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Was lack of quality point guard main reason behind Suns’ GM firing?


This summer the Suns made some odd moves, but they fit with what their GM Ryan McDonough said a few weeks back — the rebuilding was over, it was time to win some games.

Which from the outside seemed ludicrous because the team just drafted Deandre Ayton and was leaning on other young players such as Devin Booker (who just signed a max contract extension), Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, T.J. Warren, and others. Despite the West being ridiculously deep right now and it being a good time for the Suns to rebuild and add talent, McDonough picked up former Rockets Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson this summer as veterans to help the team win more in the short term. Many around the league saw this as a mandate from the involved, impatient, and often erratic Suns’ owner Robert Sarver.

What McDonough didn’t get this summer was a quality point guard, despite making efforts (including being the third team in a potential Jimmy Butler trade that could have brought Jeff Teague to Phoenix). Right now the Suns will use Booker (who is really a two guard) at the point and have Elie Okobo, De’Anthony Melton, and Isaiah Canaan getting minutes behind him.

That lack of quality at the one may have been what led to McDonough’s firing on Monday. Check out this note from Gina Mizell at The Athletic.

When asked how much the point guard situation played into McDonough’s firing, Sarver said in an interview with KMVP-FM (98.7) in Phoenix that he did not “really want to get into specifics.” But later, Sarver noted addressing that position is “definitely at the top of the list” of priorities for the organization.

This all kind of follows a twisted sort of Sarver logic. The Suns haven’t made the playoffs in McDonough’s tenure as GM, Sarver wants to win more and get in that dance starting now, he sees this team isn’t going to do that this season, and the lack of a quality point guard is the last straw.

That doesn’t make the timing any better.

There were reasons to let McDonough go. His first season (2012-13) the Suns won 48 games but still missed the playoffs by one game. Since then, the team has gone 155-255 and turnover has been the defining factor —  Igor Kokoškov is the new coach, the fourth in five years. McDonough’s draft record is not exactly spotless and includes Alex Len and Tyler Ulis (neither still with the team), then in 2016 he picked Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss (Chriss is already gone from Phoenix and Bender has not panned out like one hopes a No. 4 pick would). Of course, under Sarver the questions on coach turnover, player decisions and more may not fall just on McDonough or any GM — last year Charles Barkley described Sarver as a control freak, and that’s long been his reputation around the league. He is involved in far more decisions than most owners.

Despite all those “reasons,” the timing of the McDonough firing is still just odd. It just feels like another setback for the Suns.

Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks firing David Fizdale ‘inevitable’

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Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.

One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.

Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.

As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.

But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.

Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.

Austin Rivers calls for Doc Rivers to get technical foul (video)

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When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.

Not with his father.

The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.

That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!

Ja Morant hits game-winner in Grizzlies-Hornets (video)

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Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.

Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.

Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.

P.J. Tucker misses open fastbreak layup, trips on stanchion (video)

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I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.

But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.