The Suns entered the season seemingly destined for the bottom of the Western Conference after an offseason in which they traded away veterans and signed only one player who made their opening night roster. Phoenix used their swaps to stockpile draft picks, and the team could end up with as many as four first-rounders for the deep and star-studded 2014 class.
Phoenix has nevertheless managed to jump out to a 12-9 start this year, and that’s apparently enough to prompt GM Ryan McDonough to change gears. He revealed to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com that the team is shopping its first-round picks as it looks for an established star.
It’s an abrupt philosophical shift, especially considering we’re only a quarter of the way into the season. A 12-9 record would give the Suns the third seed in the Eastern Conference if the playoffs started today, but they’re only the seventh-best team in the West, clinging to a one-game lead for a postseason berth. A losing streak of any significant length could bury Phoenix’s playoff hopes.
Of course, the Suns didn’t seem to have much hope of making the playoffs when the season started. McDonough has only been on the job since this past summer, and the team has appeared destined for a lengthy rebuilding process. The draft is not a panacea, and McDonough suggests that he would be reluctant to bring four highly drafted rookies to the team all at once, but mortgaging the future for the present might not be the best idea for a roster that looked depleted when the season began.
Let us know if you think it’s time for the Suns to pivot toward trying to win this season at the expense of seasons to come. Feel free to elaborate on your thoughts in the comments.