The Suns recently snapped a team-record and almost-season-worst* 17-game losing streak. They have won fewer than a fifth of their games this season, and once again they are the worst basketball team in the NBA. Their ongoing, endless dysfunction has finally risen to the level of “a concern for the NBA,” according to a report Tuesday from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Woj, beyond the standard meddling of heavy-handed owner Robert Sarver, the dual interim GM model the team’s been using since shit-canning Ryan McDonough in October hasn’t been working real well (emphasis added):
“Owner Robert Sarver has not seemed to learn a lot of lessons through the years about his management style, his hands-on nature, and his ability to put an infrastructure in place and allow it to build an organization. Right now James Jones is his interim general manager, just a couple years retired from the NBA. Jones has had a rather unorthodox view toward the NBA Draft—there’s not a lot of scouting going on in Phoenix. He’s not on the road a lot.”
That seems like a pretty significant oversight for a team that is virtually guaranteed to have one of the top five picks in the June draft, but at this point almost nothing could be learned of this organization’s incompetence that would register as much of a surprise. It’s worth remembering that Sarver allowed or forced the team to go through several wildly incoherent and self-negating course corrections during McDonough’s five-year stint at the helm, signed off on some pretty important long-term decisions, and then fired McDonough just nine days before the start of this regular season. Not bothering to scout ahead of this draft mostly reflects the same general lack of direction, just with a slightly more vivid color palette.
Woj reported Sarver “has considered the idea of hiring” an executive to run the basketball shop, but had not progressed to the interview phase of this apparent five-month process. Perhaps spurred by Woj’s report, or perhaps because the NBA’s concern has been communicated to them directly, Thursday the team finally took a step at least in a direction. According to a report from 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, the Suns have finally begun the process of interviewing candidates for their general manager gig. This is almost certainly less positive a development than news that they’d identified someone to stand bodily between Sarver and all basketball decisions, but at this point any sign that the Suns even realize they’re running a basketball operation is a step in the right direction.