Empire of the Suns: Season-ending round table

Apr 19, 2016, 7:09 AM | Updated: 9:14 am
In this Wednesday, April 13, 2016, photo, Phoenix Suns interim coach Earl Watson, right, watches th...
In this Wednesday, April 13, 2016, photo, Phoenix Suns interim coach Earl Watson, right, watches the action from the sidelines during the NBA team's basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Clippers 114-105. At the top of the priority list this offseason will be finding a coach. Don’t be surprised if Watson gets the job. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

We put the finishing touches on the Suns’ 2015-16 campaign with a season-ending round table. The participants are Doug Franz, Craig Grialou, Adam Green, Kevin Zimmerman, Kellan Olson and Bryan Gibberman.

Devin Booker, Seth CurryQuestion 1: How would you describe the Suns’ season in one sentence? 

Doug Franz: Whenever you fire your head coach, the season is a failure but Devin Booker does provide a brighter future than expected.

Craig Grialou: Because of the front office’s failure to handle the Markieff Morris situation, the Suns endured one of their worst seasons in franchise history that had one bright spot: the emergence of rookie Devin Booker.

Adam Green: Due to many factors the Suns were unable to reach even moderate expectations.

Kevin Zimmerman: A combination of worst-case scenarios, bad luck, incompetence across the franchise with a few small glimmers of hope.

Kellan Olson: Increased expectations, a big signing having unforeseeable regression and injuries doomed the Suns.

Bryan Gibberman: An ill-fitting roster with solid individual talent whose skills don’t bring out the best in each other.

P.J. Tucker , Earl WatsonQuestion 2: Do you want Earl Watson back as the Suns head coach? If the answer is no — who is your top target?

Franz: I’m completely fine with Earl Watson as head coach but I would talk to Tom Thibodeau first.

Grialou: While the Suns will hold a broad coaching search, at the end of the day, Watson will be the guy because of cost, philosophy and buy-in from the locker room; the latter of which may be the most important.

Green: No. I think the Suns need to go outside of the organization for a coach with a different perspective as well as some experience. Tom Thibodeau would be my top choice if he is willing to come to Phoenix.

Zimmerman: I appreciate Watson for his strong motivational abilities and preparedness but wouldn’t feel comfortable with him as head coach. I don’t expect Phoenix to pull a big name so I’m getting creative: How about doing what most NBA teams won’t and hiring a former big man who has a good deal of NBA assistant coaching experience: Patrick Ewing or Jarron Collins, anyone?

Olson: No. His rotations have been poor and even if his time running the team wasn’t terrible, there are a lot of better candidates available. Tom Thibodeau should be everyone’s top target. If we are assuming he takes a better job, Scott Brooks is a great choice for a younger, talented team trying to make the jump from the lottery to playoff success.

Gibberman: I’d shoot higher than Watson and I’m in agreement with Olson that Scott Brooks is a name that makes a ton of sense if they can pull it off.

Brandon Knight, Ricky RubioQuestion 3: What is your top priority this offseason? 

Franz: First, nail the draft. Second, rehabilitate the brand.

Grialou: Brandon Knight. Will Knight accept coming off the bench and being the Suns version of Jamal Crawford and Manu Ginobili; because if he does not, then he needs to be moved, as difficult as that may be.

Green: Clearing up the glut of guards (likely by trading Knight or Bledsoe) while starting to clearly define some roles.

Zimmerman: Cleaning house in the backcourt. Phoenix must decide if its guard rotation can work and aggressively use anyone it sees fit, from Brandon Knight to Bogdan Bogdanovic, to acquire talent that can help win now.

Olson: Hiring the right coach. Four teams in the west won less than 45 games and are making the playoffs. The Suns have enough talent to get to that mark next year and don’t need to blow up their roster again to do so. Winning the draft lottery wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Gibberman: Trading Brandon Knight if he isn’t agreeable to coming off the bench. This will eventually be his NBA role, but I understand if at his age he’s not ready to accept it yet.

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