Suns Retorter: Suns Aren't in Danger, They Are Danger
It’s a rare occasion when you want to compare the team you work for to a homicidal drug dealer, even if said narcotics peddler is fictitious and beloved by millions of viewers. Before I’m forced to pack up my desk and security escorts me out, let me explain.
It all stems from one quote Walter White said in Breaking Bad:
“I am not in danger. Skyler, I am the danger.”
He said it to his wife. The Phoenix Suns are saying it to the Western Conference in their final seven games.
It’s an odd statement to make after the team has lost two games in a row and sits tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference (although, due to tiebreakers that NASA mathematicians have to figure out the Suns sit on the outside looking in). But there is a reason for it.
The Suns are playing with house money. There I said it. Oh, and so did Channing Frye earlier in the year.
“We’re playing on house money, man,” Channing Frye said. “Nobody gives a crap about us.”
When your team has already exceeded national expectations by almost 25 games, surpassed the previous seasons win total by 19 wins and made national pundits eat their words -- see: Simmons, Bill and Rose, Jalen --, the year is already a major success.
You can lament draft positioning -- although the Suns are set up well with three first rounders in June’s draft and have a front office that can find talent anywhere -- or complain about what may or may not be, that’s your prerogative. Regardless of what happens the rest of the way the foundation has been set for a bright future. Phoenix is a top destination again, the franchise has more cap space than most and things are lining up directly with the blueprint President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby and General Manager Ryan McDonough have crafted.
That’s what makes the Suns so dangerous down the stretch. There is no pressure and even fewer expectations from the same people who wrote them off in October. And that’s the exactly where the situation they operate best in.
All season, every time the odds are stacked against them, they’ve proved people wrong. It’s their calling card and it’s because there is something special about this team. They genuinely like each other and want to win for each other. They’ve embraced a family mentality.
It’s so tangible that you can see it when you watch a game. Take last Friday. In a 15 second span you saw everything you needed to know about their makeup. A fan nailed the Casino Arizona $77,777 halfcourt shot and within a second Gerald Green was jumping to chest bump him, within five seconds the bench mobbed him, ten and Jeff Hornacek gave him a high five and by the fifteen second mark Eric Bledsoe gave him dap.
It was proof that these guys want to have fun, enjoy the ride and recognize just how lucky they are to be on this ride.
Are the remaining seven games more challenging than an adult trying to understand Minecraft? Probably, but if anyone can defy the odds and play loose, it’s these Suns. They’re having fun and don’t care if they’re not supposed to beat certain teams.
That means they’re not in danger. They are the danger to those jockeying for playoff position.