How can the Phoenix Suns bounce back from worst season in 40-plus years?

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phoenix suns

After finishing with the worst record in the NBA Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns find themselves in need of a makeover.  They have already made some changes this off-season by bringing in a new general manager, Ryan McDonough and naming former fan favorite Jeff Hornacek as their next head coach.  Here is a look at the Phoenix Suns off-season team needs.

Phoenix Suns (25-57 last year)

2012-13 Season Summary:
Not since their inaugural season in the NBA back in 1968-69 when they won just 16 games have the Phoenix Suns finished with a worse record.  It really shouldn’t come as much as a surprise though since Goran Dragic was their best player and their roster was made up of a bunch of role players.

The team tried to transition out of their Steve Nash era and remain competitive in the west, but the exact opposite occurred.  They switched coaches midway through the season but the change yielded the same results.  Phoenix lacked any real identity on the court and failed to find a true cohesiveness among any starting five.

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Marcin Gortat/Hamed Haddadi
PF: Luis Scola/Markieff Morris/Marcus Morris/Channing Frye
SF: Michael Beasley/P.J. Tucker
SG: Jared Dudley/Shannon Brown
PG: Goran Dragic/Kendall Marshall

NBA Free Agents:
G/F-Wesley Johnson (UFA)
C-Jermaine O’Neal (UFA)
PG-Diante Garrett (UFA)
C-Hamed Haddadi (TO)
SF-P.J. Tucker (TO)
PG-Diante Garrett (QO)

2012-13 Team Salary: approximately $53.3 million

Team Needs:
1. Go-to Player: The Phoenix Suns had quality depth with nine guys averaging at least eight points per game but lacked any real go-to option or true face of the franchise.  The Suns don’t have the cap flexibility to find anyone in free agency to fill this role and it’s unlikely they will be able to find someone with the fifth overall pick in the NBA Draft.  The only hope to fill this role will be by packaging some of their players for a more marquee talent or waiting until next summer when they should have more cap space.

2. Wing Scorers: Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, and Shannon Brown are all quality NBA players and decent offensive players but nobody really strikes fear into opposing defenses.  Wesley Johnson showed flashes at times later in the season but he is a free agent and either way, Phoenix needs to find an upgrade on the wing.  The Suns also finished with the third worst three-point percentage in the league so finding a capable shooter would be helpful as well.

3. Defense: In recent years, the Suns have been known more for their high potent offense than stifling defense and that was once again this case this past season.  Guys like Gortat and Scola provide somewhat of a defensive presence inside but the wing defense was rather poor as they gave up the highest opponent three-point percentage.  Drafting someone like Victor Oladipo at number five would certainly make Phoenix a much better defensive club.

OTHER NBA TEAM NEEDS PAGES:
Charlotte Bobcats
Cleveland Cavs
Orlando Magic

CLICK HERE FOR THE SPORTS BANK’S 2013 NBA MOCK DRAFT

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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