The Phoenix Suns, both their front office and their coaching staff, have been adamant about the team continuing to play with energy and effort even though they’ll finish out of playoff contention for the third consecutive year.
That stance, coupled with the organization’s decision not to play leading scorer Goran Dragic in two games last week, raised some eyebrows.
The Suns lost consecutive games against Utah and Sacramento without Dragic in uniform. The 26-year-old Slovenian point guard wasn’t happy about the decision, according to his head coach.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less from him,” Lindsey Hunter told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Wednesday. “And that’s what makes him great — that competitive fire and that competitive fight.”
Dragic is leading the Suns in scoring at 14.5 points per game and ranks tenth in the league in assists at 7.2 per contest.
Hunter also explained that the reason for giving Dragic the rest despite him not being injured was a product of the guard’s workload this season.
“That’s a big factor, and that’s the most important thing for us is his health and keeping him healthy throughout this process,” Hunter said.
Dragic will also be representing Slovenia in the FIBA EuroBasket Tournament this summer, which has also been considered by Suns’ brass.
“We don’t want him limping into the summer and going through that process already feeling kind of run-down, I don’t think that would be good for him at all, either,” Hunter said. “If we were fighting for a playoff position or contending for a championship, totally different.
“But this isn’t that, and we have to look at Goran’s welfare and his future more so than anything else.”