The Suns are in San Diego fleeing the triple digit heat and getting in their two-a-days for the next week. Here's the training camp schedule:
Wake up. Get to gym. Go back to hotel and eat lunch and nap. Get to gym. Go back to hotel and play video games and watch TV. Go to sleep.
And you thought your life was boring.
With all that wonderful gym time, the team will be looking to answer a few questions:
1) Is chemistry a random explosion or the result of a carefully planned and managed experiment?
The Suns credited their "great chemistry" for pretty much everything that went right last season. Rebound the ball well? Zone defense effective against the Lakers? Locker room harmony and ass-slapping humor? Chemistry. Chemistry. Chemistry.
Can the Suns find that same mix again this year or was last season something special that only comes along every so often. Players cited last year's training camp as the start of the great C and credited things like "hanging out" and "eating together" as catalysts.
Sounds easy, right? Just put the boys in a room together, throw in some food and lock the door. Bingo!
Not so fast. As Jason Richardson explained a few weeks ago, you can't force C.
"It's not going to be forced, when it's forced that's when things don't happen."
Everyone is betting on the "quality" of the new guys to fit in and find just the right, sweet blend.
2) Who will emerge from the Chucky Atkins, Matt Janning, Zabian Dowdell 5th guard spot death match?
If this were a real death match I would probably have to go with Chucky just based on experience. Matt's got the farm-boy toughness and Zabian's flame burns just a bit too low for me.
As for their competition for the 5th guard spot (if there even is one, which isn't a given) I would give the edge to Matt. The coaching staff has been impressed with his work ethic and ability to distribute the ball. He's got a funky two-handed follow through on his shot but he made a ton of them in work outs that I watched. Money.
Chucky, at 36 still looks like he can play a bit but his size makes him defensive liability and with the team having so many other options to handle the ball I just don't see it for him.
Zabian does a lot of things well. He's a solid guard who is precise and smart on the floor. His outside shot doesn't seem all that good but he's a good defender at the point guard position. I just don't think he does enough really good to beat out Janning, but we'll see.
3) What happens when you put Robin Lopez, Dwayne Jones and Garret Siler in the paint together?
I think it's safe to say that Robin Lopez has his roster spot secure. Not so much with the other two. Big man coach (and just a big man) Bill Cartwright wasn't all that impressed with Siler when we chatted yesterday. Sure, he's big but as Big Bill pointed out, you still have to be able to play basketball.
Jones on the other hand was complimentary of his competition saying how impressed he was with Siler's quick feet and how it was impossible to go through him when he sets a screen. He uses his size well, according to Dwayne.
It's not inconceivable that the Suns keep both Jone and Siler but I doubt it. My money is on the more skilled and better conditioned Dwayne Jones but if Siler works his ass off (literally like 15 pounds of it) then you never know.
This one's a toss up (although we still think Robin's job is secure).
4) 17 walk in, how many walk out?
Remember a few years ago when Amare's knee broke on the first day of training camp? Or when Boris poked Amare in the eye during training camp? Or when Robin broke his foot during training camp?
Well, Amare's gone so that's one less injury to worry about but there's still Robin and 16 other guys - about half of whom are really important to the team.
Injuries are part of the game and we should all be rubbing our local rabbit's feet and hoping for nothing serious to befall anyone. Or at least anyone important.
5) What will surprise us from camp this year?
It's always something. Perhaps it will be a Twitter-video shower scene from Jared Dudley who's battling with Darnell Dockett for the best Twitter athlete in Phoenix sports. Or maybe it will be revealed that Grant Hill and Steve Nash actually are pod people from Cocoon and J-Chill's hair is really fake.
What do you think will be the most surprising news to come out of Suns training camp this season?
Bonus question: What kind of world are we living in that this got banned from TV?