The scoreboards at sports arenas urge fanfare.
MAKE SOME NOISE!
LET ME HEAR YOU!!
ON YOUR FEET!!!
Never do you see the scoreboard read…
LOSING IS PART OF THE PLAN!!!
TRUST US, THIS CRAP YOU’RE WATCHING IS GOING TO PAY OFF!!
But the latter grouping of cheers are the messages Suns fans must keep in mind for one more season.
The 2013-14 Phoenix Suns aren’t going to make the playoffs. In fact, Vegas oddsmakers are suggesting an inferior season to last year’s Western Conference-worst 25-57 record.
But it’s OK.
I know such a notion flies in the face of the competitive spirit, but the NBA is like a blood transfusion. Typically, you have to move closer to death before you start feeling healthy again.
The Heat were built on cap space. The Thunder were built through the lottery. And the Spurs were built on superior talent evaluation.
With only $16 million committed to next year’s roster and with new GM Ryan McDonough seemingly making all the right moves, the Phoenix Suns need only the lottery pick(s) to lock all three factors in place by season’s end. And if there’s a perfect time to hit rock bottom, this could be the year.
The 2014 NBA Draft is being forecast as the best draft class since the famous LeBron draft of 2003.
You want a glimpse of the Suns’ future? Watch plenty of Kansas or Kentucky basketball this season. Eight of the top 17 NBA Draft prospects will suit up for the Jayhawks and Wildcats, including arguably the top two prospects in Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Kentucky’s Julius Randle.
Phoenix has never had the top overall pick in the draft. It would be nice to win your first ping pong ball war the year Andrew Wiggins is available and ready to have a franchise built around him. And the worse the Suns are this season, the better chance they have of claiming that once-in-a-decade talent.
You like depth in a draft? The 2014 class has that as well. And the Suns are very interested in depth. The team lands a first round pick from Minnesota should the Wolves slip into the playoffs, and the inevitability of a Marcin Gortat in-season trade could land Phoenix a late first-rounder.
And since Gortat won’t be a Sun next season, the organization might have some interest in another big man. Well, the 2014 draft class has size as well. The first round of the 2014 draft could feature four 7-footers, and nearly half of the round will see a four or five walk on the stage to hug Adam Silver.
For the casual Suns fan who sees only wins or losses, the upcoming season will be a depressing one.
For the diehard Suns fan? There are plenty of things to watch this winter. Alex Len’s rookie season. Eric Bledsoe’s opportunity to start and potentially star and ummm…new uniforms, I guess.
But for the truly knowledgeable Suns fan, the next twelve months will be the most important for the franchise since Steve Nash returned to town. It could be a lot of fun, but that just depends upon how you look at it.