The Phoenix Suns can use Disney as the ultimate recruiting trip

Phoenix Suns, Monty Williams (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Monty Williams (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns will have a unique opportunity in Disney World to showcase their franchise and convince players the future is bright in the Valley of the Sun.

Recruiting players to your team used to just be a college thing. Now, in today’s NBA where players, especially stars, have nearly as much to do with which team they play for as general managers, professional recruiting is very real. When the Phoenix Suns go to Disney, they might not have the best chance of making the playoffs, but they have a tremendous opportunity to recruit.

Whether you want to believe it or not, the Suns don’t have the league’s most shining of reputations. In late 2018, a former Suns player told a writer at Valley of the Suns that players try to avoid the franchise partly because the organization doesn’t pay coaches and GMs much, and Sarver doesn’t run things well.

Fast forward almost two years and there is reason to think that image might be changing. With a well-respected coach in Monty Williams, a group full of young, promising talent, and a brand new, state-of-the-art arena with a technology-packed performance center, Phoenix isn’t the undesirable locale it was of yesteryear.

However, like any good car salesman will tell you, that Mercedes ain’t gonna sell itself.

(Note: I have no idea if car salesmen would actually say that, but it seems like something they would say.)

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The Phoenix Suns can use Disney as the ultimate recruiting trip.

My point is Monty Williams is going to have an unusually large amount of access to nearly 75 percent of players in the league for over a month. He absolutely has to take advantage of this unprecedented tight-knit environment to build trust with potential free agents (or even trade targets) and sell them on the Phoenix Suns.

Other professions do this; why can’t the Suns? When large corporations host an event at a major Scottsdale resort, they don’t just do it because they like the hotel’s water slide. They are networking, conversing, and building their brand. The Suns have to do the same thing at their built-in destination work trip in Orlando.

However, just like in the real world, or more specifically in the college ranks, it’s not just incumbent on the leaders and coaching staff to do the recruiting. Stars like Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Kelly Oubre need to do their best to flip the organization’s reputation and allure other top-tier players.

Even guys like Mikal Bridges, who once admitted he wasn’t excited to be drafted to Phoenix but loved it when he got here, need to let other players around the league that this place isn’t so bad after all.

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As much as some Phoenix Suns fans might wish it to be so, Robert Sarver isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it will be incumbent on others within the organization to convince outsiders this franchise has come a long way in spite of Sarver. The team may never shed itself of the Starver stench, but it can mask it with some serious potpourri.

The Suns might not make the playoffs, but getting an invite to Disney is the step they needed to make in order to prove they are out of the doldrums for good. With that part out of the way, it’s time to leverage this extra basketball into more than just a tuneup for next season and getting younger guys some playing time.

Get into someone’s ear while poolside. Talk about how much excitement there is for the future over a game of (singles) ping-pong. Convince them they might become as good as Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton in NBA 2K while beating them in NBA 2K.

Whatever they have to do, it is time to pull out the orange and purple carpet and show the league times are changing in the Valley of the Sun. There might not ever be a better opportunity to do it.

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