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With the dust having settled on the 2018-19 season, the draft having taken place and free-agency about to tip off Sunday night, let’s take a look back at our season previews and whether each was a slam dunk, a mid-range jumper or an airball.
Today, the Phoenix Suns.
Season Outlook: If there was a team more in need of a makeover than the Suns, please stand up. Phoenix went 4-31 in its last 35 games. Coach Earl Watson was fired after three games and interim coach Jay Triano guided Phoenix the rest of the way, paving the way for Igor Kokoskov to assume the position after spending the last three seasons as Quin Snyder’s top assistant in Utah. Adding No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton and trading for No. 10 overall choice Mikal Bridges will immediately inject youth, size and skill into the mix for the Suns, who will once again be led by All-Star Devin Booker. However, Booker — signed to a five-year, $158 million max extension — will most likely need to spend plenty of time at the point with Brandon Knight being dealt to Houston. Adding Trevor Ariza as a free agent is a move usually done by contenders looking for a piece to put them over the hump, which the Suns certainly are not, and adding Ryan Anderson in the deal for Marquese Chriss and Knight is another questionable decision.
The Season: Sometimes, change works. Other times, it doesn’t. The Suns went through plenty of change last season, starting with Kokoskov, drafting Ayton with the first overall pick in the draft and trading for Bridges, the 10th overall pick in the draft. Oh, just for good measure, Phoenix fired general manager Ryan McDonough nine days before its season tipped off. The result of all of that fluidity? A 19-63 season, tied for the second-worst record in the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kokoskov’s leash turned out to be one season before he was given the gate. Booker had another fine season, averaging 26.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 35.0 minutes in 64 games. Ayton averaged a double-double — 16.3 points and 10.3 boards — while Bridges was the only Sun to play all 82 games, averaging 8.3 points. The Suns traded for Kelly Oubre Jr. on Dec. 17 and he averaged 16.9 points and 4.9 boards. T.J. Warren averaged 18.0 points and shot 42.8 percent from deep, only to be trade on draft night to the Indiana Pacers for the 32nd overall pick in the draft.
Our Effort: Slam dunk. Even a broken clock is correct two times every day.