Arizona teams are receiving plenty of respect in ESPN’s tenth annual Ultimate Team Rankings.
The ranking system ESPN used is based on a combination of bang for the buck (revenue based), fan relations, ownership, affordability, stadium experience, players, coaching and title track.
Despite not having an owner, the Coyotes rank sixth on the list and the best among NHL franchises.
Pretty much everything went right for Phoenix this year despite the one thing that controls their fate — new ownership — being more uncertain than ever. Coach Dave Tippett took a ragtag group of role players (the collective age of his two biggest names on offense was 74) and won the team’s first playoff series in 26 years.
The Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves tenth overall and second to only the Rangers in the MLB standings.
A key reason the Coyotes and Diamondbacks rank as two of the best franchises around is because of their bang for the buck and affordability.
Both franchises rank in the top ten of these categories.
The Cardinals find themselves a very mediocre 43rd on the list due to having no major strength or glaring weaknesses.
The ‘Yotes, D-Backs and Cards all improved at least 20 spots from 2011’s ranking.
The average ranking of Arizona teams is 35.75 in this year’s list, but it would be much better if not for the Suns’ poor ranking of 86.
The Suns are the only team in the Valley to regress from last year, when they ranked 80th.
The poor ownership and title track rankings really hurt the Suns this year, ranking 102nd and 104th in those categories.
Most of the discontent centers around owner Robert Sarver. He has long been viewed as a cheapskate who puts dollars ahead of winning, and two playoffs missed since 2010’s surprise run to the Western Conference finals has done him no favors.