When the 2012-13 season began, the Phoenix Suns had a set of expectations.
“Coming into the season we were hoping that our young players could begin to develop,” general manager Lance Blanks told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Wednesday.
Blanks, who touched on a variety of topics, mentioned Kendall Marshall, Michael Beasley, Markieff Morris and Goran Dragic as such players who had room to grow.
“That was one, and then secondly, we felt like we had enough talent to at least be in the conversation as it relates to the playoffs.”
As far as those specific things are concerned, the Suns are 0-for-2.
At 13-28 they have the worst record in the Western Conference, and the players Blanks mentioned — aside from Dragic — have either struggled to make a consistent impact (Morris, Beasley) or struggled to make any kind of impact (Marshall).
“Certainly we’d like to get back in the playoff picture but didn’t feel like it was a slam dunk that we were in, and didn’t feel like it was a slam dunk that we were out,” Blanks said. “If you forced me to bet on it or to guess where we might end up, I thought at the worst case maybe similar to last year, maybe 10 or 11, and at the highest maybe six.
“And we were nowhere in the ballpark of that.”
Blanks said aside from that, though, the environment around the team had gone south.
“It really went in the ditch, if you will, in terms of the positivity and the atmosphere with the guys,” he said. “It wasn’t a conducive environment or a healthy environment for people to come to work and get better on a daily and/or nightly basis.”
So, the Suns made a coaching change.
Blanks has expressed confidence in the decision to make Lindsey Hunter the interim coach, though understands the team’s goals now are different than they were a few months ago.
“I think you have to do less measuring by the wins and losses just for the simple fact that we’re literally starting over right in the middle of the season,” he said. “We have to, of course, change the direction of things. We have 41 games left.
“Of making the playoffs, we’re not even looking at that. We’re just looking at it day-by-day, we want to see the environments change with the players — we want to see them getting better on a daily basis.”
Blanks also said he believes the team’s defense can be better, adding there has been some embarrassment with how the team has played on that end of the floor.
“So we feel like that’s an area that Lindsey can help us improve and move things to a higher level.”