The Phoenix Suns fired Frank Vogel, but he wasn't the problem. Excuses were

The Phoenix Suns fired Frank Vogel after one season, and I can’t shake the feeling that this was a bad move.

General Manager James Jones explained the decision, saying, “We are here to win a championship, and last season was way below our expectations.”

That’s true, but how does giving Devin Booker a seventh head coach in what will be his 10th NBA season help toward that goal?

Sure, there were problems. Bradley Beal kept getting hurt. Booker missed time. And the backup singers got switched around so much that they couldn’t learn the songs.

But the real problem was all of the excuses.

No point guard? Excuse.

Referees making bad calls? Excuse.

Don’t like the offense? Excuse.

And now Vogel is getting scapegoated. Better him than the players, I guess. But this is starting to feel like a trend around here.

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Remember when everyone thought Deandre Ayton was the issue? (OK, maybe that’s a bad example.)

But at some point, Booker is going to need to tie a rope around the Suns and drag them over the horizon.

This looks bad for Kevin Durant, too.

Steve Nash. Jacques Vaughn. Monty Williams. Frank Vogel. Good luck for whoever comes next, because KD goes through coaches the way smokers go through lighters.

I just don’t know how you win a title without overcoming adversity. And the Suns aren’t going to learn to overcome anything if somebody gets fired every time things get tough.

Look back at a few of the recent Suns coaching changes.

It was time for Monty Williams to go. He had been around for a while and had some success, but his teams were quitting on him and getting embarrassed. But if you fire Williams, you shouldn’t then turn over the entire roster. That made no sense.

Igor Kokoskov was a good X-and-O guy, but he was way too soft spoken to run a team full of kids.

Jay Triano was a good coach. He seemed to prefer being an assistant, but he knew how to put guys in position to win. Look back at that roster, though. A lot of the key players didn’t last five years in the league.

Earl Watson knew how to connect with guys and get the most out of them as individuals. I still think he deserves another shot as a head coach. Given his ties to Booker and Durant (they played together in Seattle and Oklahoma City), he should be a candidate to replace Vogel.

The other thing I like about Watson is that he’s tough — and he’ll demand toughness from anyone who plays for him.

And really, that’s what the Suns need most.

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They’re easily frustrated. They give up big leads. And I can’t remember the last time they were down and mounted a comeback in a series or a game.

I can tell you for a fact that Booker and Durant are tough. It’s one of the reasons I respect them so much.

Booker wasn’t even a starter in college, and he’s turned himself into one of the league’s best players.

Durant’s leg exploded in the Finals, but he hasn’t missed a step since recovering from an injury that ends careers. (And you can’t go to Golden State and take all the criticism he took and play at the level he’s played without some serious mental fortitude.)

Booker and Durant lead by example, though.

Sometimes, guys who don’t have their level of talent need inspiration.

Michael Jordan knew this. So did Kobe. Just about all of the great ones figure out how to get their guys to believe and act like they’re better than they are.

Magic did it with a smile. Kevin Garnett did it with a snarl. Steph Curry does it by pointing at Draymond Green.

Booker and Durant will need to find their way to do it, as well.

Because this is on them.

They have to make it work with the next coach. If the Suns fire the next guy after a season, it’s going to feel real Sarver-y around here.

And no one wants that.

This might work out for the best, but I can’t shake the feeling that it was a bad move.

Reach Moore at or 602-444-2236. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @SayingMoore.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Firing Frank Vogel puts pressure on Devin Booker and Kevin Durant