We probably would have felt better about Ryan McDonough’s introduction as the Suns’ general manager Thursday if Lon Babby, the club’s president of basketball operations who hired him, had not rolled out his “Five Ps” and had just said, “You know what? I’m going to get out of the way here and let the new guy do his thing.” OK, so we can’t be too hard on Babby for working in his “Preparation. Perseverence. Poise. Pride. Performance.” schtick, although we wish he’d add a sixth P next season — Points. But in all seriousness, Babby hired the 33-year-old McDonough, who worked his way up through the Boston Celtics organization immersed in championship culture because McDonough has a couple of other Ps — a philosophy and a plan. Now it’s time to get out of the way and let him do his job. McDonough said that he discussed coaching candidates with owner Robert Sarver and Babby during the interview process and that they were “in alignment on a lot of the names — most of the names.” Several have surfaced in reports, including one account that said there are only four. A Suns insider with direct knowledge of the process assured us there are several more than that. Let’s hope so. At any rate, what’s most important is that McDonough be “in alignment” with his coach. He said he’ll spearhead the selection process, and that’s good. What the Suns need to make clear is that McDonough will make that final decision and hire his guy. And then the new coach should have considerable input on the club’s roster going forward, including in the upcoming draft, when the Suns have two first-round draft picks. Contrary to what some at US Airways Center have suggested, that wasn’t the case under former General Manager Lance Blanks for coach Alvin Gentry, who was fired during the season and replaced by Lindsey Hunter. Look, Babby, while he may not be a favorite of Suns fans, wants badly for the Suns to succeed. And the best way for that to happen over the long haul is for him to trust his basketball man and stay out of his way. Help McDonough manage the cap. Aid him in constructing and negotiating trades. Consult with him on what the team can afford to spend to attract free agents. Those are all things at which a former agent can excel. But Babby has to be secure enough in his decision to hire a 33-year-old who never has run his own basketball operation that he can step back and let him run this one. When he announced that Blanks would be replaced, Babby said his new general manager will have the “loudest voice in the room” when it comes to basketball decisions. And there’s nothing wrong with having a lot of voices in there. It’s healthy. But in the end, McDonough’s voice shouldn’t just be the loudest. It should be the last one that’s heard.
Here’s hoping Lon Babby gives new Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough room to work
Arizona Republic | May 11