Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said the goal all along has been to be a competitive team.
At 13-27 and 8.5 games out of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot, the Suns have been anything but, at least as far as their record is concerned.
So from here the team’s goals — at least for this season — may have changed a bit. Early this week head coach Alvin Gentry said the team is on the verge of a “youth movement”, meaning the team’s sights may already be set on the future.
Which, if things continue on their current course, will feature many draft picks — including at least one high lottery selection.
“I’m steadfast,” Babby told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf about his desire to hold onto the team’s picks. “That’s not to say we wouldn’t move them in extraordinary circumstances, but it would have to be very extraordinary circumstances because that’s going to be the lifeblood of how we get better.”
Babby’s approach differs from the one the team took in the mid 2000s, as they went through a four-year stretch of not keeping any of their first round selections. Those decisions came at a time when the team was among the NBA’s best, but likely helped lead to it becoming one of its worst.
So Babby’s approach, while necessary, is also somewhat refreshing. Sure, he wants the team to win now, but understands it’s not worth sacrificing the future for.
“Our eyes were always on the future and the future was going to be by accumulating these draft choices, which we did last summer, and we’ll try to continue to do,” he said. “And now that we have them and now that, really, as disappointing as this season has been so far, the sliver lining is that our draft choice may become that much more valuable.”
As of now the Suns have the fourth-worst record in the league. Though the NBA’s lottery system would not guarantee a top-five choice for the team, chances are good they’ll be picking higher than they have since they made the seventh choice in the 1988 draft.
And as Babby tells it, the Suns fully intend on making that choice for themselves.