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Preseason Game Preview: Phoenix Suns host Duncan-free San Antonio Spurs

The Suns open their 2016-17 slate with a preseason game against half the Spurs roster.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The supposedly Super Bowl bound Arizona Cardinals have stumbled badly to 1-3 and the Arizona Diamondbacks just finished off another awful season at 69-93.

In steps the oldest hometown team in Phoenix, as the Phoenix Suns kick off their 49th season with their first preseason game tonight.

Let’s. Go. Suns!

The Phoenix Suns will field one of the youngest teams in the NBA this season, but for some reason think they are playoff bound anyway.

The Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs are tonight’s preseason opponent. The Spurs kick off their 50th season (if you include six seasons as the Dallas Chaparrals and nine overall in the ABA) with high expectations, but face the prospect of playing without Tim Duncan for the first time since Tim Kempton, Vinny Del Negro and Monty Williams wore the uniform in a 20-win 1996-97 season. The Admiral, David Robinson, played only 6 games that year as the Spurs tanked to win the #1 overall pick (Tim Duncan). Rookie coach Gregg Popovich led the Spurs to a 17-47 record, taking over for Bob Hill (who was a Suns assistant just last spring). That 20-win season is the Spurs’ only non-playoff season since 1988-89.

Tonight’s preseason game between the Suns and the Spurs will be missing a lot more than the retired Tim Duncan.

Apparently, ten-thousand year vets David Lee and Joel Anthony aren’t revered enough at the Alamo to stay home for this road game.

No word yet if Popovich himself will travel to Phoenix, but maybe he will after being chastised by Suns owner Robert Sarver a couple years ago for skipping a preseason game in Phoenix. loljkjk

So who WILL the Suns see wearing the Spurs’ jerseys on Monday night?

Uh, still a lot of talent. Young talent. Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, third year player Kyle Anderson (nicknamed Slo Mo), second-year player Jonathon Simmons, much-anticipated Euro rookie Davis Bertans, and rookie Dejounte Murray - a reported Suns target in the late lottery and teammate of Marquese Chriss at Washington last year.

Expect the Spurs to have a grand ol’ time playing their game, making the young players look like vets, and probably coming out with a win. Ah well.

The Suns

For those of you who watched the open scrimmage on Saturday either in person or online, you might have come away with a lot of optimism. But then again, the Suns might just have proven they will be so bad this year they can’t even beat themselves.

Optimism only counts if you win games. Preferably against players in other uniforms. Just ask the Cardinals.

At least the Suns can out-young the Spurs on “Super Young Night”.

The Suns have three players younger than the Spurs youngest player, just-turned-20-year old rookie Dejounte Murray.

Devin Booker, Dragan Bender and former teammate Marquese Chriss could be the first teen triplets to play for the same team.

Everyone appears to be healthy for the Suns tonight except for P.J. Tucker (back). Other injuries will be announced within hours of the game.

Probable starting lineups


At practice today, coach Earl Watson announced that he has made the tough decision to make Devin Booker the permanent starter at shooting guard, and that Brandon Knight will come off the bench to fight for Sixth Man of the Year.

I have been clamoring for this change all summer. Really glad Watson didn’t take the easy way out by leaving the veteran Knight in the lineup.


What to watch

The game! Without using a pirated feed! Watch the game on or via the Suns app you can download to your phone or iPad.

Watch the new motion offense in the hands of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.

Watch the new veterans - Jared Dudley, Leandro Barbosa - and the rookies.

Watch Devin Booker look like the smoothest player on the court.


We don’t need no stinking predictions!

It’s the preseason!! Who wins doesn’t matter.

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