The Phoenix Suns future for the 2013-14 NBA season does not look so bright. Last year the Suns ended with a 25-57 record, which was the worst season for the franchise since the Suns inaugural season back in 1968-69 when they went 16-66. Heading into the 2013-14 NBA season, the Suns have cleaned house, but most experts feel that they have done nothing to make the team any better.
The last time the Suns were relevant in the NBA was during the 2009-10 season, which was the last season the Suns made the post season, going 54-28 during the regular season. Since then, the Suns have gone 98-132 over three seasons. The Suns got rid of their well-liked head coach, Alvin Gentry, and replaced him with an inexperienced Lindsay Hunter halfway through the 2012-13 season. That experiment lasted just 41 games, and they have now hired Jeff Hornacek to take over for the 2013-14 season. Although Hornacek may be a good choice due to his familiarity with the team and organization, being drafted by and playing for the Suns for six seasons, Hornacek is unproven as an NBA head coach, and does not have much team talent to work with this year.
The Suns have completely dismantled their team heading into the 2013-14 NBA season, leaving just four returning players from last season. After such a horrific season, common sense would say that getting rid of most of the players would be a good thing, but that is not the case for the Suns. The Suns have replaced their former players with less experienced, highly questionable talent, in what seems to be an attempt to acquire future draft picks. The Suns seem willing to tank this season in order to obtain more draft picks in the future. Given the fact that the last four first round draft picks for the Suns prior to this year were Kendall Marshall (2012), Markieff Morris (2011), Earl Clark (2009), and Robin Lopez (2008), the scouting department does not offer a great deal of hope for future draft picks becoming franchise players.
It seems like just yesterday that the Phoenix Suns had star players such as Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Grant Hill, and Shawn Marion leading the way to an exciting season, and another trip to the NBA playoffs. Today, the Suns lineup will consist of players most recreational fans have never heard of. The four returning players from last season are Goran Dragic, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, and P.J. Tucker. Channing Frye did not play last year due to an enlarged heart condition, but has been cleared to play for the Suns this season. The remaining roster consists of the following players:
Alex Len (Fifth overall pick in 2013 NBA Draft)
Eric Bledsoe (Backup with Clippers, 6.7 PPG Career AVG)
Dionte Christmas (No NBA experience)
Archie Goodwin (2013 First round pick of OKC, just turned 19)
Gerald Green (Six years in NBA, 8.0 PPG Career AVG)
Slava Kravtsov (One year with Detroit, 3.1 PPG AVG)
Emeka Okafor (out at least through January with a herniated disk in his neck)
Miles Plumlee (14 games played last year with Indiana, 0.9 PPG AVG)
Ish Smith (Sixth team in 4 years, 2.4 PPG Career AVG)
The Suns are planning on playing point guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe together in the back court. With Len coming off two ankle surgeries, Miles Plumlee looks to be the starting center to begin the season. Markieff Morris looks to start at the power forward, and undersized P.J. Tucker will begin the season as the starting small forward.
There are so many questions regarding where the scoring is going to come from, who will be the team leader, team depth, and whether all the new players can come together as a cohesive group. It has been four years since the Phoenix Suns have been competitive in the NBA, and it may be another three or four before they become relevant again. It looks to be another long season for the Phoenix Suns, whose biggest struggle may be not to lose more games than the year before.