Three years ago, the Phoenix Suns were in the Western Conference Finals.
Led by Alvin Gentry, a team featuring Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Jason Richardson and Grant Hill won 54 regular season games and two playoff series before bowing out to the eventual champion L.A. Lakers in six games.
Shortly thereafter the Suns saw general manager Steve Kerr depart, ultimately being replaced by Lon Babby and Lance Blanks.
Now the team is 13-28 and in the Western Conference’s basement, with just three players left from the WCF team and a new coach.
So even though it seems like the Suns are trending in the wrong direction, Suns owner Robert Sarver says his confidence in the front office he’s assembled has not been shaken, even with the questionable hire of Lindsey Hunter to replace Gentry.
“Time will tell whether some of those decisions are the right decisions or not,” Sarver told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Wednesday. “This is a business where not all decisions are right. Some are right, some are wrong.”
Sarver said the decision to go with Hunter was Blanks’, because he said he himself “is not in the position a position of telling general managers who to hire as a coach.”
He did say he has the ability to veto the GM’s decision, but after doing some research he was on board with the hire.
But as of now, the Suns are not getting the benefit of the doubt. Media and fans alike seem to think the team is heading in the wrong direction, and have little faith that things will turn around in the near future.
But that’s the goal, and Sarver explained part of that involves a culture change, which can be difficult at times.
“If Lance and Lon wanted to do the easy thing and the popular thing, they wouldn’t have done that,” he said of promoting Hunter. “I want people working for me who are committed to doing what they think is in the best interest of moving this franchise forward. That’s what they did.”
Sarver notes the questionable nature, though.
“Whether they made the right decision or not, time will tell,” he said. “In this business everybody has a track record, and time tells and you can go back and check on it.
“But they made what they thought was the best decision in terms of who can help motivate these guys, who can believe in these guys, who these guys will believe in, who they’ll play hard for and who will establish the type of culture and systems in place that will give us the best opportunity for success the last 41 games.”
That’s when Sarver — and the Suns — would prefer one judges the decision to replace Gentry with Hunter.
“Listen, not all popular choices are right and not all right choices are popular.”