Doubling down on Ryan McDonough
During my last trip to Las Vegas, I wasn’t hard to locate. 2:00 am, Blackjack table, the Paris Casino. The cards fly from the chute; I have an 11, the dealer has a six and I double down. A calculated risk? Yes. Do I feel good about doubling my money? Yes. But do I trust that the dealer is going to bust or that I have a face card coming? Hell no.
My son turned 16 a year and a half ago. On the night of his birthday, The “Decision maker” and I handed him the keys and told him to have fun. Is he a good kid? Of course. Have we taught him well on the responsibilities of driving? Of course. Do I trust that he won’t make a poor driving choice that night? Or the next? Nope.
Maybe I have pistanthrophobia (fear of trusting someone). Maybe I’m burned from that “in Whiz we trust” phase we all went through. Whatever the cause, I am going to actively avoid using the word “trust” when talking about Ryan McDonough and how he is going to fix the Phoenix Suns.
It’s been an unusual season for the Suns. I’m not certain there’s another word for it. This time a year ago we were positively giddy about the future. But as we’ve learned from the movies — with the obvious exceptions of The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II — the sequel is never as good as the original. This team is oddly unlikable and their fluctuating effort levels drives us all to drink. Last season’s magic became burdensome to replicate and has left us all with more questions than answers at this point.
Is Eric Bledsoe the right point guard for the future? Have you seen enough from Brandon Knight to warrant giving him big money? Markieff Morris is a good player, but will he ever be a great one? Have they realized they need a veteran in the locker room to help Jeff Hornacek maintain order? Why are they not the premier free agent destination they believe themselves to be (which to me is the biggie)?
There are people smarter than I who are in charge of answering those questions, namely McDonough.
The Suns GM has already admitted fault for the Isaiah Thomas deal. The metrics might have told him it was a good move, but he badly underestimated the role of the human ego. He’s had a year to evaluate, learn from his mistakes and survey the landscape.
Honestly, I can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve.
Let’s not forget the flurry of great moves he made in his first offseason with the team. The Bledsoe heist. Draft picks galore for veteran players who outlived their usefulness to the Suns. This time a year ago McDonough was neck-and-neck with Steve Keim for the title of Best GM in Valley sports. The fact that he got Knight in the Goran Dragic divorce is a credit to his improvisational skills.
So I won’t say I trust McDonough. It’s too strong a word. But I’ll double down on one of the smartest guys in the room. Every time.