What if…? It is a question that all fans ask, but has particularly plagued the Suns throughout their history. Some of these "what if" scenarios make me so upset that I have to change the topic when conversing with friends.
What if the Suns decided to bottom out once Amare Stoudemire left, instead of being mired in mediocrity with the last good strength of Steve Nash?
What if they decided to keep any of the first round draft picks, not named Alando Tucker, from 2004-07? The list of players is sickening, considering who the team chose to fill those roles.
Luol Deng (2004)
Nate Robinson (2005)
Rajon Rondo (2006)
Sergio Rodriguez (2006)
Rudy Fernandez (2007)
What if owner Robert Sarver decided to pay Joe Johnson that extra 5 million dollars to keep him happy?
What if the team had a core of Johnson, Nash, Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion, all in their prime?
What if we kept Charles Barkley happy and weren't forced to trade him before the 1996-97 season?
What if we didn’t have to face the best to ever play, Michael Jordan, in the 1993 Finals?
What if the Shot Heard Round the World didn’t go in?
And maybe the biggest what if of them all…What if the 1964 Kennedy 50 cent piece would have come up tails before the 1969 draft? The Suns missed out on drafting Lew Alcindor, who became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the all-time leading scorer in NBA history.
If any of those would have gone in the Suns favor, the franchise might not be known for having the most regular season wins among all title-less teams. Feel free to take a moment or two now to let the final tear roll down or to take the last sip of that memory drowning elixir. Now we are moving on to this year's Suns team and the biggest "what if" surrounding the team in this early season.
What if this team doesn’t 'compete' for the most lottery balls in the 2014 NBA Draft?
So far throughout this short season, the Suns have not looked as bad as most experts figured. It is definitely very early, but this team has shown more pride than I expected. To the public's eye, and mine, it appeared that the Suns would tank this season in order to take advantage of a high draft pick. Drafting a 'superstar' player is almost the only way a team can ensure a bright future. The team certainly has a shot at this, holding 4 draft picks in the first round of the 2014 draft.
The team owns its own pick, a top 12 protected Washington Wizards pick, a top 13 protected Minnesota Timberwolves pick, and a top 14 protected Indiana Pacers pick. Seemingly the plan would be to have the team pick be the 'superstar' and to build the core with the remaining 3 picks, via trade or actually drafting players. If the team has success in the regular season, this would ruin that plan.
Maybe the team doesn’t need to draft that superstar? Maybe with the assets that GM Ryan McDonough has collected, he can pull off a trade netting the team a budding star. First round picks in this 2014 draft are like gold, and will only get more valuable as the hype surrounding the prospects build. In the meantime, while we wait for the season to unfurl, the team is exciting to watch. And that brings us to our last what if.
What if we, as Suns fans, won't be disappointed with the results this time around?