Suns’ Bold Summer Has Rekindled Optimism in Phoenix

by Matt Petersen

After a flurry of offseason activity, the Suns’ front office has been quiet enough in recent weeks to give us time for a breath. In that time, it’s worth noting the attitude behind all the moves points to one word: BOLD.

Nothing illustrates that better than Archie Goodwin’s recent comments to Slam. Asked about being undervalued in the draft, the 29th overall pick state he was planning on “giving hell” to every team that ignored him in favor of someone else.

Goodwin’s boldness was matched by Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough’s efforts to acquire him. Holding on to the 30th pick and seeing Goodwin still on the board, the recently hired GM pounced, swinging a deal to move up a precious draft spot to get him.

And those are just the appetizers to a summer full of moves with similar attitude.

McDonough could have gone with a tried-and-true name at head coach. Heck, last season’s Coach of the Year was (and is) still unemployed. Other candidates with “Head Coach” on their respective resumes were available.

Instead McDonough went with a rookie, a first-timer, in Jeff Hornacek. Sure, Hornacek has history with the team and a reputation with the fans, but those were more perks than reasons for the hire. The choice, like everything else McDonough and his team do, was well-scouted and basketball-related.

Ditto for the Suns’ decision to go with Alex Len when other, more trending names were still on the board. Phoenix knew who it wanted and picked him, conventional opinion be damned.
Trending also took a backseat to the Suns’ new uniforms. In a league where standing out is everything, the majority of team jerseys have become depressingly monotonous.

Instead of sticking with the plain team name + number + maybe a unique neckline formula, Phoenix went in an assertively new direction.

And if you think that transition is too dramatic, just remember the Suns made an eerily similar outside-the-box uniform change 21 years ago.

So yeah, doing the unexpected does pay off. It certainly did for Phoenix in the Eric Bledsoe sweepstakes. A good number of teams had hoped to end up with the Clippers’ talented point guard who became a luxury after the re-signing of Chris Paul. The Suns weren’t mentioned in any of the rumored deals.

They stayed unmentioned until the actual deal went through, thanks to Phoenix’s aggressiveness in getting a deal done.

Other deals have followed. The trade for Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a first-round draft pick. The deal to bring in Viacheslav Kravtsov, Ish Smith and additional cap space.

Most importantly, there’s the attitude behind the deals, captured by McDonough’s comment following the latter transaction.

“This deal gives us significant cap space as well as the flexibility to trade for another exciting player, which is how we were able to acquire Eric Bledsoe,” McDonough said.

Suns fans and even critics appreciate such honest aggressiveness, especially when it comes in an effort to restore the team to contending status. Phoenix's new tone and accompanying actions are refreshing for a franchise that needed a drink. It’s why fans are the more optimistic about the Suns’ future than they’ve been in a long time.

Credit the team’s bold tone this offseason as the reason why.