The Phoenix Suns have been a model of basketball futility for the better part of the last decade now. They haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2010, when they made it all the way to the conference finals before falling to the Lakers in six games at the tail end of the Steve Nash era.
They’ve since been toiling away at the bottom of the Western Conference, and despite amassing high lottery picks amid what seems like a never-ending rebuilding process, they’ve shown little signs of progress toward working their way back into contention anytime soon.
After Suns owner Robert Sarver fired GM Ryan McDonough in the offseason, James Jones has been filling in as vice president of basketball operations and co-general manger, along with Trevor Bukstein, on an interim basis all season. He recently spoke about how he and the front office team have shared the responsibilities (and culpability) involved while attempting to make high-level decisions by committee while under tremendous internal and external scrutiny.
“Everyone’s perspective matters, and the best idea should always win. There is no one decision-maker. No one has all the answers. If you empower people to have an opinion and back it up with data and back it up with some solid reasoning, you should listen to them. I’ve learned that.
“You’re always searching for a better answer, but the better answers don’t always come from yourself. I don’t pretend to know everything. I know what I don’t know, and I respect what other people know.”
Jones is hoping to get that interim tag removed as both he and Bukstein are being considered for the full-time GM position. He got plenty of sideways glances earlier this season after the Lakers landed Tyson Chandler following the Suns’ buyout, with the perception being that he orchestrated the move to help out his old buddy LeBron James.
But Jones and the rest of the front office have also been responsible for a string of savvy moves that could eventually pay dividends, including landing a couple of young talents like Kelly Oubre and Tyler Johnson to help shore up their guard and wing positions to play alongside Devin Booker and No. pick Deandre Ayton.