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As the off-season commences, changes are inevitable. As long as the Suns' "stupid" mentality endures, I can accept that.

As we head into the draft, very little is certain about what this team will look like when they tip off the 2014/15 season. Jeff Hornacek will definitely be the coach and Goran Dragic will most likely be leading the charge from the backcourt, but only one other thing is clear: There will be changes.

Accepting Change

I'd be a happy basketball fan if the 2013/14 season never ended, instead existing throughout eternity in some kind of space-time loop. The Mo Bros throwing high/low alley-oops to each other, Plumlee cleaning the boards and clanking hookshots, Ish getting brief 4-minute long appearances in which he darts around aimlessly, on and on. Alas, it ended rather unceremoniously and one must allow room for growth.

The summer of 2013 was so much easier to deal with. We were sifting through the rubble of a complete organizational meltdown, culminating from three years of poor decision-making, and there were no emotional ties to be severed. Once Ryan McDonough was hired we knew that Gortat, Scola, Dudley, Brown, Beasley and Smilin' Wes Johnson were not part of the new direction, and quite frankly it was nothing to be sentimental about.

(Good lord, when you list all those names like that ... how did we even win 25 games??)

Change was not only welcome -- it was pleaded for. As fans we were like the cliche horror movie victim that is being kept alive as a host for some alien parasite and is begging for the hero to finish them off. And McDonough did just that, cranking up his flame-thrower and ending our misery.

This time it is much more complicated. Every player on this team played their part perfectly last season, and the entire roster exemplifies -- in one way or another -- what this organization is trying to accomplish. It's hard for me to even imagine the Suns going on a big run without Dionte Christmas cheering and waving his towel. I still haven't gotten over Slava, for chrissake.

Yes, OK, I can admit that the team does need improvement before becoming a true contender. Fine. But please be sure to consider the unique culture that was forged in the desert. Something really weird and special happened last season, and great care needs to be taken to maintain these characteristics through any roster turnover. Perhaps Jules Winnfield said shouted it best: "We just witnessed a miracle, and I want you to f@#$ing acknowledge it!!!"

The mentality behind this culture can be summed up in three tidy adjectives:

Fearless

Dragic and Bledsoe both took their games to another level, setting the tone with fearless forays to the rim. Dragic in particular was the Suns' version of Jake LaMotta, bloodied and staggering but still boasting: "You couldn't knock me down, Ray." The entire team reveled at the chance to play teams above their talent level, which also was accompanied by some unfortunate letdowns against inferior competition.

Stupid

Green and Tucker firmly entrenched themselves in the All-IDGAF Team -- Green with his ridiculous arcade-game offensive style and Tucker with the aggressiveness of a doberman with a rash on it's ass. The Stupid Suns were born, dubbed thee by Tucker himself. They didn't think, they just played. It's why during a late-season game against the Thunder, when Derek Fisher found himself in control of a loose ball in the heat of crunch time, he was straight mugged by Tucker, who ripped the ball from the feeble guard like it was the last basketball in a planet on the brink of extinction. In a post-apocalyptic landscape, P.J. Tucker would be a number one draft pick.

Unified

The Suns had the camaraderie of a mid-major college team last season. The players on the sidelines were always on their feet, they kept things light by pulling shenanigans such as ignoring and then mobbing Dragic when he headed to the bench after hanging 40 points on the Pellies, and they showed a genuine enthusiasm for the game whether they were playing or not. They also featured the Morris twins, a couple of strange dudes with matching tattoos that for all intents and purposes need to be treated as a single organism.

No Guts, No Glory

The Suns stayed competitive in nearly every game by virtue of a highly efficient offense and a decent-enough defense, but it was their combination of fearless/stupid/unified that enabled them to close out enough games to notch 48 wins in the West. The Timberwolves, for example, ranked 9th in ORtg and 12th in DRtg, yet managed 8 fewer wins than the Suns due to their inability to close out games.

Teams stay competitive with talent, but they win with guts and other intangibles. So many games are decided by broken plays and 50/50 balls rather than talent. As the Suns progress and look to improve the talent of their team, they need to ensure that it does not come at the cost of compromising their culture.

I have no doubt that our front office is cognizant of the results that were fostered last season from the intangibles that the team possessed. We've seen multiple comments from McDonough that place emphasis on what the 2014 draft prospects have been doing since their college season ended. Vertical, length, size, of course these things are important and they always will be. But all those things can be tossed into a dumpster and lit on fire if they aren't accompanied by a passion for the game and a high sense of character.

As for trades and free agency, I can only hope that the same set of standards are applied. Whether or not that would include Kevin Love, I'll leave to you to discuss.

Closing The Book on 2013/14

The offseason has officially begun. The draft is one week away and free agency is soon to follow. The futures of Channing Frye, Eric Bledsoe, P.J. Tucker and everyone else will soon be determined. There are three first-round draft picks at hand, at a time when the team doesn't really need them. Things that we didn't even consider are almost guaranteed to happen.

Here's hoping that the spirit of 2013/14 stays alive and well as the journey continues. We'll be doing our best to track the moves of McNinja as he goes to work on improving on last year's unexpected success. It's going to be a long, hot, crazy summer.

In the meantime ... stay stupid, my friends.

The glorious festivity is back once again

Hello readers! If you were here last year (I wasn't!) you might remember the Community Mock Draft that was held. The NBA Draft is a lot of fun to watch, but the most fun thing about it is the speculation and playing out all the different scenarios. So why not do that ourselves?

