Phoenix Suns’ GM ‘comfortable’ with team after first 11 games
After being the surprise success story of last year’s NBA season, the Phoenix Suns find themselves faced with raised expectations in 2014-15.
But while some are disappointed by the team’s middling start to the year, general manager Ryan McDonough is not concerned.
“You know, our guys are doing fine,” McDonough told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM before Wednesday’s game with the Detroit Pistons. “We’re 6-5. We feel like we’ve had a few other games that we let slip away that we should’ve won. But at the same times, there is room for growth and improvement.”
Much was made during the offseason about the addition of point guard Isaiah Thomas to an already crowded backcourt. The so-called “Point Guardians of the Galaxy” have yet to mesh as well as hoped. The Suns have only had four games where all three point guards — Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Thomas — scored at least 10 points.
McDonough called this a learning process where each player must makes sacrifices.
“I think a lot of our guys are used to having the ball in their hands and controlling it 30-35 minutes a night or more, and them being the ones that can make all the plays,” he said. “Kind of the way I think, or we think, the modern NBA’s going, it’s really hard to win that way.
“I don’t care who you have who’s doing that. The defenses are too good, the teams are getting too big and long and athletic, and they load up on the ball on the strong side of the floor. I think in order to beat really good defenses, you have to reverse the ball and attack from both sides and have multiple options that can beat a team.”
The reigning NBA Most Improved Player, Dragic, has looked back in form after a rocky start to the season, when he did not hit a three-pointer in the first five games. Dragic is averaging 15.6 points per game on the season.
With his free agency looming, some are worried about Dragic being unhappy with his somewhat diminished role on the team. This is a thought McDonough said he is not plagued with.
“Goran Dragic is a good basketball player. He’s a good guard. I think it’s a compliment to him that he can play point guard or shooting guard. But we want to spread the ball around and have our three guys handle it about an equal amount. I think that’ll save them over the course of the season and preserve them for the stretch run, and hopefully the playoffs…
“Last year, especially when Eric (Bledsoe) was out injured, it was Goran’s ball and his team. We had some decent success then, we had pretty good success, but we were much better when Eric was in the lineup and we had two guys who could do that. The thought process in the offseason was to bring in a third guy, so we could have two of those guys on the floor most of the time.”
McDonough said he saw good signs in the Suns’ win over the Boston Celtics Monday, and “it showed us a lot about the character and resolve of our team.”