The Phoenix Suns are not going to make the playoffs. In fact, they’re not even close.
However, that does not mean the last eight games of the season are little more than a waste of time or a chance to strengthen draft position.
“You definitely can kind of look at guys and see where they’re at, see are they still engaged,” Suns analyst Tim Kempton told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Monday. “Are the guys coming to work every day and putting in the time and the effort even though it’s a bad situation.”
As their roster stands now, the Suns have six players age 25 or younger, so there is still plenty that needs to be learned about some of them.
“You get a first-hand look at 12, 13 guys,” Kempton said. “You could even look at guys at different positions, if you want to, and different lineups and see who plays well with other guys.
“It’s a time to audition and try things.”
So that could mean more time for players like Kendall Marshall, Wesley Johnson, Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, even at the expense of being competitive.
Like, for instance, when the team sat point guard Goran Dragic for two games last week, both of which were losses. Some viewed the decision as the Suns’ way of trying to “tank” and improve draft position. That may have been the goal, but no matter what the reasoning, Kempton does not believe decisions like that — and others that have them seeing less playing time — are not moves veteran players should be upset with.
“Hopefully it was conveyed to them, hopefully it was more than just one conversation,” he said of not playing. “If you’re a veteran, you can handle a lot of stuff.
“You’ve been around, you’ve seen a lot of guys get minutes when they shouldn’t have; you’ve seen young players come along, you’ve seen veterans get thrown out of the mix.”