Around the NBA: Giving thanks for the Phoenix Suns, the NBA and all basketball

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

Join me in giving thanks for this great game and the team that brings us together.

With refrigerators everywhere full of leftover turkey, I thought it was a good time to stop, reflect and give thanks for the greatest game in the world: basketball.

I truly am thankful for this game, and the NBA is the highest level of basketball there is. The NBA has given me and many others countless hours of entertainment and enjoyment. Some of my fondest memories have come in an NBA arena or in front of my television.

We've already had some amazing moments early on in the season. The best players in the game have put up some huge performances already.

LeBron James, as if he wasn't already good enough, is putting up 26-7-6 on 60 percent shooting. That is insane. James is doing it better than anyone else in the game. We should all be grateful for having the opportunity to watch an all-time great in his prime.

Kevin Durant isn't far behind James. With the handles and shooting of a guard and the length of a 7-footer, Durant is unguardable and as entertaining a player as there is in the league.

Chris Paul has put up a double-double in 14 of his 16 appearances on the court this season, including a 42-15 line against the Golden State Warriors.

There are plenty of others playing at a high level as well. Stephen Curry, Kevin love, Andre Iguodala and Kyle Korver (#KyleStreak) are just a few of my favorites. I'm sure all of you have favorite players across the league as well. Regardless of who it is, take some time to give thanks for getting to see these guys do their thing.

The East may be a mess right now, but at least two teams in the Pacers and Heat are playing at a high level. The West is competitive from top to (almost) bottom (not you, Utah), and it should remain that way throughout the season. There are going to be some fierce battles as the season goes on, and that is something else to be thankful for.

There is plenty to be thankful for with our team as well. Coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the Suns have pulled almost a 1-80. I'm most thankful for the architects of that turnaround: Ryan McDonough and Jeff Hornacek. McDonough is a wizard on the trade market, turning almost every veteran on the team into a valuable asset and yet still improving the team. Hornacek has his team playing like, you know, a team. The defense is much more cohesive and effective and several players are having career years. Even P.J. Tucker has become a legitimate 3-point shooting threat.

I'm thankful for Eric Bledsoe, who is averaging 20, 7 and 5 in his first nine games as a starter. He has surpassed almost every expectation so far. Now he just needs to get healthy.

I'm thankful for the return of Channing Frye. After an entire year out of the game, it is incredible to see him back out there and playing as well as he ever has.

I'm thankful for Tucker, Gerald Green, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are shooting 37 percent or better from 3-point range and for all of them having career years.

I'm thankful that Miles Plumlee has emerged as a legitimate rotation player.

But most of all on this roster, I'm thankful for Goran Dragic. Dragic's NBA career has had many ups and downs, from the ugly start to the 23 point quarter against San Antonio to being traded to Houston and now to being the Suns' best player. I the eight games that he has both started and finished (i.e. excluding the ones he left early with injuries) Dragic has averaged 21 points, nine assists and almost four rebounds per game. He's been terrific, especially considering for much of the season he's been the only legitimate threat to create offense on the team with Bledsoe's shin injury. Dragic continues to put up big numbers and is one of the biggest reasons the Suns are over .500 on the season.

Finally, I'm thankful for this blog. I owe so much to Bright Side of the Sun, and to all of you. When I found this blog in the summer of 2010, I was a high school kid who loved sports but had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. It wasn't until discovering this blog and the FanPost section that I realized I wanted to write about sports, and the reaction I got from those early posts gave me confidence that I could do it and encouraged me to go for it. Now, three-and-a-half years late, I'm a staff writer, a journalism major and am about to take over as the sports editor for the school paper. I've learned so much about the game of basketball from this site and have become a much better writer because of it. I've spent so many hours on this blog discussing the Phoenix Suns with all of you, and have enjoyed every minute of it.

So to you, Bright Siders, I just want to say thank you.

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