Major story lines headlined the 2013-14 NBA season. Story lines surrounding Miami Heat‘s quest of reaching a goal 27 years in the making, coming out of the East (a very weak version of it) and earning their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance; the overconfident Indiana Pacers looking to finally claim the East throne; the Kevin Durant-led Oklahoma City Thunder looking for the first title in franchise history; the San Antonio Spurs‘ rise from one of the most devastating losses in NBA Finals history.
Behind all the noise, you had the Phoenix Suns, looking like an incomplete puzzle entering the first of many rebuilding years, coming out of nowhere to become one of the most exciting and successful franchises of the season. An amazing season indeed.
The Phoenix Suns ended with a 48-34 record fighting for the eighth spot in the oh so wild West. That’s bonkers. How bonkers? Analysts had them at 19-63, NINETEEN AND SIXTY-THREE! I’ll help put those words into perspective, that was the record of the Philadelphia 76ers, which blatantly tanked since day one (in their defense, they surpassed the projections by four wins).
Teams who had a worse record than the Suns: 17 (56.7 percent of the league).
- Washington Wizards
- Brooklyn Nets
- Charlotte Bobcats
- Atlanta Hawks
- New York Knicks
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Detroit Pistons
- Boston Celtics
- Orlando Magic
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Milwakee Bucks
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Denver Nuggets
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Sacramento Kings
- L.A. Lakers
- Utah Jazz
With the same record as the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls, they would’ve been the third or fourth seed in the dreaded East. They would’ve played the Brooklyn Nets or the Washington Wizards. They were six wins away from having the same record as the two-time defending champions Miami Heat. Six. Freakin’. Wins.
Unfortunately for the Suns they’re stuck in the super-competitive West, which makes last season’s feat a bigger accomplishment.
So now, where do the Suns go? What’s the best fit for them in the upcoming draft?
What they have:
- “The Dragon” Goran Dragic.
- Eric Bledsoe‘s knees.
- Gerald Green‘s expiring contract.
- The 14th and 18th picks in what seems to be the most loaded draft class of the past 25 years.
What they need:
- Point Guard: Shabazz Napier. Eric Bledsoe has been an unreliable backup to Goran Dragic. Even with a superb medical team who stopped Steve Nash‘s body from growing old, Bledsoe’s knees are way too fragile for a kid his age.
- Small Forward: Glenn Robinson III. Gerald Green’s contract is almost done. Supposedly the team’s not willing to take a chance on giving him a lot more money so, for Green, leaving in 2015 is a strong possibility.
Last season might’ve been an outlier for the Suns. Even though they didn’t attain much, the result was way better than expected. Next season they won’t be in that comfort zone. Next season expectations will be higher.
Predictions for 2014-15: A little worse’s a failure. A little better might not be enough.