Earl Watson Fallout in Reality and Fantasy
A bad weekend in Phoenix and Fantasyland
And I thought my relationships ended briefly…
Break out the bubbly if you drafted Earl Watson in your Fantasy NBA coaching firing league. Phoenix sent him and his 38-85 career record out of the Valley of the Sun on Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after they suffered a 42-point drubbing at the hands of the Clippers. It would be funny to say at 0-3, it marked their worst deficit of the young season, but there was the 50-point whipping from the Trail Blazers on opening night that must have felt like getting flogged with a tire chain.
The end was probably well on its way on Sunday long before Suns guard Eric Bledsoe used Twitter as an SOS of sorts earlier in the day by simply stating “I don’t want to be here.” That sure as hell isn’t a sign of confidence in the coach, now is it?
Phoenix isn’t a Western Conference contender, but with the wealth of young talent, you’d expect they’d have more fight than a fat man at a pizza buffet pondering whether one more slice won’t make or break him. The Suns’ level of fighting couldn’t dislocate a fly’s shoulder, as they have set an NBA record with a combined -92 scoring margin in their first three games. Seriously, it can’t get much worse.
Bledsoe’s hope of avoiding Stockholm Syndrome was a clear indictment Watson had no control of this team. It feels like the team had an OZ-like environment, although not the one where Dorothy, Toto and the Tin Man wandered through. No, this feels more like the residence of Beecher, Schillinger, Adebisi and Keller, albeit with less violence, vulgarity and other things the boys of Oswald State Pen did to pass the time.
The Suns named Jay Tirano as the interim coach. The former Raptors head man will shake things up (or at least we hope he does) and bring some sanity back in place for a team averaging just 98 points per game while shooting just under 40 percent (.397 for the accurate crowd). Projected future cornerstones Dragan Bender (22 percent) and Marquese Chriss (31 percent) both have field goal percentages that are below freezing while no one in the starting lineup has a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) above the 13.8 of Bledsoe.
From a Fantasy Hoops perspective, this is a disaster, especially if you’re someone who went all-in on Booker or Chriss. Still, there’s no time to start moving your Suns players. I would suspect Tirano will first introduce his new charges to the word “defense” and build from there. It’s not an easy task for a team that has 12 players age 25 or under. My next hunch would be that Tirano will ease Chriss into the starting lineup at the expense of either rookie PF Josh Jackson or SF T.J. Warren. Chriss is supposed to be the future of this team, so it doesn’t hurt to get a glimpse of what that could look like.
Bledsoe and Booker remain the most valuable Fantasy players on the roster as both should see their numbers improve even if Tirano slows the pace down a bit. Chriss should stay on your bench until he proves he can show consistency, while Jackson and Warren should show flashes of brilliance.
Well, between this and Carson Palmer’s left arm, it’s safe to say Sunday wasn’t a banner day in the professional sports world in Phoenix. I’d say it gets better from here, but that would be a first degree lie punishable by watching a 24-hour loop of the Suns’ first three games or watching Bender and Chriss play a game of HORSE.
When confronted with that, honesty is a good thing, kids.
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