PHOENIX SUNS

Sports Illustrated gives Suns an F- midseason grade

Jan 18, 2019, 12:45 PM
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is congratulated by forward T.J. Warren (12) and forward Kelly ...
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is congratulated by forward T.J. Warren (12) and forward Kelly Oubre Jr., right, after making a shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The NBA season has reached its midpoint, and it is safe to say that the first half did not go quite the way that the Suns hoped it would.

The team came into the 2018-19 season looking to show some notable improvement after finishing with a 21-61 record last year, but after Thursday night’s loss to the Raptors, it currently sits at 11-35, six games worse than its record at this point a season ago.

This poor performance caught the eye of Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni, who gave the Suns an F- in his midseason grades column.

What the hell is going on here? At what point do we ask the Suns to not be so awful at basketball? Phoenix has a young team, sure, but the Suns need to see that Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton can actually start producing some wins. It’s not an apples to apples to comparison, but look at what Luka Doncic has done in Dallas.

He would go on to criticize the Suns for their handling of Trevor Ariza and their failure to acquire a true starting point guard, among many other things.

The Suns also tried to be respectable by bringing in a vet like Trevor Ariza, but he’s already been shipped away and the organization looks no closer to even being average. Ayton certainly isn’t a bust, but he’s been outshined by players taken after him. Booker has yet to prove he can be anything more than a volume scorer on a dead-end team. And is Phoenix really going to play this entire season without an NBA-caliber point guard?

The Suns certainly have concerns going forward, but the 6-11 mark that they have posted since the Ariza trade, while still not great, is significantly better than their horrible 5-24 record before the trade.

Nadkarni acknowledges that the team’s youth may be a reason for its lack of success, but finishes up by saying that both the Suns’ players and executives need to start taking significant steps forward in the near future before Devin Booker’s huge contract extension comes into play next year.

The young guys have flaws, but it doesn’t help that the infrastructure around them is completely nonsensical. Booker is going to start making superstar money by next season. Ideally this team would be making strides to be, you know, not a complete embarrassment by then. Instead the Suns look just as directionless as the day they drafted Booker.

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Sports Illustrated gives Suns an F- midseason grade