their 19th game (which if things go exceptionally well could conceivably come before Christmas), each successive victory by a franchise that has been publicly mocked mercilessly by loud-talkers such as Bill Simmons only bolsters the argument that what Jones has built this offseason is a competitive, at least bordering on a successful team for the first time in several years.

If the Phoenix Suns double their win total from last season and win 38 games, they likely still do not make the playoffs.

In fact, it is a near impossibility considering how insanely stacked the Western Conference is right now.

However, if winners of 38; if not blown out often throughout the league; he could very easily be the front-runner to win the award – the first since Bryan Colangelo in 2004-05.

If the Phoenix Suns happen to reach 40 wins, again, even if they miss the playoffs then the award is his.

If somehow, someway they make  the playoffs, the award might become named after him.

Next. How a Phoenix Suns rookie an win the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year Award. dark

James Jones is in the perfect position to win the Executive of the Year award in 2020 as the Phoenix Suns are in a position to be forced to climb up from the very bottom of the league standings with a revamped roster full of the perfect mix of youth and veterans.

Next offseason, this award could be his for the taking.