Uncork your basketball fandom because tonight we are presented with our first taste of Suns basketball for the 2016-17 campaign. Coach Earl Watson wasted no time making a splash by naming Devin Booker as a starting guard over the incumbent Brandon Knight earlier in the day, and he shared his thoughts on the decision prior to the game.
Earl Watson is talking again about the decision to set the starting lineup. He called Brandon Knight "a sixth starter."— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) October 4, 2016
Making a decision of that magnitude requires a certain kind of gumption (especially considering this is Watson's first season as a coach), but it is encouraging step nonetheless. The contingency that believes Watson has garnered respect in the locker room (clears throat) were probably doing fist pumps throughout the afternoon.
As for the game, the preseason calls for some wonky shenanigans to take place, and Watson was not against featuring a lineup involved the youthful talents of Tyler Ulis, Booker, T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss, and Dragan Bender.
"That lineup would be fun to have all the kids play," Watson said. "I'll put that in my notes for tonight."
On the other side, the Spurs come to Phoenix empty handed from a talent perspective, electing to leave behind most of their core players (sparing Kawhi Leonard) due to rest concerns after a summer filled with Olympic competition.
Tonight's game does not have any merit when it comes to the bottom line, but it sure wouldn't hurt to set an accelerated tone to the season after a lineup shake up. There is a palpable buzz surrounding the team -- let's hope the good vibes translate to on the court success.
You can catch the game via a live stream on suns.com at 7 PM. (Beware that you must reside within 75 miles of the arena in order to access the stream.)