Reviewing McDonough's Offseason
August 27, 2013
By: Greg Esposito, Suns.com
With General Manager Ryan McDonough’s first offseason and first 100 days in office coming to a close, it’s time to take a look back at exactly how he’s fared so far. As with everything that usually comes from this desk though, it can’t be that simple. No, instead of a straight forward review, why not have a little fun.
McDonough and I share something in common. We both were born in Boston and both still have plenty of family there (luckily, each of us escaped without any discernible accent). While I moved to the Valley of the Sun when I was just 8-months old, the Suns new GM has only called our fair city home for a very brief time. To make him feel at home – and as a great excuse to quote one of the most quotable films of all-time – I decided to breakdown his first months on the job with memorable quotes from the Beantown-centric film Good Will Hunting.
Will: "I'm pumped! Let the healing begin!"
There isn’t a better quote in any movie than this one to represent the way Ryan McDonough and Suns fans felt on the day he was introduced as general manager. After suffering through the second worst season in franchise history -- and the worst for anyone who isn’t old enough to remember seeing the Andy Griffith Show when it originally aired -- a fresh start was a welcomed idea. For McDonough, it was a chance to step out of the shadows and take the reigns of his own team at the young age of 33. He didn’t waste any time beginning the healing.
Morgan: "My boy's wicked smart."
Yeah, you guessed it. This little gem represents the reaction around the league to the hiring of McDonough, particularly from his former boss and former Sun Danny Ainge.
“Ryan has earned the right to do things his way, just because he’s a hard worker,” Ainge said. “He doesn’t take shortcuts. At the end of the day, his evaluations have been really good and I trust him. We all look at players differently and we all do it differently. Ryan’s been amazing. He’s been huge for the success of our franchise.”
Henry Lipkin: "Now, no more shenanigans, no more tomfoolery, no more ballyhoo."
The first step in the healing process was hiring a new head coach. McDonough found a way to embrace President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby’s call to reconnect with the past while striving to bring a championship to the Valley with his choice. He chose former Suns guard Jeff Hornacek, who brings along with him a no nonsense approach and a desire to win with a fast paced offense.
Skylar: "I can be in the NBA. I'm tall, I like to wear shorts. Hook! Hook! Dunk! Dunk!"
Originally this was said by Minnie Driver’s character sarcastically but when taken seriously, it can represent the Suns' draft too. With the No. 5 pick, McDonough made his first player acquisition as a GM. While many names were mentioned as possibilities with the pick, the new head of personnel made a pick he believed in selecting Alex Len. The 7-1 big man from the Ukraine started basketball later in life after being a gymnast, but always had faith that he could make it to the Association thanks to his height, athleticism and yes, even his ability to wear shorts.
Sean: "You'll have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to."
With change always comes some “collateral damage” that can make it uncomfortable. For the Suns and McDonough that moment this summer was parting ways with fan favorite Jared Dudley. It was a tough move for everyone involved but it’s a reminder that to improve you sometimes have to make the uncomfortable choice because the right decision usually ins’t the easy one. The move set up the Suns backcourt for years to come.
Last year was tough, but the trade will wake fans up to just how good Goran Dragic can be with the right running mate.
Sean: "Nail them while they're vulnerable, that's my motto."
The trade to acquire Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a first round pick from the Pacers shows that McDonough subscribes to this strategy. He saw that Indiana was concerned after losing many members of their bench and that they needed a savvy veteran to help them keep their championship window open and win now. Thus the deal sending Luis Scola to the midwest was born.
McDonough got what he needed, athletic players and assets, and the Pacers addressed one of the major areas that made them vulnerable in the Eastern Conference. Pretty successful motto if you ask me.
Will: "Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?"
Probably the most famous quote from the movie represents probably the most successful aspect of McDonough’s first offseason. He’s got numbers when it comes to assets and draft picks. That means the franchise has a lot of flexibility to make trades and sign players moving forward while rebuilding. Now those are apples any fan can like.