Phoenix Suns should look to the Jazz on how to construct a team

Kelly Oubre Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kelly Oubre Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Utah Jazz have built themselves into a perennial playoff team and a dark horse title contender. The Phoenix Suns should take some notes.

The Phoenix Suns struggled against a bad Chicago Bulls team Saturday, having to come from behind in the second half and find a way to stop rookie—cough, cough—sensation, Coby White. Luckily, the Bulls love to turn the ball over almost as much as they like to jack up contested 3s and made it easy for them to get back in it.

Next, they face the Utah Jazz, a much better team than the Bulls, and one (and I can’t believe I’m saying this about the Jazz) that they should emulate.

The two teams—Suns and Jazz—are in similar, mid-major markets. Traditionally, they’ve struggled to attract major, or even minor, free agents. Landing Rubio this summer was a big deal for the Suns, whose last big free agent signing was Tyson Chandler.

I know, depressing, isn’t it?

The same has held true for the Jazz. Landing Bogdanovic was a big win for them, but whereas both Bogdanovic and Rubio are solid players and are necessary if you’re going to win games, they’re not All-Stars. You need All-Stars if you’re going to be consistently good.

The Jazz had two All-Stars in this year’s showcase. Both of them drafted by the team, both of them brought up in a stable environment with a system and philosophy entrenched within the organization. The players they’ve put around said All-Stars, Rudy Gobert and Donavan Mitchell, all complement not just them as players but the system they have in place.

The Suns had an All-Star this year too, their first one since Steve Nash. (How does Nash’s name still—almost a decade after leaving the team—get brought up almost every time something is written about the Suns? Oh yeah, that’s the last time this team was any good.) And even though it was good to see Book get some All-Star love, it came on the back of an injury.

Thanks for that, by the way, Dame Lillard. Speedy recovery to you.

Booker is better than Mitchell in just about every category except for dunking and wins and losses, which is why Mitchell was an O.G. All-Star and not a replacement.

They also have a potential All-Star in Deandre Ayton. While Ayton may not be as long as Gobert, he moves as good or better and has the ability to guard on the perimeter. He also has a much more polished offensive game.

Booker and Ayton have the chance to be a better version of Mitchell and Gobert.

What the Phoenix Suns need to do is construct a front office that is consistent, not prone to knee-jerk reactions, and one that doesn’t alienate players by constantly chasing every shiny object that comes up on the trade or free agent market. Stability is the hallmark of most consistently good to great teams, the Jazz being one of them.

The Suns last played the Jazz at the beginning of the season, way back on October 28th of 2019. It seems like a season ago, back when the Suns looked like a lock after ten games to make the playoffs.

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Times have changed, but the Phoenix Suns remain much the same, still struggling to win games. Still struggling to find an identity. Meanwhile, the Jazz keep on winning. Let’s hope that changes soon.