Apr 15 2014 10:22AM

Sunrise, Sunset


Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport

The NBA's 11th-best team was eliminated from the 2014 NBA Playoffs Monday, five days before the official postseason begins.

It's a darn shame too because the Phoenix Suns became only the fifth team in NBA history to win 47 games and NOT make the playoffs.

Meanwhile in the Eastern Bunny Conference, four teams at this point are sneaking into the playoffs with anywhere from 37 to 44 wins, gathered in a conference that can only win 37 percent of its games against the West.

How would the Suns have fared if they were set in the East? Phoenix was 20-10 versus the junior circuit, registering a .667 winning percentage that would tie them with second-place Miami today.

Instead, Phoenix becomes a Western Conference consolation story, eclipsed by an old business model that new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he is willing to take a "fresh look" at this summer.

That said, let's console the Suns with a bunch of consolation prizes that are well-deserved in a year where nobody predicted they'd win 40-something games.

Here's to Jeff Hornacek, who probably won't win Coach of the Year honors, but is sure to get some votes. He took a team accused of roster tanking and almost got them in the playoffs in exciting fashion (eighth in offensive efficiency and eighth in pace).

Here's to Ryan McDonough, the aforementioned accused roster-tanking general manager, who showed he could deal starting center Marcin Gortat for a first-round pick and still field enough bigs to win 47-plus games. The 34-year-old GM probably won't win the Executive of the Year award, but he is sure to get some votes for also acquiring Eric Bledsoe, Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee in trades for Jared Dudley and Luis Scola.

Here's to Goran Dragic, who may not make any of the three All-NBA teams, but is certain to attract some votes after Steph Curry, Chris Paul, James Harden and Tony Parker take their places on the first two teams.

Here's to Bledsoe, who may have made All-Defense if he hadn't missed 40 games to injury.

Here's to Green and Plumlee, who both may garner votes for Most Improved.

Here's to Channing Frye, the oh-so-valuable stretch center whose return from heart problems last year would certainly have won him the Comeback Player of the Year award, if the NBA still gave out that honor.

Here's to the Morris Brothers--(Twins of the Year?) Markieff and Marcus--who helped fans forget the loss of Gortat. And kudos too to P.J. Tucker, who made the Dudley transition just as seamless.

We're going to miss you in the playoffs, Phoenix.

But hopefully your loss--coupled with Commissioner Silver's "fresh look"--will result in positive change for future NBA teams and postseasons.