What: Phoenix Suns vs. Brooklyn Nets
When: Tonight, 7:00PM AZ Time
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
TV: Fox Sports Arizona
Radio: 98.7 FM Arizona Sports
Somehow, despite losing 27 of their last 29 games, the Suns (14-42) barely qualify as the 3rd worst team in the NBA. When you're counting lottery ball combinations, that's a tenuous position. The Nets, visiting tonight, are just a game behind the Suns at 15-42.
Despite losing so prolifically, there are still 3 or 4 other teams in this league just as bad as the Suns if not a little worse. The Sixers, despite their JC bounce, are still just 8-49. The Lakers are 11-38. The Nets and Suns are deadlocked in the 3-4 position. Breathing just down their necks are the Wolves (18 wins) and then the Pelicans (22 wins).
Usually, it's the Suns getting kicked while they're down, but there's actually a franchise in a lot worse shape than the Suns and they are visiting tonight.
The Brooklyn Nets are not only, along with the Suns, among the four worst teams in the NBA, but they have very little youth on which to rebuild their future and almost none on the way.
Their deadlock with the Suns at the bottom is actually a Suns/Celtics deadlock while the Celtics fight for home court advantage in the playoffs.
Look at this trade:
Starting this year, the Celtics own the first round pick of the Nets for three consecutive years. This is possible because in between the hand-over years of 2016 and 2018, they negotiated the right to swap 2017's pick at the Celtics discretion.
This feeling of euphoria in Boston over fighting for the playoffs while getting primo picks from a lotto team is hopefully what the Suns will feel in a couple years when the Suns/Heat trade comes to fruition.
At least the Nets got two years of playoffs out of mortgaging their future. They even won a playoff series in 2014 and have played three more playoff series than the Suns in that time.
The Nets are still led by a host of veterans in Joe Johnson, Thad Young, Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack. In the race to the bottom, they are actually winning games lately. They've beaten the Knicks, Kings and Nuggets to go 3-4 over the past two weeks. Watch out, league!
Suns favorite (who somehow still gets booed) Joe Johnson is having his worst NBA season since he was Devin Booker's age, but the others are going strong. And with JJ returning to the valley, don't be surprised if he has his best game in a long time.
Come on guys, do it for the kids!
Here's a picture of Suns rep Lauren Baum delivering our BSotS-donated tickets to some of the children at Collier Elementary this week. Bright Side is sponsoring 250 kids at tonight's game. Our own Evan Wendt will be there to get some footage and update our official 2015-16 video for posterity.
The Suns are on a 12-game losing streak, losing 18 of their last 19 contests and 27 of 29 overall. This is the worst stretch in franchise history - including the expansion season - and hopefully represents the worst we will ever see.
How has this happened? Well, when you promote one of the most inexperienced bench units in the league into starting roles because you've lost/jettisoned your top four scorers and you replace a veteran coaching staff with a rookie coaching staff, you get disaster.
Add in a really, really tough schedule and it gets even worse. Tonight against the Nets, the Suns face their first non-playoff hopeful, home or away, since January 29 (Knicks) and their first home game against a non-playoff hopeful since December 26 (Sixers).
You read that right. The Suns have not hosted a team out of the playoff picture since that awful loss the day after Christmas, where Ish Smith, Mike D'Antoni and Jerry Colangelo came home to beat the reeling Suns a game after losing Eric Bledsoe to season-ending knee injury. That seems so long ago.
Just win, baby.
Do it for the children. Do it for sanity.
You have the rest of the season to "overtake" the Celtics for the 3rd lottery position when the ping pong balls bounce.
When your 0-8 coach is so desperate for a win that he's starting veteran Ronnie Price at point guard ahead of Archie Goodwin, you need a win.
When your prized rookie is getting beaten up on the daily by opposing defenses and shooting only 34% this month as the team losses pile up, you need a win.
When your fan base is locking horns over the veracity of signing yet another undersized guard for the 14th and 15th roster spots, you need a win.