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McDonough hopes the Suns’ timeline is ‘sooner rather than later’

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Hesitation among Suns fans arose when the team was set to meet with Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap.

Not because of their talent level, as both have been named NBA All-Stars, but because of the development of the Suns’ young players.

Sure, an exciting and proven player in a Suns uniform would be fun to see, but inserting one of those All-Stars into the lineup who likely wouldn’t elevate the team atop the Western Conference hardly seems worth it.

The Suns agreed by pulling themselves out of contention to land Millsap, when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Suns are “going all-in young.”

“The timeline” was born, a phrase labeling the Suns because of their rebuilding process by developing young players with potential, much like the Philadelphia 76ers wear the phrase, “trust the process.”

When Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough was asked about the timeline on SiriusXM NBA Radio, he said it’s not so much up to the staff.

“I think our timeline depends on our young core. It’s really up to them,” McDonough said. “The last couple years have been rough in terms of wins and losses — winning in the mid-20s games. Now at the same time, Devin Booker has really improved and done historic things in his first two years in the NBA. Anytime you’re in a group of five in terms of points scored before your 21st birthday with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, you’re on a good path obviously.

“I think what makes us a little bit unique is — obviously, Devin gets most of the attention and deservedly so, but we have six or seven pretty talented young players and so really the timeline depends on them. We hope it’s sooner rather than later.”

McDonough also mentioned Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis as players who improved as the year wore on and guys they are excited about.

The Suns GM knows sooner rather than later doesn’t necessarily mean winning a championship right away, citing the NBA Western Conference as “a bloodbath” now with even more of the elite talent in the league switching teams.

Even with a team that finished dead last in the West at 24-58 and 17 games back of the playoffs, McDonough may think the postseason is in reach soon. If not, he believes with the right moves, the future will be bright.

“We’re trying to take a patient and conservative approach and our thought process is that if we build this the right way, if we develop these players on the same timeline, that if and when we are good over the next couple years, we have a chance to be good 10 years after that because the core of our team for the most part is between 19 and 23 years old,” McDonough said.

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