“I’m not sure it’s just the NBA,” Sarver said, when reached by The Republic via phone, regarding personality clashing and dysfunction within locker rooms. “My whole view of the millennial culture is that they have a tough time dealing with some eat backs, and Markieff Morris is the perfect example. He had a setback with his brother in the offseason, and he can’t seem to recover from it.”
No, Robert Sarver, it’s not the millennial culture, it’s the fact that players are holding their management accountable for their words just as management holds players accountable for theirs. Markieff didn’t have a “setback”, he was betrayed by his own organization that he trusted with a below-market deal with the implicit agreement that the Morris brothers would stay together. Here’s Markieff to the USA Today:
I don’t trust them anymore,” he said following Wednesday’s practice session. “It happens too many times. Two, three times.
“They give promises, OK. It’s hard. But at the same time, I wish them all the best. They were great to me the past five years. I’m always going to have a good memory about Phoenix fans and the city. I just hit that point of my career that it’s better for me and my family to move on.”
That was a lie, that was Goran Dragic.
Nobody is questioning the Suns approach to try to get LaMarcus Aldridge, if somebody like him becomes available you do what you can to try to get him to join your organization. To the Suns credit, LaMarcus Aldridge was impressed enough to seriously consider them – considering the Suns weren’t even a distant rumor for him, that’s an achievement. But, to discredit the human element entirely is a mistake that some GM’s are just to slow to react to. The right time to trade Markieff was right after it was clear that LaMarcus wasn’t coming, and if the Suns had considered Markieff as a person, they would’ve known that. How cool was Goran Dragic going to be with losing playmaking to Eric Bledsoe? Then after that, you bring in Isaiah Thomas, jeopardizing not only Goran Dragic but Eric Bledsoe. All of these moves that were made were good moves in a vacuum, but the post-move ramifications don’t occur in that same vacuum and should be dealt with accordingly.
Moving forward, the Suns shouldn’t panic – I don’t think Hornacek is the problem. What they need to do is trade Markieff, and do it now. I don’t blame Markieff for being upset, but at this point he is a complete distraction and should be away from the team. Secondly, don’t say dumb things about Millennials and have a “all hands on deck” type meeting to clear the air in the locker room and other layers of the organization and move forward. This team still has talent, they have drafted decently well, and have a good coach. While it will take time to regain the trust they had with free agents (like LMA), all they can do now is stabilize the organization and try to regain the trust of their players.
Here are this week’s rankings, where I decided to be a sarcastic dick to every team.
1. Warriors (35-2) [LW:2]
2. Spurs (32-6) [LW:1]
3. Cavaliers (26-9) [LW:3]
4. Thunder (26-12) [LW:4]
5. Clippers (25-13) [LW:5]
6. Raptors (24-15) [LW:6]
7. Bulls (22-13) [LW:9]
8. Heat (22-15) [LW:7]
9. Hawks (23-15) [LW:10]
10. Pacers (21-16) [LW:8]
11. Mavericks (22-16) [LW:12]
12. Pistons (21-16) [LW:11]
13. Grizzlies (21-18) [LW:15]
14. Celtics (19-18) [LW:13]
15. Knicks (19-20) [LW:20]
16. Magic (20-18) [LW:14]
17. Rockets (19-19) [LW:21]
18. Wizards (16-19) [LW:17]
19. Hornets (17-20) [LW:16]
20. Bucks (15-24) [LW:18]
21. Timberwolves (12-26) [LW:19]
22. Jazz (17-20) [LW:22]
23. Kings (15-22) [LW:23]
24. Trailblazers (16-24) [LW:25]
25. Pelicans (11-25) [LW:24]
26. Nuggets (14-24) [LW:26]
27. Lakers (8-31) [LW:27]
28. Suns (13-26) [LW:29]
29. Nets (10-27) [LW:28]
30. 76ers (4-36) [LW:30]
1. Warriors (35-2) [LW:2]: Congratulations, you’re playing Steph Curry on a bad shin more minutes per game than you played him last year a year after winning the title to chase 72 wins.
2. Spurs (32-6) [LW:1]: Congratulations, you’ve built an all time great team with the best differential for a single month in NBA History (December) just to lose to the Warriors.
3. Cavaliers (26-9) [LW:3]: Congratulations, you’re locked into mega-max Lebron (declining), max Kevin Love (declining), and max injury-prone Kyrie Irving. Things can only get better right?
4. Thunder (26-12) [LW:4]: Congratulations, you finally hired your head coach and in place of Scott Brooks you just hired another coach that has the same “sit KD-Russ-Ibaka at the same time” disease and the crunch time offense is still “KD’s turn, Russ’ turn”
5. Clippers (25-13) [LW:5]: Congratulations, you’ve had your best stretch this season during a time that Blake Griffin’s been out – I’m sure that won’t be awkward. At least the Clippers are a notoriously stable team and they can handle weird chemistry issues with ease.
