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PHOENIX - MAY 29: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
I generally like going into a season with the knowledge that the Suns are underestimated.
We all know about lame summer articles on the dormant NBA, but this is getting ridiculous. And I'm even a fan of numbers, and using them to help predict the future.
But what I don't like is when a writer, in this case Chad Ford of ESPN (with the help of John Hollinger), come up with these crystal-ball-on-steroids predictions of gloom and doom for teams' futures.
This work screams of desperation. And it's filled with total crap.
The writers, reportedly, are predicting the on-the-court success of all 30 NBA franchises, starting 1 year from today, for 3 years after that.
Somehow, they've ranked the Suns 27th overall. They are saying that, starting a year from now, the Suns will perennially be drafting in the top 5 of the lottery.
27. Phoenix Suns | Future Power Rating: 399
PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT 136 (24th) 55 (23rd) 95 (17th) 63 (9th) 50 (15th)
The enthusiasm over the Suns' terrific run to the Western Conference finals was seriously dampened by a pretty crappy June and July.
When team president and GM Steve Kerr resigned, owner Robert Sarver took over front-office operations and managed to do a great deal of damage in just a few weeks.
First he lost Amare Stoudemire in free agency, and then he took on Hedo Turkoglu's huge contract while also overpaying Josh Childress (who plays the same position as Turkoglu), Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick. Sarver eventually brought on respected player agent Lon Babby as the team's new president, but at that point, most of the damage had been done.
Sarver's moves will help keep the Suns respectable for the moment, but for the future, the picture is bleak. As Steve Nash ages, it's hard to imagine how the role players Phoenix has put around him will be able to prevent a Suns slide into irrelevance.
(Previous rank: 25)
I can see them ranking the Suns' management team low, due to the turnover. But 23rd? Really? This is the Suns, with the 3rd best winning percentage in the ENTIRE ASSOCIATION for the past 6 years since Sarver became owner. Does that not count?
And somehow, there are 23 teams with a better roster than the Suns going into next summer (sans Richardson and Hill, and with everyone else a year older)? Really? On what basis are the Suns suddenly a lottery team?
Of course, if you look at the note in parenthesis at the bottom of the section, you see this:
(Previous rank: 25)
Given the one-year-ahead nature of this prediction, this means a year ago they expected THIS UPCOMING SEASON'S team to be worse than all but 5 other teams in the league.
Can you see our current team, heading into the 2010-2011 season, winning only 20 or so games? Neither can I.
If they were so wrong a year ago, how can they make the same mistake again?
What do we make of this numbers game, when we put it all into context of REAL LIFE?
Is it rocket science, or a smoky cauldron of cooked pigeon droppings?
I can't wait till Sarver, Babby, Nash and Hill lead this team deep in the playoffs again, and every year for the next 4 years. And by doing so, rub this prediction in the faces of those pencil-necked geeks at ESPN.
How do I know this will happen? Because the Suns have done it for the past six years, despite the turnover and changes. The Suns have the 3rd best winning percentage in the league for the past 6 seasons, and been to 3 Western Conference Finals in that time.
How many other teams can say that? Certainly not 24 of them. More like a single handful.