The 2018-19 season for the Phoenix Suns has gone an awful lot like the 2017-18 season, in that they are the worst team in the Western Conference by a solid margin.
Last year, that appeared to be part of the plan, but with No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton on board along with Devin Booker, the hope was that young duo, along with some other young role players on the roster, would at least show enough improvement to shine some light in the valley of the sun. That has not happened, and as such, one can’t help but wonder what’s next for Phoenix.
They’ll once again be near the top of the lottery, but that hasn’t meant a ton in recent years as they’ve not had the greatest draft results. On top of that, they’re currently operating under the vision of co-interim GMs James Jones and Trevor Bukstein, who, according to a recent report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, aren’t doing a lot of traditional draft scouting and the overall approach of the team, from owner Robert Sarver down, has the league “concerned.”
Jones addressed that report on Arizona sports radio station 98.7 FM on Wednesday, insisting they’re scouting, but just have folks in the stands and not in the press box for games.
However, it seems hardly a coincidence that the day Woj’s report made waves across the NBA, John Gambadaro of 98.7 FM reported the Suns have opened up their GM search, finally, after firing Ryan McDonough in October. Gambadaro notes the team is expected to have a new look in their basketball operations department come draft time, although it’s possible for James and/or Bukstein to remain on board in some capacity, possibly as the full-time GM.
The issues for the Suns begin with Sarver, though, and the difficulty they have given his reputation as an overly hands-on owner is that most tenured basketball operations executives aren’t too keen on working under him. That will make the GM search very interesting, but at least there is a search underway.