The calm before the storm is here. The almost Top 10 and a reveal of who and what will be the most important factors to the Phoenix Suns here in the 2014-2015 NBA season. Getting antsy?
We knocked out 25-16 on here for #SUNSRANK for the 2014-2015season with some big names and other faces that will have a say in how the season goes overall. Go back and check out the lists from this week if you missed them, but lets continue to march forward.
In these rankings some great names were left out of the Top 25 like, , , , , , the Cheerleaders, and the Hip-Hop Squad. They will not be forgotten.
#SUNSRANK is a compilation of 14 writers here on Bright Side that ranked the most important names and faces of the franchise for this one year. This is not a "future rankings" or some Fox News one-sided account of things. Everyone had their own opinion and the rankings are as the staff deemed fit. There were some wild rankings, but we are not going to leak like a sieve a la the NSA in here. We have some integrity.
Check back daily as well as on Twitter for #SUNSRANK where five more names will be released leading all the way down to No. 1. What do you think about these five listed so far?
No. 15: T.J. Warren (14.857)
Profile: 6'8" 215 lbs. Small Forward -- Rookie N.C. State
Stats (College): In 35.3 MPG 24.9 PPG 7.1 RPG 1.8 SPG 54.5% FG 26.7% 3PT
Interesting Fact: Warren was the first player in 23 years (Kenny Anderson) to score 40+ points in back-to-back games in N.C. State history.
Analysis: The three biggest needs for the Suns this off-season (in my opinion) were 1) Addressing the back-up point guard spot 2) Wing scoring and play-making and 3) Interior depth... Warren fills in nicely for the second need there as one of the more prolific amateur scorers in the 2014 NBA Draft. Now, he may not get a chance to shine bright in NBA games very often this season with Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris, Archie Goodwin, and the plethora of point guards in front of him, but he is in a great spot. Having someone that moves without the ball like Warren does scoring inside the three-point line with his craft, intelligence, and use of angles is valuable with a ball-dominant point guard trio. When he gets on the court in traditional line-ups he will be a nice weapon for Coach Hornacek and company. This was a nice building block piece rather than an immediate impact one like some other draft picks could have been. Great fit and when he gets some time you will see why. -- Kris Habbas
Important Question: Over/Under on percentage of time spent in the D-League -- 50.5%
No. 14: Archie Goodwin (14.769)
Profile: 6'5" 198 lbs. Guard -- Second Year Kentucky
Stats (Last Year): In 10.3 MPG 3.7 PPG 1.7 RPG 45.5% FG 13.9% 3PT
Interesting Fact: Goodwin was John Calipari's 12th first round pick in four years with the Kentucky Wildcats. That's a lot.
Analysis: It might surprise some to see Archie Goodwin ranked so high on this list. But some lack imagination, vision, scouting ability, and faith. When I first saw Archie play I knew he was going to be a special player. His place in the Ring of Honor is only a matter of time. The debates comparing Archie vs. Kobe will come. It's OK if you don't see it now. You also probably called Goran "Tragic". You probably don't even have the patience to let your leftover pizza fully warm in the microwave before you take it out and chow down.
Don't eat cold pizza. Don't be in such a hurry to fill your belly. Sit back and enjoy watching the early years of this future star and you can tell your grandchildren that you might not have been first on the bandwagon but you weren't last. You're welcome. -- Seth Pollack
Important Question: Can Archie crack the rotation?
No. 13: Anthony Tolliver (14.571)
Profile: 6'8" 240 lbs. Center -- Seventh Year Creighton
Stats (Last Year): In 20.3 MPG 6.1 PPG 2.6 RPG 42.0% FG 41.3% 3PT
Interesting Fact: He played for a team called "Eisbaren Bremerhaven" in Germany before joining the NBA. That translates to "Polar Bears Bremerhaven."
