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Phoenix Suns: Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic Stall Out the Tank

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | So much for that whole "tanking" idea.

If the Phoenix Suns are going to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference, it's not going to be on purpose. Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and company have shown that they're not rolling over for anyone -- and that's a good thing.

After a 103-96 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game they led by six in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Suns sit at 2-1 and feel pretty good about themselves. Are they the most talented team? No. Should that affect their desire? Absolutely not.


This whole "race" for Andrew Wiggins is a bit foolish. We look back at the vaunted 2003 draft and see LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade and think that's going to happen again. That year was the exception -- not the rule.

There have been many more years where we've had flameouts at the top of the draft. The hype machine can build up players unfairly, based on YouTube videos and gaudy high school stat lines. Until we see them dominating in college, let's slow it down a bit.

Not to mention, the Suns already have themselves a stud in Bledsoe. He's currently averaging 22 points, 6.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He's getting to the free throw line 11 times per contest. His shooting line leaves a bit to be desired (.409/.222/.788), but as he gains more comfort within the system, those should improve.


When he's able to stay healthy and play full games, Dragic is a beast. He's fearless going to the basket and has an excellent mid-range shooting touch. In the season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, he scored 26 points with six rebounds, nine assists and a steal.

The last two games have been sub-par, after colliding with P.J. Tucker in the Utah Jazz game and then rolling his ankle against the Thunder on Sunday night. For those that saw the highlight, how impressive was it that Dragic still finished at the rim after turning that ankle?

Dragic will likely have to rest that ankle up, although no official timetable has been announced.


What could the Suns gain if they went out and threw every game? At the very best, they'd have a 25-percent chance of snagging the first overall pick. Since 1990, the team with the worst record has secured the top pick just three times. The last time it happened was 2004, when Dwight Howard went to the Orlando Magic.

Instead, the Suns should continue the path they're on (without taking 37 three-pointers per game, preferably). They should continue developing the tandem of Bledsoe-Dragic. They should carve out specific roles for guys like P.J. Tucker and the Morris twins. They should keep working with Miles Plumlee, Archie Goodwin and Alex Len.

A combination of a team growing together with some luck in the lottery (or perhaps some savvy trades) is a much better option than putting all of its hope into the draft lottery. At least for now, this tank is stalled ... as it should be.

Michael Dunlap covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the NBA site . He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic.

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