Sarver, McDonough On Suns, Rebuilding

The Suns are 17-10 and perhaps the most surprising team in the NBA two months into the season. The winning comes on the heels of GM Ryan McDonough‘s mission to “clean up the nonsense, frankly, that had gone on here in years past,” as he tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The GM and owner Robert Sarver share plenty of thoughts on the turnaround and what might come next with Wojnarowski, and we’ll pass along the highlights here:

Sarver on his reluctance to embrace rebuilding:

“For all successful people in business, I think that the notion of taking a step back to take a step forward is a foreign concept. You simply don’t say, ‘We’re going to go backward for a couple years,’ in business. But pro sports – especially the NBA – is different, and it’s set up to do just that. I had a hard time stomaching the idea of rebuilding, and spent a couple of years trying to patch together a way that we could still capitalize on Steve [Nash]‘s ability. I was a couple of years too late in really facing the music.”

Sarver on the hiring criteria for McDonough and coach Jeff Hornacek:

“I needed to get a team with a GM and a coach who would have a good working relationship. We had problems with Steve [Kerr] and Mike [D’Antoni], with Alvin [Gentry] and Lance [Blanks]. It puts too much stress on the team.”

McDonough on his approach this season:

“To have a season where everything goes wrong and you’re just hoping for the pingpong balls to bounce your way – and then hope you draft the right guy, who then turns into a great player – that’s not something I’m comfortable doing and Jeff, [Suns president of basketball operations] Lon [Babby] and ownership wanted no part of it. We can keep drafting and adding to our talent, or we have six first-round picks over the next two years and could accelerate the process using picks and our cap space to trade for a star player.”

McDonough on free agent signings next summer:

“We have max cap space next summer and we will be chasing the top guys. But if we don’t get them, it won’t be the end of the world. Then, we will hope to draft well and put together a group that might take a little longer to get to a contending level, but will have a longer timeline together.”

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