PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns probably won’t have much to celebrate in terms of wins and losses in the franchise’s 50th year.
The Suns’ plan for eventual success is called “the timeline,” referring to the rate of growth and maturation of young talent to the point the team will contend again. With a roster dotted with players not yet old enough to buy a beer, that point seems a few years away.
The Suns do have a burgeoning star in Devin Booker, a steady point guard in Eric Bledsoe and an intriguing rookie in Josh Jackson.
It will be the job of Earl Watson, entering his second full season as coach, to keep nurturing the young talent toward eventual success.
“They’re young. It’s a blank canvas,” Watson said. “We understand their skill is so high, experience is much-needed.”
Booker is entering his third season but he’s still just 20 years old. Marquese Chriss and Jackson also are 20. Dragan Bender is 19.
The Suns went 24-58 last season, second-worst in the league. They probably would have won a few more had they not decided to sit Bledsoe the final 15 games of the season.
The public reason was to give young players more opportunity. The real reason was to improve the team’s chances in the draft lottery. It didn’t work. Phoenix wound up with the No. 5 pick.
But they love the guy they got, the versatile and multi-talented Jackson.
The Suns haven’t made the playoffs in six years, the longest drought in franchise history. A seventh straight year out of the postseason is likely.
Here are some things to consider about the Suns this season:
BOOKER’S GROWTH: Booker averaged 22 points per game last season and in Boston became the sixth player in the NBA to score 70 in a game.
This summer, Kevin Durant praised Booker’s toughness and talent.
“He’s next — I’m telling you,” Durant said.
Booker, already complimented by the likes of LeBron James, appreciated the compliment.
“I know I’m on the right path.” Booker said….