Comment below to sign up for a team. This will be on a first-come first -served basis. Please scan the comments and this draft order below (I will update it as much as I can) before you signup and make it an original comment instead of a reply-fest.  This makes things a little easier for me. I will be the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The draft will take place Monday, June 23rd at 10PM EST/ 7 PM PST. The draft will have it's own live thread that will be posted that day.

Same rules as last year. Here they are again.

- We are only drafting in the first round for the sake of my own sanity

- On draft day, you will only have 5 minutes to make a selection (like the real thing!). If you fail to make the decision in time, I will make the pick for you. It will most likely be Johnny Football. Kidding. Sort of.

- To make your selection, you will be posting a comment in that live thread with your pick in the subject line. If you select a team but can't make it in time for the draft, you can email me ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) a big board of players around your selection. Please don't use that as an okay excuse to sign-up though. This is way more fun with everyone on the thread.

- TRADES ARE ALLOWED. For the sake of this format, the trades MUST have a first round pick in them. You just need to make sure that they are valid and once both teams have an agreement, email me ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) your trade and it will be updated to this thread and if they occur on draft day, the live thread. You can use either email or this thread itself for trade negotiations. I will make sure to comment with the trade as well, as updating the post doesn't necessarily notify everyone.

- This one is very important. Please make the trades reasonable. Keep your own team's interests in mind, not just the Suns.

This is not a rule, but try to use the rest of the week to do trades instead of draft day, as that might make my head explode. Emails will be alongside the username for the team.

That's about it. Once again, comment below with your email to get a team (first-come first-served).

Trades

Cleveland Cavaliers send Kyrie Irving to the Orlando Magic for #4 and #12

Minnesota Timberwolves send Kevin Love to the Los Angeles Clippers for Blake Griffin and #28

Golden State Warriors send Klay Thompson, Marreese Speights, and Harrison Barnes to the Charlotte Hornets for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gerald Henderson, and #9.

Los Angeles Clippers send DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick, and Jared Dudley to the Memphis Grizzlies for Marc Gasol, Tayshaun Prince, and #22.

Minnesota Timberwolves send Nikola Pekovic and Shabazz Muhammad to the Boston Celtics for Jeff Green, Kelly Olynyk, Joel Anthony, and #17.

Sacramento Kings send Ben McLemore to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeremy Lamb and #21

Minnesota Timberwolves send Kevin Martin and #28 to the Los Angeles Clippers for Jamal Crawford and #22

Orlando Magic send Aaron Afflalo, Jammer Nelson, and Kyle O' Quinn to the Chicago Bulls for Carlos Boozer and #16

Boston Celtics send Jared Sullinger to the Los Angeles Clippers for Reggie Bullock and #28

Boston Celtics send Vitor Faverani and #6 for Marcus Morris, #14, and #18.

Three way trade. Boston receives David West. Indiana receives Brook Lopez, Brandon Bass, and Keith Bogans. Brooklyn receives Roy Hibbert, Chris Copeland, and #18.

Portland Trailblazers trade LaMarcus Aldridge and Will Barton to the Phoenix Suns for Gerald Green, Alex Len, Markieff Morris, Ish Smith, Dionte Christmas, and #6.

Boston Celtics send Rajon Rondo and #28 to the Detroit Pistons for Brandon Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Draft Order

Here is the draft order. Teams in bold are still available as of the last update (check the comments!)

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- KC_Suns_Fan

2. Milwaukee Bucks- Alex Len (?), This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

3. Philadelphia 76ers- Way2Nashty, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

4. Cleveland Cavailers (via Orlando) - KC_Suns_Fan

5. Utah Jazz- omnicious, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

6. Portland Trailblazers (via PHX from BOS)- GorBledsoe, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

7. Los Angeles Lakers- DragonBlade

8. Sacramento Kings- PhxAZSuns, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

9. Golden State Warriors (via Charlotte)-  DCybertron, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

10. Philadelphia 76ers- Way2Nashty, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

11. Denver Nuggets- wedge1039, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

12. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Orlando)- KC_Suns_Fan

13. Minnesota Timberwolves- jack's complete lack of surprise

14. Boston Celtics (via PHX)- jdugan, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

15. Atlanta Hawks- hoiberg, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

16. Orlando Magic (via CHI)- Jack Davis, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via BOS)- jack's complete lack of surprise

18. Brooklyn Nets (via BOS from PHX)- horboy80, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

19. Chicago Bulls- Sreekar

20. Toronto Raptors- williamsnathan

21. Sacramento Kings (via OKC)- PhxAZSuns, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

22. Minnesota Timberwolves (from LAC via MEM)- jack's complete lack of surprise

23. Utah Jazz- omnicious, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

24. Charlotte Hornets- SLASH-1

25. Houston Rockets- Millay, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

26. Miami Heat- jack.kremer22, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

27. Phoenix Suns- brawadis, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

28.  Detroit Pistons (from BOS via LAC via MIN and LAC)- ill_daniel, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

29. Oklahoma City Thunder- Kellan Olson, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

30. San Antonio Spurs- Seanuz, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Teams with no first rounders

Brooklyn Nets

Dallas Mavericks- Suns Fan For Life

Detroit Pistons- ill_daniel, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Golden State Warriors- DCybertron, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Indiana Pacers- dshock88, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

New Orleans Pelicans- Geoff Allen

New York Knicks- Ozzy Sun, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Portland Trail Blazers- GorBledsoe, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Washington Wizards- holeman1, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  Makers of mock drafts are beginning to settle. Rumors could mean a lot or a little depending on whether they’re true and whether a team’s opinion on a given player even matters. If...

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