Despite a mostly positive offseason, the Phoenix Suns have yet to win over the national media. ESPN is the latest to cast doubts over the team's future, taking issue with Phoenix's front office and financial situation among other things.

Despite 2,099 franchise wins and the fourth-best winning percentage among active teams, the Phoenix Suns have always been the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA. They just don't get any respect. With that in mind, it's time for another installment of Guess Who's Disrespecting Phoenix Now.

This time the honor goes to ESPN and their resident experts Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton with their Future Power Rankings. In short, they have predicted the outlook for every NBA team for the next three seasons using five different criteria, and as usual, they don't hold out much hope for the Suns.

Phoenix ranks 22nd overall on ESPN's list with a final score of 45 out of 100. That is down from 12th just a season ago and behind teams like Philadelphia (17th) and Utah (8th). And with a rationale that comes in at a sparse seven sentences, extrapolating ESPN's reasoning behind the numbers can be a bit of a guessing game. But what the heck. Let's do it anyway.

(To see more of the list for yourself, visit ESPN Future Power Rankings. If you want to see more than Golden State, you'll have to pay ESPN money.)


This category accounts for 50 percent of a team's total score, and with the Suns scoring a 41 out of 100 (19th in the league), it is no wonder they are ranked so low overall.

The main reason for Phoenix's low rating here seems to be replacing Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas with a "downgrade" in Brandon Knight and plugging Tyson Chandler in ahead of Alex Len. While an argument can be made for both points, calling a near-All Star in Knight a downgrade over a near-All Star in Dragic is a stretch, especially when Knight's body of work in Phoenix is so limited. As well, Chandler's presence does displace Len, but he also adds needed defensive presence and provides Len with a valuable mentor the young big would otherwise never have had.

Not helping Phoenix's cause here is that players expected to be key contributors off the bench (T.J. Warren, Sonny Weems, Mirza Teletovic) are mostly unknowns nationally.

It is important to note that this category is supposed to take into account not only the makeup of the current roster but player development going forward. If that is the case, then ESPN must not hold out much hope for the development of Bledsoe, Knight, Len, Warren, Devin Booker, or Archie Goodwin — all of whom will be 25 or younger when the season begins.


Phoenix suffered its biggest losses in this category, falling to 35 out of 100 for a tie at 21st overall with the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic.

This category takes into account the quality and stability of the front office, ownership, and coaching. Resisting the urge to be a homer, the Suns did deserve to lose ground here. The roster imbalance from last season was the front office's doing, and the result was Phoenix being staggered for the final 30 or so games of 2014-15, costing them a shot at the playoffs.

However, the front office also rebounded from that disaster better than could have been expected and nearly pulled off a coup this summer had LaMarcus Aldridge made a better decision. Going into July, no one expected the Suns to be legitimate contenders for his services, so to come as close as they did is at minimum a testament to the preparation and presentation skills of Phoenix's front office.

Meanwhile, the roster is full of good-value contracts, with Chandler's $13-million-a-year deal the only overpay (which stops looking bad by the summer of 2016), and the malcontents and bad influences of years past are all gone (save for one notable exception).

The Suns deserved a knock here after last season, but ranking Phoenix's management 12.5 points below Philadelphia, where Sam Hinkie isn't even trying to assemble a roster capable of winning, is absurd.


The Suns took another dip here from last season, dropping to a score of 50 (16th overall). This isn't surprising after the new contracts for Knight and Chandler ate into Phoenix's cap space, but this particular category feels overly simplistic. It should have taken more into account than simply how much money a team will have available to spend and if that team is willing to spend it. Assessing the value of each contract going forward should also have been included here, as that has a direct effect on a team's financial flexibility going forward.

And not to pick on Philadelphia, but the 76ers are rated at an eye-popping 99.5 here. They received such a high rating because they have money available for days, yet they have shown no recent inclination to spend any more than is absolutely necessary, which again, was supposedly one of the criteria used by ESPN for this category. When ESPN cannot even follow it's own methods for assessment, it calls into question the legitimacy of the entire process.


