Suns rebuild in full swing
The rebuild in Phoenix began in earnest with Steve Nash leaving the desert to join the Los Angeles Lakers prior to last season.
As expected, the year was not a smooth one for the Suns.
Finishing with the worst record in the Western Conference, the Suns struggled mightily and Alvin Gentry lost his job.
Expectations should be similarly low in Phoenix again this season with the team fully commiting to a rebuild.
Still, there appears to be a plan in place and hope for the future.
Who's In/Who's Out
Key Additions: Eric Bledsoe, Emeka Okafor, Archie Goodwin, Gerald Green, Viacheslav Kravtsov, Malcolm Lee, Alex Len, Ish Smith, Alex Oriakhi, Miles Plumlee
Key Losses: Marcin Gortat, Wesley Johnson, Jared Dudley, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee, Kendall Marshall, Hamed Haddadi, Jermaine O'Neal, Luis Scola, Michael Beasley
This Suns team is not very good, but that’s fine. New coach Jeff Hornacek harbours no expectations for his young club and will use the year to continue to develop his young charges.
Only two players on the Suns are 30 or over (Channing Frye and the newly acquired Emeka Okafor) and the team could have up to four first-round picks in the 2014 draft (their own, as well as a lottery-protected pick from the Indiana Pacers, a top-13-protected pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves and a top-12-protected pick from the Washington Wizards.) Okafor, just acquired from the Wizards, could also be dealt later this season in an attempt to obtain more future assets. This will be a year to truly lay the foundation for success.
The Best in the West?
Just Keep Improving
Another Trying Season
They're Not Last
Playing For 2014-15
While the focus is on the future for the Suns, it doesn’t mean the team is devoid of bright spots. First-round pick (#5-overall) Alex Len, along with Okafor, will fill the void left by Gortat and Len's ceiling, despite his injury history, is high, especially on the defensive end.
Much is also expected of newly acquired point guard Eric Bledsoe, who will be given free rein to run much of the Suns’ offence. A fine outside shooter, Bledsoe will no longer be stuck behind Chris Paul for minutes with the Clippers and will have the chance to show that he is capable of excelling at the NBA level.
He and Goran Dragic have the chance to be very fun to watch on the court.
And with next year's NBA Draft expected to be one of the deepest in year's, the Suns should be able to add another quality player next summer.
The Not So Good
Without sounding too glib, the inexperience level and a general lack of demonstrable skill mean that the Suns will be one of the Western Conference’s weaker sisters.
But again, this won’t come as a surprise and it’s an expected part of the rebuild.
The Suns might be a soft touch for the immediate future, but if things go according to plan, that won’t be true for long.
What To Expect
The Sacramento Kings aren't very good either so there is a chance that the Suns won't finish last in the Pacific division.
There is a better chance that they will finish at the bottom though. Expect lots of losses and a high lottery pick.