COMMENTARY | The Phoenix Suns are coming back to earth a bit, which brings us back to the original question of the season -- should they tank for Andrew Wiggins? Before we get into the discussion, we should get one important fact out of the way.
No matter how bad the Suns end the season, the absolute best they can possibly do is give themselves a 25-percent chance to draft No. 1 overall.
TANKING BUILDS ANIMOSITY
Season ticket holders don't generally take a year off. They either keep their tickets (and their seniority) or they let them go. What kind of message does tanking send to them? Do they get a discount if the team isn't putting forth its best effort? Want to alienate a fan base? Sit Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic while they are healthy in an attempt to lose.
Speaking of Bledsoe, let's not forget that he's in the last year of his contract. Sure, the Suns have the right to match any contract he's offered, but if he's miserable and disgusted in the organization, why would they want him here?
The Suns owe it to themselves and the fans to put forth their best effort. If your best effort results in a 15-67 season, then so be it.
TANKING HINDERS PROGRESS
The Suns are young and have a brand new head coach. Needless to say, there's a lot of chemistry that needs to be built and a lot of trust that needs to be established within the team. How does tanking accomplish that again?
Secondly, look at some of the close losses that the Suns have had so far. They lost in San Antonio, in Portland, and at home to Brooklyn in games that turned into valuable learning experiences for this team.
If they were tanking, they'd never be in position to gain that experience. A team has to learn to win and has to learn how to stay composed in the latter stages of close games. If they don't actually get into those situations, progress screeches to a halt.
TANKING COMES WITH NO GUARANTEES
The most important aspect of tanking here is that there are no sure things. Even if the Suns finish with the worst record, they're still underdogs to get the No. 1 pick. Even if the Suns beat the odds -- read that again, they still have to beat the odds -- Wiggins or whomever is drafted is no sure thing.
The list of heavily hyped players to get drafted and fail is much larger than the list of players that succeed. It looks like a race between Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle at this point. They all have the hype machine behind them, but none of them are guarantees.
So should the Suns tank? Absolutely not. The risk of not getting the top pick or worse -- getting that pick and having the player fail -- is too great. The Suns should continue with their progress and give it their all every night.
When the draft lottery comes around, the Suns will do their best with what they get. Don't forget that they have a ton of assets, so they could still use some of those to move up or acquire an actual proven star. You know Ryan McDonough knows how to do that.
Michael Dunlap is the author of the " Daily NBA Fix ", an all-encompassing daily column that covers the NBA. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the NBA site HoopsHabit.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic.
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- Phoenix Suns
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