It is time for the Phoenix Suns to clean house.
Be bold, be aggressive. Shoot for the moon. Please Phoenix Suns, not more of the same.
The Suns finished their season last night in fitting fashion, getting blown out 118-98 to the Denver Nuggets on route to a 25-57 finish, the second-worst record in franchise history. Even switching coaches at mid-season didn't affect the outcome of the season.
Owner Robert Sarver has already made the decision to retain team president Lon Babby, giving him a two-year contract extension. It was a bit of a surprise at the time, but Babby's extension now puts him into position to determine the Suns' immediate future with a little security.
The first two pressing questions facing Babby is whether the team should bring back general manager Lance Blanks with one year remaining on his contract and whether the Suns should retain interim coach Lindsey Hunter after leading the team to a 12-29 record after replacing Alvin Gentry.
Given the way the season unfolded, I believe it is time for Babby to clean house and reset the franchise now that he has the opportunity to do so. Babby now has key veteran like Marcin Gortat calling this year's Suns squad "mentally weak" (ArizonaSports.com). Gortat is the second veteran to express concern about the team, echoing similar comments that Luis Scola made earlier this month.
If you are Sarver, you can't feel too confident that the team's culture has changed when you are hearing comments like that from your veteran players. It certainly doesn't speak well to Blanks or his decision to circumvent the experienced basketball coaches on Gentry's staff in order to promote Hunter.
Blanks has a very mixed track record and the Suns should be very reluctant to go into this June's NBA draft with Blanks making the key decisions for the franchise. Phoenix needs to nail the lottery pick that the team will receive by having the fourth-worst record in the league.
Hunter ends up with a 12-29 record, almost exactly the same record as former coach Gentry, something that I touched upon earlier this year.
The Suns unfortunately will not receive the second lottery pick the team had hoped for because the Los Angeles Lakers were able to salvage their drama-filled season by clinching the seventh-seed with last night's victory over the Houston Rockets while the Utah Jazz dropped their final game.
Phoenix will likely have the fourth overall pick in the first round, the Miami Heat's first-round pick (30th overall) from the Steve Nash trade with the Lakers and the 57th overall pick in the second round.
Babby and Sarver are now charged with getting the Suns back on track. They need to be bold.
My how things have changed. Fans used to ask the Arizona Cardinals to emulate the Suns, now fans will be clamoring for the Suns to clean house like the Cardinals did in January.
Should the Suns fire Blanks and Hunter?
Will the Suns be listening?