What are the Phoenix Suns doing? Seriously, a year after hiring Igor Kokoskov, the Suns are going in another direction as of Tuesday morning. Yes, the Suns finished the season with a (19-63) record. They were tied for the second worst record in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, this was not the time to fire their head coach.
The Suns have already had four head coaches since the start of the 2015-16 season. They will have their sixth head coach at the start of the 2019 season. Furthermore, the Suns haven’t reached the 25-win plateau in the last four years. The records aren’t good, but neither is the continuity.
For one, they have drafted players that aren’t capable of making an impact on the game. Clearly, a bunch of 18 and 19 year olds haven’t had the capability of getting it done. Yet, it hasn’t stopped the Suns from making horrible decisions year after year.
They’ve also gotten rid of NBA players in favor of personnel that couldn’t dominate on the college level. In 2013-14, the Suns had Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic on the roster. Bledsoe only played 43 games with the Suns that season. However, they won 48 games. The very next season, Dragic played 52 games with the Suns before being dealt to the Miami Heat.
Keep in mind, the back court duo of Bledsoe and Dragic still led the Suns in scoring. They also added a 5’9” point guard dynamo off the bench. Isaiah Thomas was fourth on the team at 15.2 points per game. The Suns also traded Thomas to the Boston Celtics in the same season. They seemed to have a strong rotation of guards. However, the Suns also drafted young guards the prior two years. Therefore, we saw roster moves that didn’t make sense. Moreover, Bledsoe forced his way out of town when he saw the writing on the wall. Now, Bledsoe is playing the best basketball of his career for a winning team.
Remember, they selected Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin to play combo guard in 2013. A year later, the Suns selected Tyler Ennis out of Syracuse to be their next point guard. Both players had a combined two years of college experience. It’s not even worth it to post their NBA stats in this. Just know, the two guards didn’t even play in the NBA this season. How can you expect coaches to flourish when your first-round guard selections aren’t even in the league at 23 years old? Yet, these aren’t the only bad decisions by the Suns.
In 2016, the Suns brought in Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss to their rookie draft class. Chriss lasted two seasons with the Suns. He played for the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers this past season. Meanwhile, Bender completed his third season with the Suns. He is averaging 5.3 points in 171 games played. Bender just turned 21 years old. Regardless of what happens, he will be on his fourth coach in four years. How do you expect a team to elevate and grow if they aren’t given the time to develop?
The Suns may have two cornerstone pieces for the franchise going forward. Obviously, Devin Booker is heading towards stardom in the NBA. He needs to win more games to be validated. T.J. Warren is also a player that can be a valuable scorer. However, his days may be numbered with the Suns. The Suns also have DeAndre Ayton and Kelly Oubre in the fold. Meanwhile, rookie Mikal Bridges started to have a strong rookie season and should progress nicely. Yet, Josh Jackson was selected to be a future star in the league. His scoring average dipped from 13.1 points per game as a rookie to 11.5 points per game as a second year player. However, he did increase the 3-point shooting numbers from 26 percent to 32 percent.
None of the players mentioned are over 25. If recent history suggests anything, some of these pieces will be moved for more young and unproven basketball talents, leaving the Suns in the never-ending cycle of suckiness.
Therefore, you can blame Kokoskov for the (19-63) record. That’s fine. But when are the Suns going to blame themselves for decreasing the win total over the last four seasons.