Morning Shootaround

Did Phoenix Suns opt to fire coach Earl Watson too soon?

NBA.com staff reports

Earl Watson got just three games. Three games was apparently enough for the Phoenix Suns to make a critical decision about their young coach and the direction he was taking the team. Eric Bledsoe’s tweet certainly couldn’t have helped the cause for a team that suffered a historic blowout on opening night and showed no signs of life in the two games after that.

* Suns fire Watson after 0-3 start

But three games? It seems a bit hasty to some. Firing a coach so soon into a season suggests that there is much more to what is ailing these Suns than just the coach. In fact, Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic wonders if Watson is the scapegoat for the larger issues plaguing the Suns:

I keep coming back to that: It’s only been three games. Yes, two of the losses have been blowouts, but what could Suns leadership know after three games that they didn’t know at the end of last season?

I haven’t yet spoken with the front office, so I’m forced to ask questions.

Here’s what I’d like to know:

Why? Sure, the Suns are bad, but didn’t we expect that going into the season? Wouldn’t it be better for the team to learn how to get through this, rather than make Watson a scapegoat for the losses?

Owner Robert Sarver has said he expected the team to take a “step up” this year, and he said in a radio interview before the season opener that he was hoping for a winning record and a playoff spot. But he didn’t really expect that, did he? That was just optimism and positive talk, right?

This team won 24 games last year and brought back mostly the same group.

The Suns roster? Tyson Chandler was third-team All-NBA in 2011-12. Other than that, these guys are promise and potential.

Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker look great individually, but can the starting guards make those around them better?

The Suns had more turnovers than assists the first two games and 19 of each in the loss to the Clippers. Is this a problem of X’s and O’s? Or is it that the starting backcourt needs a distributor?

How much should the coach be held responsible for a team’s effort? Coaches don’t play defense. And isn’t defense primarily about will?

All that said, it’s embarrassing to lose by 40 once, and it’s reasonable that it’s inexcusable to do it twice in a three-game skid, but would this be the decision if T.J. Warren hit his free throws at the end of the Lakers game and the Suns found a way to win in overtime?

Watson’s strength is as a mentor, and that seems like exactly what the second-youngest roster in the NBA needs.

Does leadership think the players have tuned Watson out? After three games? And if so, why not tell them to get over it?

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