The Phoenix Suns are coming into 2014 looking to make a splash by earning a trip to the postseason.
While the Los Angeles Lakers are in an unfamiliar state of mediocrity, the Suns are also playing in a division that includes the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, reducing the likelihood that Phoenix will win the Pacific crown.
They will, however, aim to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Although they finished fifth in their division last year with a record of 25-57, the Suns made themselves considerably better in the offseason.
Phoenix acquired Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe in a three-team trade that sent J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to the Clippers. In addition to Butler and Bledsoe, the Suns also snagged a potential star in Alex Len in the draft. Inside Hoops reported on the excitement felt in the Suns' front office.
“The addition of a very dynamic young player in Eric Bledsoe and an All-Star veteran in Caron Butler is very exciting for the Suns,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “At the same time, we thank Jared Dudley, a consummate professional in every respect. He takes our best wishes with him to the Clippers.”
The Suns will put forth their youngest, scrappiest and most athletic roster that they’ve had in years in 2014. Phoenix will also have a brand new coach—former Suns sharpshooter Jeff Hornacek.
Hornacek seems like the perfect guy for the job, as he has learned how to connect with younger players during his time as an assistant with the Utah Jazz.
"They [young players] may look at you and you might think they're not paying attention," he said, "but they really do want to learn.
"You have to find that fine balance between being able to get on guys and not harping on them all the time," he said, "because if you do that they're going to tune you out." (via ESPN.com)
The following slides include power rankings of each player on the Suns roster (including draft picks), based on their individual ability, track record and what they’ll bring to Phoenix.