The Suns have accidentally struggled their way into a strong young core.
That’s the marvel of the NBA’s system, which rewards bad teams with high draft picks.
Phoenix nailed a mid-round pick in Devin Booker then accidentally stumbled into No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton and a top-seven pick in the upcoming draft. The Suns might even get another high draft pick or two while those young players are still developing.
That sets up Phoenix to really surge at some point in a couple years.
Of course, this organization hasn’t shown that type of patience.
We need to add guys in their prime. We need to raise the floor of our team. And you only do that with NBA players – not prospects, but NBA players. So, we’ll focus on acquiring those guys via all the channels we can.
This is a bad plan, one Jones has talked about before.
Yes, NBA players in their prime make far more of an immediate difference than prospects. But it’s unlikely Phoenix can attract, this summer, veterans who’ll lead to meaningful winning.
The Suns could acquire veterans who help them win 15 more games next season. That’s a ton! That’d still mean going 34-48 and missing the playoffs. Would Phoenix really feel good about that?
Those veterans would be expensive, maybe for years to come. They’d help the team get a worse draft pick. If acquired in a trade, they’d probably cost young players and/or draft picks.
The Suns aren’t close enough to winning to take this approach. They need to nail their first-round pick and develop their young players.
Those veterans Jones wants all started as young players. Group enough of them in the same age range, and they peak together. That’s when real winning happens. But just adding a couple marginal veterans to an otherwise-unready team doesn’t help enough.
Maybe Phoenix can land a true difference-making star. That’d be a completely different story. It also seems highly unlikely the Suns can lure a player like that.
This sounds like Phoenix is trying to be good both now and later, which rarely works. The Suns are going everywhere, therefore nowhere.