Yet another slip by Phoenix here, but a 59 out of 100 was still good enough for 11th in the league. This category takes into consideration "appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city's desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, (and) fans."

Since Phoenix as a city hasn't changed much since last year at this time, the biggest factors in this decline must be team quality and franchise reputation. The Suns fell from 48 wins to 39 last season and have had a few very public spats with players recently. On the plus side, lots of golf courses. Seems accurate.


This, the final category, saw Phoenix fall again to a 65 out of 100 but maintain a spot in the top 10 (7th overall). Simply, this category considers the number of draft picks a team owns and their likely position.

Losing the Lakers' minimally protected first-round pick at last year's trade deadline probably hurt this ranking the most, and the two firsts acquired from Miami don't convey within ESPN's window. That means the Suns' high rating is largely due to the value of its own draft picks, which says a lot about what ESPN thinks of Phoenix's chances going forward.


It's a list, conceived by two ESPN writers through bloodshot eyes in a poorly ventilated room where the only source of light is the dim glow of a computer monitor and where the tapping of keys on a keyboard by one of the men slowly drives the other mad. Take it for what it's worth.

Despite being such a well-rounded, physically gifted player, Eric Bledsoe is something of a divisive figure in the NBA community. Is he an up-and-coming star on the cusp of entering that...

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1. What’s the one question you want to ask Markieff Morris at media day and why? Gerald Bouguet (@GeraldBourguet):  I want to know if it would’ve made a difference if the Suns had called...

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As the Phoenix Suns get ready to kick off training camp with media day next Monday it's time to get the podcast back in full swing. After all, We Are B S O T S.

This will be the last episode this calendar year with no actual basketball activities to dissect. Dave and I will still manage to muddle our way through.

Of course, there is one preseason topic everyone will be keeping an eye on.

What would a fireside chat be without a little discourse on the inimitable Markieff Morris?

How will he act at media day? What should the Suns do with him? Will he do a read for our podcast intro?

After we talk shop with Markieff the Suns will be headed up to Flagstaff for camp before coming back for a free intrasquad scrimmage at the Madhouse on McDowell on Saturday, October 3rd at 6:00 pm.

Dave recounts his near death experience at the Madhouse and Jim rambles off on a mawkish tangent. What's your favorite memory of the Suns' previous stomping grounds?

Dave and I formulate a plan to hunt down the person who made the ill-advised decision to enunciate each letter in the P H X slogan instead of going with the more palatable "We are Phoenix" approach.

We will find you.

NBA 2K16 has released its full set of player rankings. Shockingly, no Suns cracked the top 10 at any position. Dave rips the game, not for it's ranking system... but for its animation... Who knew Dave was a gamer?

ESPN also decided to take a dump on the Suns... squeezing out a big double deuce (#22) future power ranking for the team. It seems just a tad low considering the Suns have been one of the nine worst teams in the league just once in their current five year playoff drought. Just when you think it can't get any worse... here comes the flagship.

Then, in the wake of Anthony Bennett's continuing plummet from grace, Dave and I redraft the top of the truly horrible 2013 class. Would the Suns still draft Alex Len fifth knowing what they know now?

Basketball is almost back.


This podcast can be downloaded directly from Blog Talk Radio.

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The Phoenix Suns have made a habit of bringing in guards from overseas to plug into their rotation, like Sonny Weems this year. It was a good move for P.J. Tucker, but an awful move for Josh Childress.

Many fans, players and members of the front office wonder what exactly the 6'6", 206 pound Sonny Weems is going to bring to the Phoenix Suns this season.

We know he still has great hops.

Look out below! Cell phone footage of @sonnyweems13 literally ripping down rim in workouts on the @annexusg...

