There was only one game this past week and it was the final preseason game for the Phoenix Suns. It's seems a little odd that the Suns scheduled their first five preseason games within an eleven day period and then scheduled their sixth and final game a full week after number five but I'm sure they had their reasons for it. Perhaps they just wanted to make sure that they went into the regular season as fresh and healthy as possible.
The regular season begins Wednesday October 26th for the Suns, who will play three games this week against the Kings, Thunder and Warriors.
Everyone but P.J. Tucker suited up for this game but Earl Watson tightened his rotation up to just 10 players in what was probably a preview of what we can expect to see on opening night. The Suns only hit 39.3% of their field goals in this game and 27.8% from the three point line. For the entire preseason their FG% was .412 and 3P% was .315. Hopefully they will bring those averages up in the regular season before it gets too ugly.
10 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals
Those are the stat lines for Tyson Chandler and Jared Dudley who played 24 minutes and 29 minutes respectively. Dudley also led the team in scoring efficiency hitting 80% of his field goal attempts. Both of the vets turned in very solid performances which is what the Suns will need from them this season as a steadying influence with so many young players sharing the court. Dudley has wound up leading the team in steals, averaging 1.8 per game, in the preseason and Chandler led the team in rebounds with 9.5 per game while he averaged on 21.8 minutes per game in the two games he played in.
Quotes of the Week
“We just want to be one percent better than yesterday, so we continue to push, stay together and dream big so we have success that sustains over time.” - Earl Watson
Regarding the scrap that Marquese got into with veteran center Andrew Bogut in the Dallas game, Eric Bledsoe said, “I love it. That’s the way I play. Marquese showed he isn’t scared. Once a veteran player knows he has fear in you as a young player, that follows you. Marquese set the tone early.”
Marquese Chriss - 27.1 MPG, 12.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG (GP-6)
Dragan Bender - 21.6 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG (GP-6)
Tyler Ulis - 17.8 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.4 SPG (GP-5)
Derrick Jones Jr. - 6.0 MPG, 3.5 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.5 APG (GP-2)
All stats courtesy of Real GM.
News & Notes
NBA executives voted Devin Booker as the player most likely to have a breakout season in 2016-17.
What does Earl Watson have to say about Marquese Chriss: "You’re going to see him take an amazing leap.” - Arizona Sports
Fox Sports has Marquese Chriss ranked second in its Rookie Preseason Power Rankings.
BSotS own Brendon Kleen gives evidence that some of the ESPN 5 on 5 experts... maybe aren't when it comes to the Suns.
Tucker hopes to be ready to play in season opener. - AZ Central
"So you're telling me there's a chance." FiveThirtyEight's CARMELO predictions on all 30 NBA teams are out and they are predicting a 12% chance that the Suns make the playoffs this year! In the West, only the Lakers have less of a chance (3%) so at least there is that. CARMELO is also predicting that the Suns will finish the season with a 31-51 record.
Wild & Crazy Trade Rumors
The NBA rumor mill never seems to end, especially when it comes to trade rumors. After a while fans learn that some rumor sources are reliable... and others aren't. As a matter of fact, some of them just seem to pull wild rumors out of the air. Some of them are so wild that they are almost humorous. Here are a few that I found in the past week. These are supplied simply for the sake of entertainment, not news.
Devin Booker for Brandon Ingram Trade??? Headlines & Global News - This is the craziest trade "rumor" that I could find. Not only does it say that the Suns and Lakers are discussing a possible one-for-one trade of Booker and Ingram but that the Suns would get a better deal than the Lakers if it happens!
Kevin Love for Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler??? The Christian Times
Brandon Knight & Archie Goodwin to the Sixers in three team trade with Houston??? Parent Herald - This one has the Suns sending Knight and Goodwin to the Sixers who will send Nerlens Noel to the Rockets who would then send K.J. McDaniels and Clint Capela to the Suns... and the Suns would receive a future first round pick from Houston and a future second-round pick from Philly.
Previewing the Week Ahead - THE REGULAR SEASON
Wednesday, October 26th vs Sacramento Kings
Friday, October 28th @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Sunday, October 30th vs Golden State Warriors
The Suns will start off the regular season at home against the Kings. As always, DeMarcus Cousins will be a handful but the Kings will start the season with a lot of questions and potential dysfunction as starting point guard Darren Collison will begin serving an 8 game suspension. His probable replacement, Ty Lawson has had his own problems in the past few years and starting small forward Rudy Gay has made it very clear that he wants to be traded. None of this is going to have a calming effect on the potentially temperamental Cousins. Add to that another new head coach, Dave Joerger. They do have some talent though so I don't expect this to be an easy win for the Suns but I do expect a win.
Next the Suns travel to OKC to face the now Durant-less Thunder. Even without Durant, the Thunder are are a very good team and the only chance that I believe that the Suns have of pulling off a win is if Eric Bledsoe plays Russell Westbrook to a standstill. He doesn't have to stop him - nobody can really do that - just make sure that Westbrook has to work hard to get his points and work hard to keep Eric from getting his. While that would give us a chance, I still think that the Thunder will get the win at home.
When the Suns return to Phoenix, they face arguably the best team in the NBA, Golden State. I wish I could dream up some optimism regarding this matchup but this is going to be an extremely difficult test for the young Suns that I just can't see them winning. But if they play hard and can keep the score reasonably close, I would consider that a win of sorts.