Suns GM Ryan McDonough feels a sense of disbelief when looking back at the team’s 2015/16 season, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “I still can’t believe that happened,” McDonough said. “I don’t think any of us could’ve envisioned this, especially when we started out 7-5 and were playing pretty good basketball. Everything went wrong for us this year. The good news is one of the main reasons we have 23 wins is a lot of our best players were injured and missed significant portions or the majority of the season.”
“We weren’t properly positioned to withstand injuries,” McDonough continued. “We just didn’t have the end-of-the-bench depth you need. I think our deepest bench was actually last year’s team, 2014/15, and we didn’t do a great job of managing the players on that roster. It’s a learning experience for me. We need to find the blend between having enough depth and talent that you’ll be able to absorb foul trouble and injuries but also have a good enough blend and balance on the roster to where players are willing to accept the roles we put them in. We will have a deeper and more talented team next year. I guarantee it.”
Here’s the latest from the Pacific Division:
- McDonough also noted that the Suns would prioritize finding a power forward this offseason, but added that the increase in the salary cap would make the competition much tougher, Coro relays. “We realize it may be tough for us this year to get in the mix like we have the previous two summers,” McDonough said. “Since I’ve been here, with the elite free agents, it’s easier when you win 87 combined games over two years than when you win 23. It’s a hard sell. We’ll be aggressive, creative. We value our young core. By young, I mean 26 and under with guys who have a chance to be really good players. Our last three lottery picks [Devin Booker, Alex Len and T.J. Warren], in particular, showed nice flashes this year of what they can do for guys who are still college age.”
- Lakers coach Byron Scott admitted that he could have done a better job developing the team’s younger players this season, a sentiment that was echoed by point guard D’Angelo Russell, who did admit that things improved between him and Scott as the season progressed, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News tweets.
- Russell noted that his Lakers teammates have been very supportive of him since the video he shot of Nick Young was made public, adding that Kobe Bryant was a source of support throughout the ordeal, Mike Trudell of Lakers.com tweets. The point guard also added that he never believed he had lost the trust of the rest of the team despite the incident, Serena Winters of Lakers Nation relays (Twitter link).
- Kings executive Vlade Divac indicated that the team’s coaching search wouldn’t be completed quickly and that he’s looking for a coach with experience who is on the same page with the players and front office, Sean Cunningham of KXTV-TV tweets.
- Center Roy Hibbert, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, would like to return to the Lakers next season, but he understands the chances of a reunion are slim, Medina relays (via Twitter).
- Draymond Green, who took less than the maximum when he re-signed with the Warriors last summer, told The Ringer’s Bill Simmons in a recent podcast that he accepted less money “so we can continue to build so we can make sure this thing stays together,” as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group relays (Twitter link),