It’s been a whirlwind offseason for the Phoenix Suns that began with a front office shift, included a coaching change and the beginnings of a roster overhaul.
For the first time in a long time, there is optimism about the direction of the franchise, thanks to what new general manager Ryan McDonough and new head coach Jeff Hornacek have done since being elevated to their positions.
And the optimism isn’t limited to the confines of the Phoenix metro area; national pundits are taking notice, too.
ESPN’s Chad Ford, in an Insider piece, rated the Suns’ offseason positively, giving the organization a ‘B’ grade, mostly for their acquisition of guard Eric Bledsoe from the Los Angeles Clippers and the drafting of center Alex Len and guard Archie Goodwin.
Landing Bledsoe for the price of Dudley and a second-round pick may have been the steal of the summer. Reasonable minds can disagree about Bledsoe’s future, but he’s a 23-year-old young point guard who excelled while playing significant minutes on a playoff team. For a rebuilding one like the Suns, that’s pure gold.
They also landed what they believe to be their center of the future in Len, who is huge, athletic and quite skilled for a player his age but is coming off surgery for a stress fracture in his ankle. I like Len, but the Suns should’ve taken Nerlens Noel ahead of him. Noel, to me, has more upside, and I worry a bit about Len’s toughness.
Goodwin, the second youngest player in the draft, struggled in his freshman season at Kentucky. But he’s blessed with great speed and athleticism, and if he ever develops a jump shot, he could be a lethal scorer. He looked quite impressive at summer league, and if the Suns are patient, they could have their backcourt of the future in Bledsoe and Goodwin.
While Ford is brimming with positives, he does end his write-up by admitting the Suns will struggle again in 2013-14 — maybe enough to be the worst team in the Western Conference for the second straight season.
But that would be fine with most around the organization, especially considering the 2014 NBA Draft is loaded with potential superstar players.