Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler have already been shut down for the remainder of the Phoenix Suns’ season, but Fox Sports Senior NBA Writer Andrew Lynch isn’t convinced full-on tanking is in the team’s best interest. Andrew’s appearance comes fresh off 20-year-old Devin Booker’s history-making 70-point output in a loss to the Celtics Friday night. He contextualizes Booker’s rare night and breaks down many other integral Suns issues, such as Eric Bledsoe’s projected NBA future, the disappointing Alex Len, rookie Marquese Chriss’ potential and Phoenix’s approach to this June’s draft.
2:31-2:57: “In this season, Suns fans needed something like that, I think. And it’s just perfectly fitting – I tweeted this last night – that it came in a loss. All of my favorite Suns memories are in losses. I know people want to maybe belittle the achievement a little because he was taking so many shots, because they were fouling, because they were calling timeouts…70 points is 70 points in an NBA game. Period.”
4:54-5:45: “Last year, Devin Booker looked like this savior-level phenom, the kind of player that Phoenix has needed since Steve Nash’s departure… This year, he’s taken a huge step backward, and I think that’s because there’s a lack of structure around him. Earl Watson is a great guy to get the players playing as hard as possible for him, guys love him, he’s a great locker room guy. And I love all that [but] it doesn’t seem like there’s necessarily a design for how this team improves moving forward as a unit and as individuals. And I hate to say this because it’s one of the worst things you can say about an NBA coach, but it’s borderline just rolling the ball out there and letting them play basketball. “
6:46-7:00: “[The 76ers’ tanking] very rarely has succeeded, but at least the scaffolding is there to build something larger. With the Suns, you just have a bunch of people running around with hammers and masonry tools going, ‘Hey, this is fun. Bob the Builder. This is fun.’”
10:00-10:41: “[The injury history] is concerning in so much as he’s going to take a step back for sure. He’s not going to be an All-Star-caliber point guard when he’s healthy within the next year or even two maybe, but he uses angles so well. Part of his athleticism is his ability to rub his guy off of a screen at the exact right angle to create the maximum amount of space or to come off of a screen and maybe have his big flip it at the last minute. So he uses that geometry of the game so well, I’m not as concerned about a slip in athleticism with him as I might be with someone like Russell Westbrook…Bledsoe’s a little sharper than that.”
15:38 – 16:32: “When you have those kinds of young players, it comes down to defining roles for guys. Someone like Tyler Ulis has maybe had the best development arc on the Suns this year…Because his role has been defined, because the expectations have been set, he knows what he’s supposed to do. He’s flourished.”
22:25-24:09: “Guys, he is so good…I almost shouted, “my man!” I love Tyler so much…Tyler brings that same leadership dynamic [as P.J. Tucker] even as a young dude. He comes in and he is immediately the guy that everyone in the locker room is looking at…Obviously there’s a ceiling on his capability because of his height…With that said, he is so smart, he is such a fundamental player, he is so good on defense. He doesn’t just know where opposing ball handlers want to go with the ball. He knows how they want to get there…His hands aren’t in passing lanes; they’re in dribbling lanes. I haven’t seen anything like it honestly since going back to Stacey Augmon or Gary Payton…I am not going to put a cap on what I expect out of him, because every time anyone has done that with Tyler Ulis, he’s proven them wrong.”
Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod