Disappointment, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder.
At the moment I'm writing this, the Suns are not a playoff team. The Mavericks beat the Thunder on Tuesday night, shoving the Suns back out of the 8th spot. By the time you read this, it might have all changed and they could be back in. Chances are excellent we won't know the Suns' fate until the final week of the regular season.
If nothing changes -- if the Suns end up on the outside looking in -- it would be a disappointment.
I want to choose my words carefully here; on the radio a couple of weeks back I used the word "failure," which I changed immediately but not before drawing the ire (and fire) of some.
"Failure" is a strong word so we plea bargained it down to "disappointment."
But for some, even "disappointment" is too harsh. It's understandable.
The Suns are in the midst of a remarkable turnaround. They have nearly doubled their win percentage of a year ago (.305 to .592). It could be argued they have the Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and as many as four different candidates for Most Improved Player in Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe and Miles Plumlee. They have an abundance of draft picks and cap space.
They're a joy to watch on a nightly basis, and in the NBA, that is no small feat.
A typical NBA rebuilding process can feel like a five-year prison sentence; the Suns have flipped this house in less than a year. How could anyone possibly be disappointed if they don't make the playoffs?
It's the kind of disappointment that comes when you've been waiting in line to ride the ride only to be told right before you get on that you're too short. The kind that comes when the concert sells out just before you can buy a ticket.
The kind of disappointment when you expect something will happen and then, just like that, it doesn't.
All year long we've come to expect the Suns to make the playoffs. To come this far only to be turned away at the last moment would be a disappointment. You can bury it all you want, but in the end you'll quietly be bummed they didn't make it.
In the big picture, it probably doesn't make too big of a difference being the first guy out or the last guy in. The former gets you a few ping pong balls and the latter gets you a date with the Spurs.
The Suns are back and I suppose that's all that counts.
But we've waited in line for months. To be told now, after all this time, that the show is sold out would be a disappointment.