The Phoenix Suns have had a disastrous start to the new season.
In their opener, they were embarrassed by the Portland Trail Blazers in historic fashion on their home court, falling by the lopsided score of 124-76. It was the largest loss in the history of the franchise and the largest opening-day loss in NBA history.
Talk about getting off on the wrong foot.
In their second contest, they nearly took down the Los Angeles Lakers, but ultimately fell to Lonzo Ball and company by the score of 132-130, again in front of their home crowd.
While they still lost, it was a vast improvement by the young roster, who showed resilience after their humiliating first game.
However, Phoenix was trounced once again in their third game as the Los Angeles Clippers easily took care of them at Staples Center. The result of that contest was a 42-point loss by the score of 130-88.
Giving up 124, 132 and 130 points in three consecutive games was not a good look.
While the issue might very well be the team’s young and inexperienced roster, Suns brass apparently thought that a coaching change already had to be made. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that on Sunday, they fired head coach Earl Watson.
Watson replaced former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek midway through the 2015-2016 season in an interim basis and was then promoted as full-time head coach for the start of last season. The Suns went 24-58 last year and Watson went just 33-85 overall during his tenure.
If the firing seemed especially odd to you in terms of timing, it’s because it was historic in nature.
Associate head coach Jay Triano is expected to become the interim head coach.
As with any firing this early into a season, there appear to have been some behind-the-scenes drama between the coach and the front office. This was no exception, as Woj reported that general manager Ryan McDonough and Watson constantly disagreed during their short time together and team owner Robert Sarver was a major part of the decision to replace the coach so early.
Although Watson was a 13-year NBA veteran as a player, it appears as though he wasn’t able to make a positive impact in the coaching ranks. Earlier on Sunday, just prior to the news of Watson’s dismissal, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted a shocking admission:
Although the Suns are clearly in rebuilding mode with a number of young players on their roster, Watson failed to live up to the expectations of the team’s decision-makers.
While the team will likely continue to struggle for the entire season, the franchise is hoping that a coaching change will inspire more consistent, productive play, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
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