Ah, the fresh smell of hope that comes along with the numbers changing at the top of resumes, contracts and government forms. We've gone from writing 2019 to 2020. Now, everything changes. New year, new me, new Arizona sports franchises. Well, that is, if they follow this advice...
Cardinals - Spend wisely. The Cardinals are projected to have the most cap space in the NFC West this offseason. That money is their only defined advantage over the Seahawks, Rams and 49ers. They'll also have the 8th pick in the draft. I advise Keim to spend that cash like he's just moved into a new house. You wouldn't buy pictures and decorations before the bed, pots and pans and couch. When you're building a football team, don't buy wide receivers and running backs before you bolster the lines and defensive secondary. Kliff and Kyler produced the league's 13th best offensive efficiency rating with a bunch of second-rate skill position players. They'll be fine if you go to Goodwill for their accessories.
Suns (Devin Booker) - Know your worth. The city of Phoenix gave the Suns $150 million to renovate Talking Stick Resort arena. When that thing's done, they'll need to put butts in seats. Well, for the average Suns fan, Devin Booker's the main attraction. He's been the only stabilizing professional basketball figure in this town for four and a half years. He's more valuable to this franchise than even he may think. With that value comes leverage. Go tell Robert Sarver and James Jones that you demand they put a competitive offer on the table for Karl-Anthony Towns. That's the next evolution in Devin Booker's stardom. What we've observed in the NBA over the last decade is that being a superstar doesn't stop on the court anymore. LeBron's recruited his way to two rings. Golden State recruited their way to two with Kevin Durant as well. Now it's Booker's turn. I get that the Valley Boyz are having fun, but playing with Karl-Anthony Towns is probably better.
Coyotes - Be better at home. Even though the Coyotes sit at 22-16-4, and are just two points behind the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division, if they cleaned up their home record they could be even better. Tocchet's group is 9-10-1 at home this year compared to 13-6-3 on the road. That should even out in the second half of the season. Fan support always helps home ice advantage, and winning at home brings in more fans.
Diamondbacks - Be honest. That means figuring this Archie Bradley thing out. Is he a dude you like having around because he's great for the brand and the kids love him, or are you going to legitimately maximize the guy's worth? If you're honest about him, he's been inconsistent however he's been used. Hazen's already been bold once this offseason, bringing in Madison Bumgarner to be a horse for this team, even as analytics-driven front offices shied away from his spin-rate and road statistics. Maybe Bradley becomes your opener. Or maybe you trade Archie Bradley to a team, like, say, the Astros, that thinks they can get the most out of a 27-year old pitcher with a large frame and 97 mph fast ball. Brent Strom is salivating, and I'm already feeling regretful.
ASU Football - Be you. ASU's brand should be bold, big, and NFL. That's why Marvin Lewis hung around all season even though none of us really knew what he did. He's just, "NFL guy No. 2." That's why Antonio Pierce is in charge of recruiting (along with his Southern California ties). Let's be honest, you don't hire Herm Edwards to out-smart or out-hustle anybody in the Pac-12. The guy worked at ESPN as an analyst for a decade before he got this job. That's a Charmin soft™ lifestyle. You hire Herm to be big, win the press conference, and provide a recognizable NFL face for recruits. That's why hiring Zak Hill over Hue Jackson never made sense to me. It's opposite of ASU's brand. So, ASU Football, don't run from who you are. You're enough, hunny. By the way, there's never been a better time to be big and bold, as USC fumbles their way into the new decade with the Freddie Kitchens of college football, Clay Helton.
ASU Basketball - Bobby Hurley, pay less attention to sports broadcasters and more attention to your team. ASU is 2-2 since Bobby Hurley called out Pac-12 TV broadcasters Barry Tompkins and Don MacLean, two well respected guys in the industry. Hurley said it's a broadcaster's job to paint his team in a positive light. I don't know what world he's living in, but he might want to come back to ours before his team plays No. 25 ranked Arizona on Saturday.