Analysis: You know, that Frye guy? Yeah, I still think his spacing and shooting were (to my mind) invaluable to the way the Suns offense functioned last season and it will not be so easy to replace. Morris will probably start as a stretch four but he will need some help off the bench, and Tolliver has shown he can hit the three on an open look. So yeah, He will not be instrumental in winning games (well, too early to say at this point) but if he hits a couple of wide open threes, he will definitely add to the spacing (even if it is the second unit) so his contribution will be important. -- Matija
Important Question: Not can Tolliver replace the shooting Frye took with him to Orlando, but, can he make-up the loss of Markieff off the bench?
No. 12: Marcus Morris (13.071)
Profile: 6'9" 235 lbs. Forward -- Fourth Year Kansas
Stats (Last Year): In 22.0 MPG 9.7 PPG 3.9 RPG 1.1 APG 44.2% FG 38.1% 3PT
Interesting Fact: The Morrii were the second pair of brothers selected back-to-back, and, in the exact same slots (13, 14) as Dick and Tom Van Arsdale.
Analysis: Marcus Morris needs to earn his contract this season. He's making almost the exact same amount of money as the guy in front of him (P.J. Tucker), but no one is clamoring for Morris to take Tucker's place in the starting starting line-up. When Mook is on, he earns his nickname as "Melo" Morris hitting a dazzling array of mid-range jumpers as well as knocking down 3-pointers at an excellent clip. When he's off, however, he does nothing on the court to make up for his offensive inefficiency. His rebounding is mediocre and his defense is sub-par. He's got a chance to be an integral part of one of the best second units in the NBA along with Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green, Anthony Tolliver and Alex Len. But without taking a similar step forward in his game to the one Markieff Morris took last season, Mook could end up being a weak link on a strong bench. - Mike Lisboa
Important Question: What else will Marcus contribute outside of three-point shooting?
No. 11: P.J. Tucker (11.071)
Profile: 6'5" 225 lbs. Small Forward -- Fourth Year Texas
Stats (Last Year): In 30.7 MPG 9.4 PPG 6.5 RPG 1.4 SPG 43.1% FG 38.7% 3PT
Interesting Fact: Tucker and his teammate (Marcus Morris) were both Big 12 Player of The Year in college. Two years ago they had three B12 POY's on the roster including Michael Beasley.
Analysis: P.J. Tucker is another very unique player on the Suns. Phoenix has a lot of athletes, great shooters, slashers, and passers...but they only have one lock down defender that can guard anyone from the two to the four. Tucker is that guy. P.J. would earn his money simply by being that lock down defender and an energy/hustle guy that rips rebounds away from taller players, while also out-hustling/out-muscling just about any other player in the NBA. However, the fact that he has added an effective and consistent corner three-point shot to his offensive game is a huge bonus that gives the Suns another weapon on the floor. Tucker also brings a kind of toughness and attitude to the Suns that seems to rub off on the rest of the team when he's on the court. Tucker is a one-of-a-kind player whose impact simply can't be replicated by anyone else on the roster. -- Sean Sullivan
Important Question: Will Tucker's shooting and rebounding be consistent enough to play him at the four big minutes?
Come back tomorrow for 10-6 in the #SUNSRANK series and follow along on Twitter!
Each ranking will also include one write-in ballot from the writers. We have five tremendous write-in's starting with Jim's:
Write In: The Los Angeles Lakers
I'm going to go Goldilocks and the Three Bears here. The Suns don't want the porridge (the Lakers draft pick) to be too hot (11-14), or too cold (1-5), but just right (6-10). Of course in this scenario the Suns won't actually be the ones doing the tasting, since Kobe Bryant is Goldilocks (for obvious reasons).
Basically, Suns fans should be cheering for the Lakers to suck just the right amount. Following the Lakers' lottery position should be an interesting subplot as the season lumbers along. With all the positive movement the Suns have made in the last year and a half they still seem to be a little bit short of entering the fray of legitimate title contenders. A quality lottery pick (swindled from their nemesis) next summer would be another useful asset to help trampoline the team into that realm.
Plus, any chance to take a perverse sense of satisfaction out of the Lakers' misfortune is reason for celebration. -- Jim Coughenhour