Have you ever seen one of those stores with a banner out front that boasts "Everything on Sale!"? Often everything isn't really on sale, and in some instances they just got done raising prices, but the point of the advertisement is to draw in potential
suckers consumers who might not otherwise be interested in purchasing their products. Who cares if it's junk, it's on sale!
That store is the Phoenix Suns team shop.
In recent years there was no need for a sale. Nash, Shaq, Stoudemire, Marion and Hill jerseys flew off the rack at a rather brisk rate. The cast of athletes that will don the purple and orange this season aren't quite as star studded as that ensemble. In fact, the only Sun currently on the roster with an all-star appearance is Jermaine O'Neal, with 6. I doubt JO is going to move the needle that much. Going back as recently as 2009-10, the trio of Nash, Hill and Stoudemire combined for 19.
I asked a person (trying to protect their anonymity) I know that I would describe as a casual fan how many current players on the Suns he could name. I got two names in response - Dragic and Frye. Not even Dudley registered. The same person was able to name all five of the recently departed players from the preceding paragraph plus Barbosa.
Who is the face of the franchise?
Secondary to that, who are the fans going to develop a familiar bond with this year? Familiarity may breed contempt, but it also puts butts in the seats and sells jerseys. Is there somebody amidst the rabble that is destined to become a household name? Whose jersey do you want on your back?
Jump to see me stump for the players who might gain notoriety this year.
Assets: The best moniker on the team (The Dragon), a visage that makes women swoon, high upside, playing the point for a point guard centric franchise, I think he had a good game against the Spurs once
Liabilities: People can’t even figure out how to pronounce his name (drahg-ich vs. drahj-ik) - do you know?, 26 years old and only 36 NBA starts – there’s still no proof in Goran’s pudding
This could be Goran’s for the taking. Like I mentioned, they could have a less toothsome face to deal with. It appears that Dragic’s development has been stunted by limited playing time based on his early career situation. Through four years Dragic boasts paltry averages of 8.0 points and 3.3 assists per game. Last season may have been his coming out party. Over his last 26 games with the Rockets, Goran averaged 18.2 points and 8.0 assists per game. If the Suns get that Dragic, he has a great chance at being the man. But will he be the Dragon or revert to a hatchling?
Pros: Athletic hands, mad Twitter skillz, prototypical underdog, impressive elocution with the media
Cons: A ninth floor vertical, lack of athleticism and (let’s face it) elite talent, can the face of the franchise be best suited as a sixth man?
I would like Jared Dudley to be this guy. I really would. He’s an affable guy. He’s charismatic. He’s likeable. He’s just not that good. Despite increasing his scoring averages each of the last four seasons, his scoring per 36 minutes has remained fairly unchanged. Despite the obvious effort on defense, Omaha’s analysis delineated his deficiencies at that end of the court. Jared Dudley is a great teammate. He’s a great player to have on your team. But if he’s the face of the franchise, you’re pretty screwed.
Credits: Most proven talent on the team (under 30), in his prime (28 years old), the leadership role on this team could be his should he clutch it in his hands
Debits: The beak, tissue paper soft in the lane, ESPN NOT top 10 finishing technique, doesn’t provide the imposing, space eating element that is preferable in a center
This should be a prime year for Gortat. He has shown an increase in production since he came to the Suns, but there is rampant speculation as to what degree that should be accredited to Steve Nash. If he can dispel the doubts being raised by his critics and maintain or improve upon the level of play he displayed last year, eventually people will have to take notice. Sprinkling in a couple more savage dunks would also help.
Merits: Greatest raw talent (potential) of anyone on the roster, former No. 2 overall pick, has the ability to make the electrifying moves that bring crowds to their feet, can take over games
Demerits: Insert compulsory marijuana joke here, has failed to live up to his talent, appears at times to be giving the effort of a somnambulist
This is another great candidate to be the man. Or fail epically. Beasley has the sexy skill set that fans will gravitate towards if he can ever put it all together. He can be that guy who can drop 15 in a quarter. He can average over 20 points a game. Or he can continue to let his personal demons stymie his potential and never reach the zenith he is capable of.
Assets: Genius level IQ, law degree, former player agent, has
Sarver interfering plenipotentiary control of this team
Liabilities: Talks like a cartoon character, entering final year of current contract, questionable track record
This entry is a little tongue in cheek, but depending upon how this works out, he stands a great chance to be the villain. Babby didn’t inherit a great situation. Some of that he may or may not have been culpable for, depending upon your leanings. Despite some obstacles along the way, this is pretty much his team now. If things go awry, he will be the fall guy. If things succeed enormously, one of the other four guys listed above will get the credit. What if the team is in the middle? Can a 35 win team stir enough excitement in the fanbase to garner an extension, or will a blanket of apathy cozily nestled over the team spell his doom?
So who's it gonna be Bright Siders? Who is most likely to make the ascension this season?