Five days ago it was labeled as an absurd notion that the Phoenix Suns, a team that brought in two point guards last summer, would even entertain drafting another one. That logic turned out to be accurate, but the concept of acquiring another point guard was not.
Eric Bledsoe is a talented young point guard regarded as the best asset in the league over the past few seasons since the Los Angeles Clippers spurned their more famous tenants for All-NBA point guard Chris Paul. Once that deal went through the rumors were rampant with Bledsoe going to the Magic, Lakers, Celtics, and any other team with a proven NBA star to team with Paul in Dunk City.
New Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough came in with the prowess of knowing talent, but he also adopted the maverick style of his mentor Danny Ainge as he begins his tenure making radical, but calculated moves to the roster there is a different feel in the Valley.
Over the past 57 days McDonough has added more true assets and more importantly, talent, to the team than the previous front-office could not do collectively over the course of the last three seasons.
These moves show both a clear vision that the team is trying to lay out and that they will go for the "dare to be great move" if it presents itself. The Suns did not have a Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, or player on that level to offer for Bledsoe like the previous reported offerings have had. What they had was timing, one solid asset, and a trigger man willing to squeeze before the others could blink.
Dudley, for as good as he has been here in Phoenix, is not on the level of a Garnett or a Howard in terms of impact on the game. He is a terrific role player that defends, makes threes, and is low maintenance.
Losing Dudley is losing the character and heart of the team. There will be no more Dudley Dunk-o-Meter, no more JMZ in the home team locker-room, and an open void for a leader both on and off the court next season. He was never the best player on a roster, but always one of the more important to team chemistry.
The Suns will look to replace that void, but that, as well as the production on the court will be tasked in-house by all accounts. The teams internal leadership has to improve as the vision and purpose of the front-office is in full swing and moving at a pace that no one could have predicted.
With the way the team is currently constructed they will be bad again. There is no mincing words or tampering with reality here. What the team is attempting to do is establish a culture that despite wins and loses, facilitates a positive future and plan going forward.
A vision is clearly in place for this team to be aggressive, active, and to get more athletic.
The vision is not complete as there are blind spots in the plan still with holes on the roster on the wing and in the scoring department. This move, and the selections in the draft, are evidence that the new front-office is serious about turning this around.
Better yet they account for three more young, talented basketball players with upside and potential. The current regime looks at talent for what it is; talent. In the end any player can be traded at any time to improve the roster, but the time to look at players as assets is over and the next move can happen as soon as the smoke clears from Ryan "Maverick" McDonough's proverbial trade gun before reloading for the next round.
Since I love to use my own peculiar train of thought to choose my podcast cover art, I chose to go with Archie Goodwin over the sexier additions of Alex Len and Eric Bledsoe. The obvious reason is that Goodwin was the 29th pick in the draft. Coincidence? 100%.
We are joined by Amin Elhassan, who took the time to record at 10:00 PM local time. Buckets of gratitude to Amin for making himself available on such short notice.
Amin is a NBA analyst for ESPN insider. Check out his abundant talent at http://search.espn.go.
Since Kris was trying to plug me during the recording... you can also follow me on twitter @jim_coughenour. I promise not to tweet about my breakfast or new pair of kicks.
I was going to give a quick scouting report on Eric Bledsoe to complement the podcast, but I figured nobody wanted to read my drivel and I wasn't given the blessing to copy and paste someone else's astute analysis. Don't worry. There will be an in depth report up sooner rather than later.
Instead here are a couple of my quick takeaways on the trade.
I have been on the record multiple times avowing that I would support any trade of our veterans that returned young talented prospects and/or draft picks. This satisfies that criteria, so I support it.
Bledsoe fits the mold of offensively limited/defense-oriented/athletic guards that McMiracle seems to be enamored with.
Marcin Gortat (who recently received the dreaded vote of confidence) and Luis Scola should be moved as well. The Suns were able to use cap room to facilitate the Dudley/Bledsoe deal, so it would be nice to see them shed some salary with future moves. Room under the cap is desirable and beneficial, as evinced by the deal yesterday.
The team appears to be well on its way to being more exciting this fall. Watching young developing prospects get their teeth kicked in is much more entertaining than watching it happen to older veterans, which is sort of pathetic. I'm also expecting a slightly more frantic pace.
I have no problem with stockpiling assets at one position. Just get talent. It can always be flipped for other positions of need down the road.
The trade has negligible downside. Worst case is that the Suns decide not to keep Caron Butler (very likely) and Bledsoe, which would allow them to cut their losses and give them an extra $10.5 million in cap space next summer. The outcome will probably be better than this.
The Suns already have at least two new young players with more potential than any developing player on the roster last year.
McDonough is putting his his stamp on this team, but has done so without taking on any risky/bad contracts like Michael Beasley.
Welcome to new Suns Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler.
Best wishes to departing Jared Dudley. Thanks for everything you've given to the team and its fans Dudz!