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Suns GM McDonough not surprised by Phoenix’s strong start

The Phoenix Suns’ success this season is a surprise to plenty of people.

But don’t put Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough in that group.

“I’m not surprised, but I’m happy with how quick the group has come together,” McDonough told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns & Gambo Wednesday.

“Getting guys to buy into their roles, balance their minutes. One of the best things for (head coach Jeff) Hornacek and I is how unselfish they are. Different guys finish games, it’s not always the same group out there at the end. Guys are rooting for each other. You don’t always see that.”

Phoenix has jumped out to a 12-9 record and would be in the playoffs as the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed if the season ended today — quite the opposite of the 60-loss projection the team given by many analysts after a busy offseason in which the Suns’ lined themselves up for as many as six first-round picks over the next two years.

But as Phoenix competes for a postseason spot, McDonough said he wouldn’t part with any of the offseason assets he acquired in hopes of just reaching the playoffs this year.

“We’d make a move if we thought it helped us short and long term,” McDonough said. “Say someone mid-20s and under who we think could be a Sun for multiple years, then yes. But we’re not looking to trade a pick for a 35-year old guy who might get us in the playoffs.”

McDonough added that he doesn’t think it’s a challenge to balance his long-term vision for the Suns with the possibility of winning right away, and said the Suns’ youth is a big part of that. Channing Frye is the only player in the Suns’ rotation older than 28, and much of the team’s core is in its early 20s.

“I think the good organizations are consistent and stick with the plan,” the first-year GM said. “But we owe it to the coaching staff to do whatever we can to help our guys make a playoff push, but within the framework of a young guy who can help us now and in the future.”