Suns GM Ryan McDonough looking for ‘silver linings’ in recent struggles

Jan 27, 2016, 4:31 PM | Updated: 5:36 pm
Phoenix Suns guard Archie Goodwin (20) reacts after making the game-winning shot against the Atlant...
Phoenix Suns guard Archie Goodwin (20) reacts after making the game-winning shot against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Hawks 98-95. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns' General Manager

The Philadelphia 76ers have seven wins this season. Two of them have come at the expense of the Phoenix Suns.

Philly beat Phoenix 113-103 Tuesday night, sweeping the season series from the Suns.

Following the contest, an exasperated Jeff Hornacek made his frustration audible when speaking with the media.

“Their threes hurt us,” the Suns head coach said. “That was part of our scouting report about certain things we were supposed to do against these guys, and (the players) didn’t do it. That’s what gets frustrating at times, coaches put together a plan and you’ve got to follow it, or else you’re just wasting our time.”

General manager Ryan McDonough addressed Hornacek’s postgame comments Wednesday afternoon with Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

“I think it’s concerning organizationally, we have a staff that works extremely hard — from coaches to advance scouts, video coordinators to trainers and people in the weight room — it is frustrating,” McDonough said. “I think if you watch the film of the Atlanta game, we were engaged, we were focused, we executed the game plan. Obviously, we were out-manned with all the injuries and we kind of gritted out a win.

“For whatever reason, that hasn’t translated when we’re on the road.”

The Suns have lost 11 straight on the road, and although they haven’t won many games at home either, they’ve been more competitive on the hardwood at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Dating back to mid-December, the Suns’ last five victories have come in Phoenix.

“On the road, it just seems like whatever we do in practice or in the shoot-around doesn’t carry over and that’s extremely frustrating, not only for the coaching staff, but for all of us,” McDonough said. “I know how hard those guys work and how much time they put in.”

Even though the Suns are mired in a tie for 13th in the Western Conference, there are still things to look at positively, according to McDonough.

“I think you always have to look for silver linings when things aren’t well and the record is obviously not what we hoped it would be,” he said. “It’s hard to win in the NBA with a lot of young players, and we’re starting three college-age players — at least we did (Tuesday) night, with Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Alex Len.”

McDonough said he’s looking for signs from these young players that they can be a key part of the team when things turn around for the franchise.

Goodwin has made an impression lately. After struggling to get any kind of consistent minutes since joining the Suns as a first-round pick in 2013, the third-year player has flourished. The former Kentucky guard has started the last three games and has averaged 23.3 points and four assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor.

“Archie’s had a good week,” McDonough said. “He’s at least 20 points in each of the last three games and he hit the big shot to win the game against Atlanta the other night, and he’s getting to the free throw line consistently. That’s one thing we thought he’d be able to do with more consistent minutes.

“And he’s playing a bit out of position. He’s more of a natural shooting guard and we’re playing him more at the point guard slot with the injuries to all three of our guys — Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price.”

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