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Interim Phoenix Suns GM Has High Expectations For New Season

By Phil Latzman
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 5:00am

Deandre Ayton live feed
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Deandre Ayton of the University of Arizona appeared via live video feed to Suns fans gathered at Talking Stick Resort Arena on June 21, 2018.

Basketball season is back as the Phoenix Suns begin a new era Wednesday night hosting the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns hope to end an eight-year playoff drought with fresh faces both on and off the court.

The team’s interim GM is keeping expectations high. James Jones took the reins of the Suns basketball operations after the team fired Ryan McDonough last week.

He oversees a talented young roster featuring four rookies. That includes 20-year-old DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. The 7-foot-1 center from the University of Arizona is already drawing raves.

DeAndre has been performing extremely well -- I would argue and say he’s probably been the best player in the pre-season, specifically for us, but league-wide, I’m excited for the season, we’re excited for the season," said Jones.

Ayton joins a lineup that includes a budding superstar in guard Devin Booker, who is recovering from a shooting hand injury — but may be ready for opening night.

Jones’s biggest challenge to keeping the GM job may be getting along with the Suns’ hands-on owner, Robert Sarver.

“Let’s be honest, Robert is extremely passionate. He’s passionate about the Suns. He’s a Phoenician. He loves this team, he loves this city, he loves these fans. It matters to him," said Jones.

The Suns’ last playoff appearance was in 2010, marking the longest current postseason drought in the NBA.