So, I was going to do something a little more basketball-related before I started perusing the comments of the more recent posts. There's a lot of agita and anguish around the Bright Side given Phoenix's recent woes on the basketball court and in the standings. And so I wanted to take a step back and take a look at how far this franchise has come in less than a year and how much we have to celebrate already! This may be totally corny, but I don't care. Everyone needs a little corn in their diets. Let's take a minute to do something positive for ourselves.
Last year, this team was a trainwreck. Lance Blanks. Lindsey Hunter. Michael Beasley. Shannon Brown. 25-57. Whatever hope we had as fans going into that season was extinguished almost immediately when Phoenix dropped back-to-back games to Miami and Orlando by over 20 points each. If the writing wasn't on the wall then, it certainly was by the time Alvin Gentry was fired halfway through the year. Sure we might have held out hope that they could right the ship, but for the first time in ages, we were all pretty sure we were looking at a legit lottery team. In a weak draft, natch.
And we were all pretty sure we were looking at a legit lottery team when this year started as well. Two starting point guards. First year head coach. Injured lottery pick. A starting power forward who hadn't played in over a year. A bench consisting of inconsistent twins who seemed to be competing for the title of lesser brother and a bunch of throw-ins from the Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat salary dumps.
Hell, 6 of the Suns' current players (P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Ish Smith, Archie Goodwin, Miles Plumlee) played in Summer League this year. And it would have been 7 if Alex Len had been healthy. Half the roster. That is not a good omen. All but a tiny minority thought that this year was going to be a long, losing fuse on the way to #ignitingthefuture. Entertaining losses were the ceiling most of us put on the Suns' season this year.
And yet, here we are. 38-29. Two potential all-stars starting at guard. Several Most Improved Player candidates. A Sixth Man of the Year candidate. A Coach of the Year candidate. A top-5 MVP guy in Goran Dragi?. Two rookies who look poised to flourish given time and tutelage. And those throw-ins I mentioned before are in out starting line-up and among the first guys off the bench. This team can lose 11 of its next 15 games and still finish above .500. Oh, and next year we have several first round picks and cap space to spare.
Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a very good year. I think we should take a moment to appreciate it. So the comments section for this post are a straight up appreciation and gratitude thread. The next four weeks are going to provide more than enough time to agonize over playoff position and mid-round lottery picks and what could have been. So let's set those worries and concerns about rotations and poor defense aside for just a minute and bask in the glory of where we're at. No Debbie Downers or Negative Neds allowed. Let's all just take a minute and acknowledge one or two things about this year's Phoenix Suns team that we are happy/grateful/excited about. I think it might do us some good.
I'll kick things off by extending my gratitude to one Mr. Robert Sarver. I have no doubt that Mr. Sarver has always wanted to field a winner since taking over the team. Along the way, he has made mistakes, but he has also seen fit to acknowledge and learn from those mistakes. I am very happy that we have an owner that has grown into his role and made a point of eliminating those parts of the organization that don't work and experimenting with new ones! It's him we have to thank for Ryan McDonough, Jeff Hornacek and the culture of winning they've instilled in this team this year. Thank you, Mr. Sarver!
Thank a commenter. Appreciate a player. Show some love to a broadcaster. It doesn't matter. Make it rain positivity in the comments! Let's do something nice for ourselves as a community. The stressful stuff can wait until tip-off against the Magic tonight.