6. Raptors (24-15) [LW:6]: Congratulations, you’re about to parlay this season’s success with a disastrous DeMar DeRozan max contract.
7. Bulls (22-13) [LW:9]: Congratulations, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler have decided to be professional and play together only 35 games into the season. You still have no idea who your best 5 players are.
8. Heat (22-15) [LW:7]: Congratulations, you’ve used a ridiculously road heavy schedule (23 home, 14 away) to the 5 seed and only looking down.
9. Hawks (23-15) [LW:10]: Congratulations, you got smacked by the NY Knicks in back to back games and they’re still enjoying you sending the rights to Jerian Grant for the whopping 3.3 points a game for Tim Hardaway Jr.
10. Pacers (21-16) [LW:8]: Congratulations, you’ve taken a historically good Paul George career season and surrounded him with just enough talent to be stuck in the dreaded 5-8 range in the East for the foreseeable future.
11. Mavericks (22-16) [LW:12]: Congratulations, you’ve impressed us all with your ability to rebound from DeAndre-gate and the signing of Wes Mathews looks promising – your best asset is still your head coach.
12. Pistons (21-16) [LW:11]: Congratulations you’ve built your franchise around somebody who’s averaging 36% from the free throw line, which if it was 3 point % would rank 60th in the league amongst qualified players. (Holy crap)
13. Grizzlies (21-18) [LW:15]: Congratulations, you’ve turned Grit and Grind around and they’re back in form. Their form? 6 seed for eternity.
14. Celtics (19-18) [LW:13]: Congratulations, you’re now out of the playoffs, are 1-5 in your last 6, and your best asset remains your head coach (see: Dallas).
15. Knicks (19-20) [LW:20]: Congratulations, you’re playing more entertaining basketball. At the same time, every starter after Porzingis will be declining year over year as they’re out of their prime.
16. Magic (20-18) [LW:14]: Congratulations, the recent success that Victor Oladipo with Elfrid Payton out means you’ll be having to sell Dipo for 75 cents on the dollar now that it’s clear they can’t play together.
17. Rockets (19-19) [LW:21]: Congratulations on taking a Finals contender with the great Dwight Howard and “I should’ve been MVP” James Harden to a .500 record through almost half the season.
18. Wizards (16-19) [LW:17]: Congratulations on fulfilling your duties as a Washington sports franchise for being completely disappointing and making anybody who believes in you feel like an idiot for falling for it again.
19. Hornets (17-20) [LW:16]: Congratulations, you’ve lost 7 games in a row by an average margin of 10 points.
20. Bucks (15-24) [LW:18]: Congratulations on being the feel good story last year to being one of the hardest teams to watch with an awkward Jason Kidd “coming for the GM spot” controversy coming.
21. Timberwolves (12-26) [LW:19]: Congratulations on having the 3rd worst attendance in the league (by %) despite having one of the most exciting cores in the league.
22. Jazz (17-20) [LW:22]: Congratulations on being in year 4 of your rebuild and having locked down a good Small Forward (Hayward) and an injury prone Center that may not have a place in the future NBA.
23. Kings (15-22) [LW:23]: Congratulations on still being 2 games out of the playoffs in a year that the Western Conference is abnormally weak while also having a top 10 player in the league on your team.
24. Trailblazers (16-24) [LW:25]: Congratulations on being just good enough to ruin your chances at a high lottery pick but also bad enough to be nowhere near the playoffs. Also, how’s that Vonleh-Batum swap looking?
25. Pelicans (11-25) [LW:24]: Congratulations on having one of the most interesting and electric superstars in the league while also being one of the worst teams to watch.
26. Nuggets (14-24) [LW:26]: Congratulations on Emmanuel “The Lakers Should’ve Drafted Him” Mudiay on having a PER of 6.74.
27. Lakers (8-31) [LW:27]: Congratulations on having a head coach that fails to see that playing the young kids that are the future of the franchise at the same time instead of staggered with me-first veterans who are trying to juice their numbers might actually be beneficial to the team moving forward.
28. Suns (13-26) [LW:29]: Congratulations on creating such a clusterf*** situation and somehow blaming the players for the extreme distrust in the organization.
29. Nets (10-27) [LW:28]: Congratulations on firing both your GM (the problem) and head coach (not the problem) in the middle of the season with no back up plan for the worst open jobs in recent memory. Also, congratulations on including Billy King on the new GM search, what could go wrong.
30. 76ers (4-36) [LW:30]: Congratulations on making Sam Hinkie sweat more than ever on these closer-than-ever-to-winning-the-game-but-we-need-to-lose games and it brings me much delight.