The Suns are easily the league's biggest surprise and currently stand at 32-21 and in the number six position in the Western Conference after their victory over Boston in Phoenix last night.
According to Baxter Holmes at the Boston Globe some of McDonough's success is due to the template he learned for rebuilding from Danny Ainge seven seasons ago:
Ryan McDonough sees similarities in the rebuilding Celtics of 2013-14 and the version that preceded it less than a decade ago.
Back then, McDonough, now a rookie general manager for the Phoenix Suns, was working his way up the professional ladder with the Celtics.
And back then, the Celtics were in rough shape, having won just 24 games in 2006-07 after winning 33 the season before.
But the Celtics had grand plans for a quick fix. They were stockpiling assets — namely draft picks — and positioning themselves financially so that they could afford superstars.
What happened next? The Celtics flipped those assets for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in 2007, won a championship in 2008, and became perennial contenders.
The current Suns incarnation also mirrors the Celtics in that they had to make a tough organazational decision and let one of the their beloved Hall of Famers go, Steve Nash, just like the C's did with Garnett and Pierce in order to rebuild.
Although, this transaction obviously happened before McDonough's tenure with the team.
One decision that McDonough did make is the hiring of Suns' Head Coach Jeff Hornacek who is the current favorite for NBA's Coach of the Year.
Besides hiring an excellent basketball mind (Brad Stevens) this off-season another similarity between the Celtics and Suns is that they are probably in the two best positions in the league when it comes to available future assets:
Indeed, the Celtics are hoarding assets — they have as many as 17 draft picks over the next five years, including up to 10 in the first round — and have made fiscally minded moves to set them up for the all-important summer of 2015.
At that point, Rajon Rondo will become a free agent, and the Celtics can sign him to a long-term contract while also having enough salary cap space to potentially add another elite player, whether through trade or free agency.
McDonough, who worked his way up from a scout to eventually an assistant GM in his decade with the Celtics, has helped set the Suns up in a similar fashion.
Phoenix has as many as six first-round draft picks over the next two seasons and will have enough money coming off its books this offseason to make a run at a max-contract player.
As Charles Barkley can attest to, Phoenix can be awfully alluring with its weather, night life, influx of gorgeous women (Suns Dancers) and doting Suns fans.
Most importantly, the Suns also have a great young nucleus led by star point guard Goran Dragic.
Although, the Suns can't be thrilled with their 2013 draft pick Alex Len (2.1 pts and 2.6 per) they got an excellent selection in 2011 when they drafted Markieff Morris out of Kansas with the number 13 pick.
Acquiring his brother Marcus in February of last year has also turned into a coup for the Suns franchise as their impact was felt by the Celtics last night.
Together they combined for 29 points, six rebounds and six assists against the C's.
Markieff led all Suns' scorers with 18 and Marcus hit a buzzer beating very deep three to close out the third.
This turned out to be a very big shot considering the Celts had the ball trailing by 3 late in the fourth quarter
The best part for the organization is both are under the rookie contracts through next season.
Yes it looks as though the future's are bright in both the Valley of the Sun and Boston and as McDonough attested to just maybe the Celts will see the Suns in the NBA Finals not too many years down the road.
McDonough continued, speaking of the Celtics, “But at the same time, there’s no team other than the Suns that I root more for and want to do well, and hopefully we’re playing each other in the Finals in a few years. That would be pretty fun.”
Follow Clint on Twitter @ClintCorey Clint Corey 2/20/2014 03:15:00 PM Tweet Edit