— #WeArePHX (@Suns) September 21, 2015

Will he be the second coming of P.J. Tucker? Or Josh Childress?


Weems' NBA path most closely follows Tucker's - drafted in the second round, a poor-shooting tweener who leaves the Raptors for more opportunity overseas, wins a lot of games, then comes back to the NBA with the Suns.

No one knew anything about Tucker until he donned a Suns Summer League jersey and hustled his way onto the roster. Assistant Coach Dan Majerle loved Tucker's hustle, and soon Head Coach Alvin Gentry did as well. Tucker went from being a question mark in the 2012 preseason to a wing starter on December 31 next to Jared Dudley, ahead of... (clears throat)... Shannon Brown and Michael BeasleyGawd, that was an awful team!

From that point on, Tucker started 126 of 133 possible games until being suspended to open the 2014-15 season. Even then, he reclaimed his starting spot from Marcus Morris after 18 games and never gave it back.

Tucker is not an NBA star. Far from it. In three Suns seasons, he's averaged just 8.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in 28 minutes per game. He patterns his game on consistent hustle - something coaches absolutely love. Tucker's rebound rate at the small forward position is incredibly high, despite being only 6'5", and he frequently takes on the opponent's best offensive player. Mostly, that's a wing but Tucker's also been seen guarding DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, and some of the league's best point guards.

Does that describe Sonny Weems? No.

Weems is more of an athlete whose hustle comes and goes. He's got great hops, and has figured out how to make three pointers (40% last year), but has been playing lesser athletic competition for years.

Or Childress?

In terms of wiry athletes who go overseas and succeed mainly based on their superior athleticism, Josh Childress comes to mind.

Childress was originally a first round pick and played four very good seasons (11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists as a small forward) as a sixth man for Atlanta before a contract dispute pushed him overseas for greener pastures. The Hawks offered him more than $5.5 million per year, with raises, but he took $7 million per year overseas with powerhouse Olympiacos. At the time, Childress was thought to be a trail blazer for midlevel guys to get more money overseas, but few NBA players actually followed him.

Suns fans remember the awful Childress who came back to the NBA just two years later. Somehow, the athletic defender left his quickness in Greece. He looked okay in preseason workouts, but he was overmatched as soon as players were going full speed in the regular season.

Childress' early NBA career was made on slashing and scoring from the wing, and on defending wing players. He couldn't shoot to save his life. Back in the NBA for the 2010-11 season on a contract paying what he always wanted - $7 million per year - he was unable to earn solid playing time because he still couldn't shoot and his slashing ability had disappeared.

He was so bad, the Suns used the amnesty clause on him in 2012 and JUST NOW stopped paying him $7 million per year to not play for them. For $35 million, Childress delivered 88 games of action, including 3 starts (once as a joke against Mike D'Antoni's Knicks), and 4.2 points per game.

Who is Sonny Weems?

Weems won't be Childress or Tucker, but those comparisons are interesting to consider.

It's quite possible Weems has kept his athleticism and will be able to keep up with NBA players on the wing. It's quite possible he will make 35+% of his threes to keep the floor spaced when he's out there.

But it's just as possible that he will no longer be able to keep up with NBA guys and will get lost on defense too often to keep his spot in the rotation.

Let's take a look at Sonny Weems more indepth.

Our own Sam Cooper did a great film study on Sonny this month. It's really a must-read for those who like to know more about how players react on the court.

And back in August, I posted this scouting report on Weems from 2013 when he was first rumored to want to return to the NBA.

Will Weems be a success or failure in his return to the NBA?

Luckily, the Suns have only committed $3 million to him (versus $35 million to Childress) to find out. And if Weems is a bust, his competition is much more enticing than Shannon Brown and Michael Beasley. Weems' competition at shooting guard and small forward includes youngsters Brandon Knight, T.J. Warren, Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker, along with veteran P.J. Tucker.

Whose Suns career will Weems most likely mirror?

  486 votes | Results

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