For the past year I’ve taken part in the joys of fatherhood. One thing I learned very quickly was that you don’t leave your precious young one with someone just because they have nice things to say. They need to be qualified and capable of actually providing for the needs of your child and helping them learn and progress on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, it was a lesson the Phoenix Suns had to learn the hard way.
Earl Watson is a very nice person and has a sunny disposition and outlook on life. In many professions that’s the kind of person you want as a leader. One who can keep things light hearted and a build a culture of mutual respect. The NBA, which was proven over the last season, isn’t one of those places.
Just three games into the 2017-18 season, with two 40+ point losses under their belt, Suns owner Robert Sarver and General Manager Ryan McDonough fired Watson Sunday afternoon.
It was a necessary move. The team looked about as interested on the court in the first three games as a 15-year-old being forced to watch old episodes of Step By Step. That’s a problem with any roster. It’s an extremely large problem when you have a team that is comprised primarily of guys not old enough or barely old enough to drink.
Potential is a funny thing. It can either blossom with the right care or shrivel and die on the vine before it ever had a chance. The start to the season was signs that the latter may have begun to happen in Phoenix. If #TheTimeline is to work you have to do everything possible to ensure that as many of your high draft picks develop as possible. Love, family and yoga wasn’t making that happen.
The long term hire at coach for the Suns is the most important move they’ll make. It will make or break this once proud organization. The youth movement must work. Otherwise the organization likely will move from the NBA’s most well-respected to its darkest corner with the likes of the Sacramento Kings.
The one common thread of the seven year exodus to NBA’s purgatory? It’s not the players, coaches, general manager or scouting staff. Nope. It’s the man at the top, Robert Sarver.
This hire and the next three years will solidify what his legacy is as an owner. He’s a man who has made it clear he doesn’t want to live in Jerry Colangelo’s shadow but the reality is that he does. His greatest stretch as an owner cane thanks to a roster Colangelo and his son Bryan built. Other than that, he’s presided over the longest playoff drought in franchise history.
I know how badly Sarver wants to win. I witnessed it first hand. But another thing I’ve learned as a husband and father is that it’s much easier to say you want to do something and a lot harder to prove it with your actions.
This is the owner’s chance. Overspend on a big name coach who can actually make Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and whoever your top 5 pick next year is reach their full potential. If you don’t you’re just entrusting your precious young ones to someone affordable and under qualified and that’s a recipe for disaster. Not only for this current team but for your legacy and the legacy of the franchise.