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Phoenix Suns’ Babby: ‘There’s a difference between building and not trying’

LISTEN: Lon Babby, Suns President of Basketball Operations

The Phoenix Suns are not “tanking.”

According to Lon Babby, the team’s president of basketball operations, no one within the organization is hoping the team loses game after game this season in hopes of landing a better draft pick.

“I don’t know how you come to work every day and lead a group of people, whether it’s me, whether it’s Ryan (McDonough), whether it’s Robert (Sarver), whether it’s Jeff (Hornacek),” Babby told Bickley with Marotta Thursday. “You can’t come to work every day and lead people with the hope of failure, you can’t do that.

“That’s not human nature and it shouldn’t be.”

Babby, though, noted the organization certainly has an eye on the big picture, which is to build a championship-caliber team. Some may believe the path there involves a considerable amount of losses, but that’s not something Babby and the team are hoping for.

“We want to win every night, and you can’t build a successful culture if you don’t have that aspiration,” he said. “So I think you can do both.”

In fact, Babby sees something inherently wrong with the idea that you have to try to be bad in order to get good.

“There is an aspect of the league that’s troublesome, which is people view it that you’re being rewarded for failure,” he said. “Well, that’s not what we’re trying to do — we’re trying to build.

“There’s a difference between building and not trying, and that’s a major philosophical difference and cultural difference.”

Babby added that anyone who watched the Suns’ 104-91 win over the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night would know that while you may find some folks who want the team to lose, none of them will be playing, coaching or managing.

“The players, the coaches, the people in this business do it for one thing, and that’s because they love the competition,” Babby said. “So to artificially tell people not to compete is just an anathema, it’s totally inconsistent with why we’re all in the business.”