Robert Sarver will likely need a head basketball coach at the end of this season. Sean Miller may be ready for a new challenge in his coaching career. The Suns are in prime position to select Arizona center DeAndre Ayton with the top pick on the upcoming draft. Not so sure our heroes of the hardwood can figure out how to connect the dots, so let me give it a crack.
Miller is once again expected to get his team deep into the NCAA Tournament, but history says he won’t. The numbers don’t lie when it comes to Final Four appearances for the Wildcats under Miller. A program that rightly begins every home game with a video display of the terrific players that have rolled through Tucson and into the NBA. Problem is, Miller has 0 Final Four games on his head coaching resume in 9 years at the 520 area code.
This brings us to the Suns. Interim head coach Jay Triano spoke earlier in the week about his desire to be the permanent head coach. He told AZCentralSports “I love this team, I love the players here.” Facts are the team hasn’t responded to Triano on a consistent basis. Some nights they look DOA from the opening tip. Perhaps it’s the youth and lack of maturity on the roster that he’s been presented from the GM. Maybe it has to do with players like Josh Jackson, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, being passed over to play in the Team World vs Team USA game on All-Star weekend (how does that happen?) Jackson has only recently started to show he MIGHT be worthy of such a high selection.
Sean Miller has done the college game to the tune of winning 77% of the contests he’s coached. He’s in a competitive conference chasing an elusive Final Four appearance. Has he had his fill of the college game? Was last September’s FBI investigation, that led to one of his assistant coaches getting arrested and fired, enough to give Miller a thoughts of change? Are NCAA sanctions coming down the tracks in Tucson? What about new Arizona AD Dave Heeke? He’s been on the ground for less than a fall calendar year. Does he like the direction of the basketball program under Millers leadership on and off the court?
I’ve sat here over the last couple of months looking at another rag-tag season for the Suns. Triano has been on the short end of some of the worst losses in the 50 year history of the organization. Using the term “apathy” around the Suns would be a compliment. Most on the payroll at 201 E. Jefferson St. would like you to believe that this ship is about to turn the corner. They may be right, as long as the team keeps losing games over the next 7 weeks. A Miller/Ayton combination could prove to be the perfect tonic to all of the dry years of bad basketball.
Sure, Sarver is still the owner so who knows what could pop up being door number four under his reign. The eight year anniversary of hosting a playoff game, May 27th 2010, will come and go later this spring with the streak still strongly in tact. Losing today gives the Suns the best chance of adding a once in a generation player like Ayton, along with the talent of Devin Booker, would give the Suns two superstar players. You need three in the NBA to go after titles. They have enough assets on the roster and in the draft room to make something big happen. Can they connect the dots? Do they have the right coach in place to do it, or would Sean Miller make sense?
Look no further than Billy Donovan(OKC) and Brad Stevens(Boston) to see college coaches being given talented rosters from upstairs. No silly mention of timelines here. I believe Sean Miller is a very good coach, who just can’t get it over the hump on the college level. The timing for Miller and the Suns could be just right to join up in the next couple of months…