The Phoenix Suns had success — 48 wins — a few seasons ago with a two point guard lineup, success that came unexpectedly for Jeff Hornacek’s team.
Phoenix’s attempts to double down on that success have backfired.
This season the Suns are 15-44 and on their way to missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season. Suns’ owner Robert Saver — whose impatience as an owner has helped fuel the franchise’s problems — posted an open letter on the team’s Web site Monday accepting blame for the team’s struggles.
As someone who grew up a Suns fan, I have great appreciation and respect for the unwavering loyalty this community possesses for its first professional sports team. With that loyalty comes a fair expectation that the Suns compete at a high level on a regular basis, while representing our city with the utmost integrity. Candidly, we have not lived up to either of those expectations in the past two seasons….
That said, we will likely miss the NBA Playoffs for a sixth straight season this April. Many of you are disappointed in that lack of success, and for good reason. I can assure you that no one is more disappointed than I am, nor does anyone accept more of the blame. It’s important you know that we will not rest until we are competing at the highest level once again. In fact, we have swung for the fences once in each of the last two free agency periods, with my full support. While we have come up short, we have not compromised our goal of building long-term success with our young talent. Often that process takes more time, yet the rewards are that much sweeter and more enduring.
In the letter, he also throws his support behind GM Ryan McDonough in the rebuilding process.
The accountability Sarver talks about the organization needing must start with him. How this team handled Jeff Hornacek and his staff — firing the assistants but letting him twist in the wind for a few more weeks — came off as unprofessional to others around the league. Same with the handling of the trade of Marcus Morris — which angered Markieff Morris — in the pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge last summer (the Morris brothers felt they had taken a discount for the Suns to stay together). From the outside (and we don’t know what happens on the inside), there’s a sense that the human cost of decisions gets overlooked too often.
Rebuilding the Suns is going to take time, and it can’t be shortcut just to end a playoff drought. Not if they want to build something sustainable. The question is will Sarver go for that, or is a quick fix just to get back in the playoffs enough?