Oh yes, the boys are all back in town now. Or least have been back in town at some point - Jared Dudley and Steve Nash weren't around today.
But it was GREAT to see Jason Richardson back on the court and boy did he look sharp. In the playoffs last year he stepped up his game performance-wise but more importantly he just seemed to take on a bit more of a leadership role and was less the new-guy on the team and more the confident stud he had been earlier in his career.
What I saw today seemed like the summer break never happened in that regard.
Jason's entering his second full season with the Suns and with plenty of new guys behind him in the tenure line he and Grant and Jared and perhaps even Goran are looking like the emotional core of the team. Oh and that Nash guy too. He's OK.
I was a tad concerned that Jason would be upset about his expiring contract situation and not happy that team brought in Childress on a long-term deal. No signs of that at all - he looked great and happy to be here.
Now that Amare is gone (and missed), there's a void that Jason can step into on the offensive end. Here's the full write up of the interview with him today but the key quote to me was this:
Jason Richardson Back In Phoenix Relishing The Underdog Role - SB Nation Arizona
Jason said he doesn't see any more pressure on himself to score with Amare gone, but he does hope to be more of an option for the team on the offensive end.
"I'm ready for that. Most of my career, I was always a one or two option. It wouldn't be nothing new if I could go back to that role having the ball in my hands, getting the ball to score baskets and being one of the main guys to score baskets for us," he said.
Check out the entire thing though since there's more in there about his contract and his shoes that have an embroidered picture of him missing a dunk.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see Hedo on the court today but he was there and in workout clothes watching. Maybe tomorrow, I really want to see him up-close. I think he's the kind of player you have to watch carefully to full appreciate. And the more I think about it, the more I think that how he fits in to this team (on and off the court) will dictate how far the Suns go. That and Robin. It always comes back to Robin.
Robin was in a pretty good mood today in fact. Sure, he got mad after missing a shot or when his team lost but he was clearly happy to have his pal Goran around. They were buddied up quite a bit.
Goran is the Robin Whisperer.
Robin had a good stretch there early when he hit several open mid-range shots, was great on the glass, scored in the post and even lead a fast break resulting in a sweet pass to a streaking Earl Clark. Let me tell you, Robin pushing the ball up the floor doesn't look nearly as strange as you might think and his hunched over posture comes in handy when he's speed dribbling in the open court.
Garret Siler looked a bit better. Still big. Still slow. But rebounded, set huge screens, blocked some shots, scored easily against smaller defenders. Pretty much what you expect.
Everyone else seemed good and with media day on Monday and training camp next week the intensity seemed just a bit more amped up. You aren't the only ones getting excited for the season.
In other BIG NBA news, Jarron Collins signed with the Clippers and Brian Scalabrine is going with the Bulls. And who said all the big free agent moves were over once LeBron Decided?