As was the case a year ago…the Suns are setting quickly in early April.
Jeff Hornacek’s club, saddled with a four-game losing streak, play the NBA-best Golden State Warriors (61-13) Thursday night in Oakland. The latest free-fall has Phoenix 4.5 games behind Oklahoma City for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
A playoff berth was commonplace when Charles Barkley called the Valley of the Sun his basketball home.
The players, coaches and times have changed over the past two decades with the west being loaded with deep, talented teams.
Barkley said don’t blame Hornacek for the early spring slide.
“Jeff didn’t start sucking as a coach at the end of this year,” Barkley told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Tuesday morning. “Jeff did a terrific job. I bragged about the Suns all last year. I thought they were doing a good job. I thought they were going in the right direction…they made this thing a train wreck.”
The outspoken, always brutally honest NBA on TNT analyst is mainly referring to Suns one-time crowded backcourt of point guards in Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, and 2014 first-round pick Tyler Ennis.
Only Bledsoe remains after February’s trade deadline fire sale which, essentially, turned Phoenix’s roster upside-down.
“They really screwed this thing up, man,” Barkley explained. “I feel bad for the fans. I live in Phoenix so I get to watch them…they trade Dragic and I’m like, ‘are you kidding me?’ That’s just stupid.”
Making matters worse for the Suns’ dimming playoff hopes is only two of their final seven games are at Gila River Arena.
Phoenix has not made the post-season since 2009-10.