Fans of the Phoenix Suns are spoiled and they whine a LOT and they really have no idea how to deal with a losing team. At the earliest signs of adversity they want to fire someone, sell the team, trade the stars, change the rotations, focus more on defense, focus more on offense, and string up the Gorilla for his inability to make shots.
If that adversity extends beyond a few weeks, forgetaboutit. Apocalypse Now.
Yes, this means you and me too.
The Suns right now are a putrid team on the court. The gutless performance this week in Denver prompted Lon Babby to go on the radio and apologize after the Suns lost by 34 points, the biggest beating of the season.
"I apologize on behalf of our team for that game last night," Babby said on KTAR radio, "It's one thing to lose, it's another thing not to compete."
It wasn't going well for the Suns before Babby pulled the trigger on a trade that un-did the Hedo Turkoglu experiment at the cost of replacing warrior, Jason Richardson with self-believer, Vince Carter. This team is now struggling to beat the dredges of the league (Cavs, Nets) at home and hasn't won a road game since the trade.
So yeah, it's bad. But is it really that bad in historical context?
Even if the Suns don't find their mojo and make some kind of playoff run -- or even just compete on a nightly basis -- this is still one of the best franchises in basketball over the past 20 years. Check it out.
- Since 1990 the Suns have averaged 48.1 wins per season. Only three teams have done better - LA Lakers (49.4), Utah Jazz (48.9) and San Antonio Spurs (52.33).
- More recently, the Suns are third in average wins -- and that includes this miserable season -- with 49.7 wins in the Nash Era (2004-present). Only Dallas, San Antonio and Los Angeles have done better.
- And over the past two decades of NBA basketball, the Suns are one of only six franchises to have a cumulative winning percentage over .500. The others are Detroit, Houston, and our old friends LA, SA, and Utah.
- No rings, which makes this the best franchise in the NBA never to win a title. There's no competition for that "honor".
So maybe we should blame the Suns for being so damn good over the past two decades. They've failed to adequately prepare the front-running Phoenix fans for failure.
Losing is no fun. Mistakes were made. Welcome to the world of most NBA fans.
DON'T TRADE NASH
The mistake now is overreaction which is exactly the biggest mistake Robert Sarver's Suns have made in his tenure. Trading Steve Nash and Grant Hill would be the wrong move unless the deal brings back a potential franchise player and there's not a single (realistic) trade idea out there that does that.
The best player the Knicks could give up is Danilo Gallinari -- a nice player but no star. The Toronto Raptors would love to have Steve playing in Canada but what do they have to offer? Their best young players are DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis and Jerryd Bayless. How many wins do you think a DeRozan, Dragic, Hill, Frye, Lopez starting five would average and how much better do you think they could get?
I am just as guilty as anyone at freaking out over bad games but the best option is patience. Wait and see what happens in the off-season with the new CBA. Maybe there will be teams forced to dump star-caliber players under the new rules. That's a better option than trading the team's only star for even more young role players with no possibility of growing into franchise players.
History shows that teams that dump their stars and try to rebuild just end up sucking for a long time.
The Timberwolves were an occasional playoff team before they traded Kevin Garnett. The Seattle Sonics were relevant before trading Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen. They at least got a ton of draft picks but it took four years of 30-win teams (and the Blazers passing on Kevin Durant) to get where they are now. The Pistons did it and are still mired in crap with Ben Goran and Charlie Villanueva headlining their marketing posters.
You simply don't make your franchise better by trading a star for a bunch of role players and non-lottery draft picks. It never works.
So that's the challenge to the "Trade Nash" band-wagoners: Bring a realistic trade idea that lands a player the Suns can build around. Otherwise, suck it up and try not to drink too much as this team flounders and pray the new CBA somehow works out in the Suns favor.