Babby Sets Path to Future With Eye on Past

Posted: April 23, 2013

Newton’s first law of motion says, “every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”

Less than a week after the Phoenix Suns finished the 2012-13 season with their second-worst record in franchise history, the organization applied an external force on Monday, in an effort to push the team in a forward motion. That force came in the form of a parting of ways with General Manager Lance Blanks. During his press conference on Tuesday, President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby set forth the path to the future.

“I want to go forward,” Babby told the media. “I want to make sure what has been historically a great franchise gets even better. That was my mission when I got here, that’s what I want to do going forward and make sure there is no question about that.”

Babby looks at the opportunity as a fresh start for the organization and a chance to reconnect with the aspects that made the franchise successful in the past.

"Where I think we've lost our way a little bit, candidly, is I want to make sure we're respectful of the past," Babby told the press. "I want to make sure that we acknowledge the tremendous success this organization has had, be respectful of the people who have played here to the people who have coached here, and most importantly, to our employees that have been here for many, many years. That’s my commitment.”

The first step in returning the franchise to its winning ways is hiring a player personnel man to replace Blanks and complement Babby’s skillset.

“First and foremost what we need is a first-rate talent evaluator, a chief talent officer if you will,” Babby said. “That will be my focus. Wherever that leads us, that will be the decision we make on the person. That person is going to have the loudest voice on basketball decisions, as has been the case the last three years. We have to get that person right.”

That doesn’t mean the front office will rush to make a decision. With one of the biggest offseasons in recent memory for the franchise looming, getting the correct person for the job is the most important thing over any self-imposed timetable.
Just don’t expect the Suns’ brass to hire someone that will fill both the role of general manager and head coach. Babby sees a duel-role as too daunting of a task for even the best in the business.

“There is plenty to do in that position and, obviously, coaching is an all-consuming job, as well,” he said. “ I just don’t see how, unless you’re given the title without the full reign of responsibilities, I don’t see how it’s possible for one person to do it. That would be my strong view of it.”

Regardless of who gets the job, Babby believes in the remainder of his basketball operations staff to continue their preparation for the draft while the search for a new general manager progresses.

“I have tremendous confidence in John Treloar [Suns Director of Player Personnel] to help us lead that process,” he explained to the media. “We will move forward and we won’t miss a beat. I promise you this, we will be well prepared.”

The Suns’ offseason was set in motion on Monday with a change in direction. It was the first in a long list of moves that Babby hopes will lay the foundation for the future. A future that he hopes will fall in line with the Suns’ winning past. It’s a big job, but one that he and his staff are looking forward to.

“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” he said. “There is nothing new in that.”