Phoenix may have just gotten their first win of the season, outlasting the Kings 117-115 thanks to Devin Booker’s pair of clutch free throws, but all is not rosy the Suns' garden. The team parted way with coach Earl Watson just three games into the season and have already alienated one of their best players in Eric Bledsoe.
Where did it all go wrong for Phoenix?
Fall from grace
It’s crazy to think less than ten years ago the Phoenix Suns were one of the hottest tickets in the NBA. Steve Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion in Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense were about as fun to watch as any NBA team in the history of the league. An NBA Championship seemed just around the corner, yet it never quite materialized. Now, Phoenix are a dumpster fire that has been burning out of control for years.
The Suns have not sniffed the playoffs since 2010, the year Stoudemire left for New York. As the core of D’Antoni’s great squad drifted away the Suns fell into a tailspin that they have not been able to correct. They have been horrendous over the past two seasons, winning just 47 games, and having already pressed the reset button in 2017 there seems little chance of improvement soon.
The Suns have been atrocious on defense so far this season. They have been carved up by the Blazers, Lakers and Clippers to the tune of 129 points per game and made rookie Lonzo Ball look like an All-Star on his way to a near triple-double. Phoenix were also held to an embarrassing 55 points through three quarters against Portland.
When you fire your coach this early into the season there have to be serious questions asked about the hiring process. Watson was brought in as a caretaker following the sacking of Jeff Hornacek back in 2016. Watson went 9-24 as an interim coach, hardly an impressive record, yet was hired as the permanent mentor without the Suns even interviewing alternatives.