Most GM’s are trying to build a championship contender. James Jones is just building a team that won’t embarrass itself.
And he has succeeded. After adding Ricky Rubio on a 3 year, $51 million dollar contract the Suns are undeniably an improved team at their biggest area of need over the last two years.
In the last two years, the Suns have played the following at PG: Tyler Ulis, Elfrid Payton, Mike James, Isaiah Canaan, Shaq Harrison, Josh Gray, D’Anthony Melton, Elie Okobo, Troy Daniels, Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker.
Thats a list almost as long as Larry Fitzgerald’s list of quarterbacks he’s caught a pass from. At least that list is over a 15 year period. A reminder from a sentence one line above: THOSE ARE ALL THE SUNS POINT GUARDS FROM THE LAST TWO (2!!!!) YEARS.
So Rubio makes them better. He’s not a good shooter or offensive player but he’s a skilled passer and a professional through and through.
He’ll actually be able to make an entry pass to Deandre Ayton. He’ll be able to find players in transition for easy buckets. He’ll have the best hair on the team. He’ll also leave you wanting more from the position. He’s like the Alex Smith of point guards. You know you could do a lot worse but you also know you could always do better. You settle for Ricky Rubio.
For the Suns, he’s fine. The problem isn’t Rubio. Its the rest of the NBA.
Teams are taking BIG swings. And not just traditional powers. Utah went bold. Indiana is going bold. Milwaukee is going all out. Toronto was just rewarded for their boldness. Atlanta is taking big cuts. Denver has swung for the fences the last two drafts. Sacramento is taking chances.
The Suns are minimizing their risks. They traded down in the NBA Draft, unheard for a team with a dire need for talent. Then they took a pair of college seniors. In free agency, they didn’t pull out all the stops for D’Angelo Russell, they played it safe and landed Ricky Rubio.
James Jones is adding players that play a lot like James Jones.
They will be professional. They will give effort. They will be coachable. But they won’t be stars.
James Jones is hitting singles. He's playing like Ichiro in 2019 Major League Baseball where everyone is swinging for the fences.
The Suns improved but they'll still be pegged as the 13th best team in the Western Conference, assuming Memphis and Minnesota fall behind.
And they still don’t know just how good Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton can be, though today’s move should get everyone closer to knowing, which is a positive.
James Jones made sure the Phoenix Suns got better today.
But, they won’t be good enough to matter because that would’ve required some bold action.