This week the Suns had a mildly surprising win against the Atlanta Hawks and a not so surprising loss to the Golden State Warriors. After twenty games the Suns are 6-14 and facing a busy four game schedule in the coming week.
vs Atlanta Hawks - W (109-107) Full Recap
@ Golden State Warriors - L (138-109) Full Recap
For the first time since the first week of November (remember the two-game win streak against the Blazers and the Pelicans?) the Suns made it through a week with at least a .500 record during that week. Yes, they only played two games during this stretch but it's something. This is the Bright Side after all. And in the lopsided loss to the Warriors Chriss and Bender got 25 mnutes of court time each and not just garbage minutes. Tyler Ulis got 12 as well. T.J. Warren reportedly started "light activity" this past Wednesday and could return to the practice court sometime this week according to CBS Sports.
That's what P.J. Tucker has been shooting from the three point line in the last seven games. He had another off night in the Golden State game (1-5 from three) but in the first 13 games of the season he was hitting a putrid 5.0%. The Suns don't count on Tucker scoring a lot of points per game but they do need him to be a credible threat at the three point line to keep opposing team defenses honest when he's on the court. Hopefully he will maintain a good average for the rest of the season.
Back in mid-November I wrote about how the entire team needed to improve three point shooting and they've made progress as a team since then. Tucker has made the most dramatic improvement but Booker, Bledsoe, Knight and Chriss have all also upped their three point percentages. As a team the Suns are now hitting 33.1% of their threes for the season (as opposed to 29.8% back then) and have connected on 41.0% of their attempts over the last three games. They are still low in the rankings at 24th in three point percentage but back then they were 28th.
Stats courtesy of Real GM and Team Rankings.com.
Quote of the Week
“If you want to be great, that’s the role you’ve got to take on. You’ve got to be a two-way player. All the great players in the league are two-way players.” - Devin Booker
Marquese Chriss - 15.7 MPG, 6.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Dragan Bender - 10.8 MPG, 3.2 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Tyler Ulis - 11.3 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG
All stats courtesy of Real GM.
News & Notes
The Suns have a unique situation at center with the Tyson Chandler/Alex Len duo. Paul Coro/AzCentral
Five areas that need improvement for the Suns. Hoops Habit
Assisted points are rare for the Suns. Paul Coro/AzCentral
Is T.J. Warren the Suns' best two-way player? McD thinks so.
Are the Suns and Earl Watson starting to get their rotation set? Arizona Sports
Earl Watson discusses using his own experiences as a player to build an environment where young players can flourish.
Devin Booker is determined to become a better defensive player.
Could Eric Bledsoe become the Suns' next All-Star player?
Some News about the new CBA
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, "League sources say there's a strong likelihood that the start of the 2017-18 season will be moved up a week to 10 days, which is yet another measure aimed at reducing the number of back-to-backs teams face over the course of 82 games." Although this season is still young, once it eventually ends it's nice to know that next season will open 7-10 days earlier for all us basketball junkies.
If you want to read Stein's full article, the link is here. Fair warning though that after talking about the new CBA, he starts talking about the Lakers... and maybe some other stuff but I stopped reading at that point.
Another Wild & Crazy Trade Rumor
We discussed realistic trade rumors/options last week so lets get back to another unrealistic fantasy trade rumor this time around. The following "rumor" is suppied simply for the sake of entertainment, not news. I find these wild rumors humorous. I hope you do too.
A three team deal between Phoenix, New York and Cleveland??? - Parent Herald
This one has Devin Booker and Tyson Chandler going to the Knicks, the Knicks sending Carmelo Anthony to the Cavs and the Cavs sending Kevin Love to the Suns. This just isn't going to happen. The reasons it won't happen are too numerous to mention... even if Melo didn't have a no trade clause in his contract.
This Week in Suns History
On December 7, 2006 Phoenix defeated New Jersey Nets 161-157 in a two overtime game. This game is tied for fourth as one of the highest scoring regular season games in NBA history (318 total points). Steve Nash scored 42 points, Shawn Marion - 33, Raja Bell - 24 and Amare Stoudemire - 23. Former Sun Jason Kidd led the Nets with 38.
Previewing the Week Ahead
Tuesday, December 6th @ Utah Jazz (12-9)
Wednesday, December 7th vs Indiana Pacers (10-10)
Friday, December 9th @ Los Angles Lakers (10-12)
Sunday, December 11th vs New Orleans Pelicans (7-13)
Another four game week for the Suns! They got a little bit of a break last week with only two games but it's back to the NBA grind again for Phoenix.
On Tuesday the Suns travel to Utah to face the Jazz. Utah is off to a good start this season and barring injury problems should wind up in the playoffs this year. Playing them at home doesn't sound like the recipe for a win for the Suns so I predict a loss in this one.
On the following night the Suns return to Phoenix for a game with the Indiana Pacers whom they have already beaten in Indiana this season. But that night Paul George was out. Tyson Chandler missed that game for the Suns and T.J. Warren also missed most of it but Warren won't be back for the rematch while George might. Paul George has sat out six of the last seven Pacers games with a bad ankle. If he's back for this game, even with the Suns playing at home, this one is tough to call but if he sets it out, I think that the Suns will win.
After a day off the Suns go back on the road and head to LA for a rematch with the Lakers. As of today, the Lakers are 3-7 in their last ten games... so are the Suns. I think that the Suns will even the score and win this one.
Next the Suns return home and have another day off before they play the New Orleans Pelicans on Bright Side Night! The Pels have been playing better lately after the return of Jrue Holiday but I think that the Suns won't let the kids down and win this one at home.
So there it is. I predict that the Suns will go 2-2 or maybe even 3-1 this week.
How do you think the Suns will fare?