NBA Predictions: Phoenix Suns Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 9/9/2013
The Phoenix Suns were in the Western Conference Finals in 2010. The Los Angeles Lakers knocked them out in that series, and the Suns have never been the same since. The team first tried to partially rebuild while keeping star Steve Nash on the roster. After that didn’t work at all, the Suns parted ways with Nash before last season. Phoenix went into complete rebuilding mode (albeit a strangely veteran one) before the 2012-13 season. The Suns ended up with a 25-57 record last season, which gave them the worst record in the Western Conference.
It’s been tough for the Suns fan base, because this is a team that has been quite successful over the years. This past year the Suns really lacked any true direction as a team. The team has made a bunch of moves during the offseason. Are they finally starting to find a direction for this new-look Phoenix Suns roster? Let’s take a closer look at the recent changes to the Phoenix Suns organization.
Suns Get a New GM
Lance Blanks was fired by the Suns in April. Blanks seemed to try to rebuild the team while attempting to remain competitive instead of cleaning house, and the results haven’t been good. Ryan McDonough was hired by the Suns to take over as their new general manager in May. McDonough has been the assistant general manager for the Boston Celtics over the past three years. McDonough comes from a family with tons of ties to professional sports, and he is widely seen as a rising star in the industry.
There is no doubt that McDonough was dealt a tough hand thanks to the mess left by Blanks, but he has dedicated himself to changing the Suns team in a big way already during this offseason. No one could accuse McDonough of sitting on his hands and hoping the team gets better. Instead, he has made moves to make the team younger and more budget-friendly. I think McDonough has a bright future in this league.
Getting Rid of Bad Contracts
It’s no secret that the Suns have signed some terrible contracts over the past few years. Phoenix was loaded with a bunch of veteran players who were overpaid a year ago. The new front office quickly made a move to start cutting costs in the offseason. Getting rid of Jared Dudley and Luis Scola were two of the team’s first moves in the offseason. After acquiring Caron Butler (who is owed $8 million this year), the team quickly shipped him off to Milwaukee and saved $5 million on their payroll. Jermaine O’Neal was let go to save the team some more money.
Buying out Michael Beasley’s contract didn’t save the team any money right away, but they are looking for a fresh start. The Suns organization made it clear that they will start holding players to a higher standard moving forward. Beasley had been a major distraction for the team of late, and moving on was a wise decision.
Hiring Jeff Hornacek as Head Coach
Jeff Hornacek was reported to be considered by the Boston Celtics in 2004 before they eventually hired Doc Rivers. The Phoenix Suns made a move to hire their very popular former player this offseason. Hornacek brings a lot of youthful energy to a team that desperately needs it. The community already likes him a great deal, so the move makes a lot of sense in multiple ways. Hornacek said he hopes to bring former coach Jerry Sloan’s toughness to this Phoenix team.
Stockpiling Young Talent
The Suns were in need of a major turn toward a youth movement. Over the past few years, they haven’t fully committed to bringing in young talent. McDonough and the new front office has quickly changed that, and the youth movement is now in place in Phoenix. Eric Bledsoe was the biggest pickup of the offseason. Bledsoe is a point guard who looks like a future NBA star, and he’ll finally get a chance to lead an NBA team in Phoenix. Don’t be surprised if he becomes an elite point guard very quickly.
The Suns drafted Alex Len and Archie Goodwin with their first-round draft picks in this year’s draft. Len is an extremely skilled big man who has the potential to be a major force on both sides of the floor. Goodwin gives the team improved depth in the backcourt. Taking a chance on Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green in the offseason were also wise moves that won’t cost the team much money.
NBA Prediction: Phoenix Suns Futures Odds
It’s no surprise that the oddsmakers don’t expect much of anything out of Phoenix this year. Bovada lists the Suns at 300/1 to win the 2014 NBA Championship. BetOnline lists the Suns at +15,000 to win the loaded Western Conference.
Of course, the Suns aren’t going to be an elite team in the 2013-14 season, but that isn’t the point. The point here is that the Suns new front office has taken some important steps toward making the Suns a contender in a couple years. Wise financial decisions and the stockpiling of young talent will put this team back on the road to recovery before long. Better days are coming for Suns fans!
Read more articles by Aaron Smith