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Summer in Phoenix brought with it some important questions about the Suns — and some lesser-asked questions, too

Booker, Bender, Ulis among those with “questions” to answer

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It has been another long, hot, sweaty summer in the Valley of the Sun. Phoenix reached 110°F or hotter on 30 different occasions, just missing the record of 33 days set back in 2011.

But while summer may be nine days from coming to a close, it has left behind some burning questions regarding the resident basketball team in the minds of many. Who will start? Who will come off the bench? Can Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss be productive out of the gate? What kind of coach will Earl Watson be?

These are important questions, and as such, they will not be addressed here. Instead, this space will focus on the lesser-asked burning questions from this summer, and as a direct reflection of how much I was paid to write this article, they will remain unanswered.

(Deadpoolio note: If anyone from the Phoenix Suns is reading this, consider these words an official plea: Do something! Seriously. I know Media Day is coming up, but I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel so hard I’m getting splinters.)

Alex Len, the hero

Alex Len jetted off to the Dominican Republic on vacation in late April after the season ended. While there, one of his friends who had come along found himself being dragged out to sea by a rip tide. Len swam out to him and after a protracted fight against the current eventually managed to return both his friend and a lifeguard, who had come out to help the pair but ended up needing help himself, to dry land.

It’s a great story, and Len truly is a hero for risking his own life to save his friend. But something about that story feels unresolved…

Burning question: How many times did Alex Len foul that rip tide?

Bender, Kukoc, and Chandler…from ‘Friends’

The Phoenix Suns made Croatian big man Dragan Bender their choice with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 Draft. He was the team’s highest draft pick since Armen Gilliam in 1988 (2nd overall) and highest-ever international player selected by the Suns. Bender counts Croatian legend Toni Kukoc as his basketball idol (which seems obvious) and recalls learning English by watching sitcoms like Friends, with Chandler being his favorite character (no love for Rachel?).

Bender clearly has had many influences in his life, but there is one that no one seems to ask about…

Burning question: Is Dragan Bender’s hair idol Patrick Swayze?


When the Phoenix Suns drafted Tyler Ulis out of Kentucky in June, it meant he would reunite with best friend and former Kentucky roommate Devin Booker. Booker, who GM Ryan McDonough called Ulis’ agent for the way he lobbied for Ulis during the draft, has been friends with Ulis since middle school when they tore up a basketball camp together. Kentucky coach John Calipari even went as far as to claim the Wildcats had two sets of twins on their roster in 2015 — Aaron and Andrew Harrison and Booker and Ulis.

The Suns have gone all out in their efforts to build camaraderie with this team, and it appears the two young guards already have a leg up on the rest of their teammates. However, there remains one unanswered question surrounding their friendship…

Burning question: Did Tyler Ulis ever lick Devin Booker’s car door at Kentucky?

Devin Booker stars as sage veteran

Last season, Devin Booker surprised everyone with his play on the court but even more with his maturity off it. For someone who had yet to turn 20 years old, his grasp of his responsibilities as a professional and role model were off the charts. This summer only served to reinforce that image of him as mature beyond his years as he voluntarily played in the Summer League and received glowing reviews from the likes of Gregg Popovich and Klay Thompson while with the U.S. Select Team.

But in light of the flap over the true age of Milwaukee Bucks’ rookie Thon Maker, it must be asked…

Burning question: How old is Devin Booker really?

Fire in the sky

Not every burning question begins and ends with the Phoenix Suns, however.

In the early morning hours of June 2, a meteor about 10 feet across exploded over Arizona, lighting up the sky and shaking homes. While not exactly the asteroid from Armageddon, the explosion was reportedly visible across seven states. By daybreak, the smoke trail from the exploded space rock still lingered in the sky.

When the incident first happened, people had many questions. Now, only this one remains…

Burning question: Will that meteor prove to have been more or less fragile than Eric Bledsoe’s knees?

Coaches protest ‘Magic Mike’ style

On Aug. 21 — the final day of Olympic competition — Mongolian wrestler Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran appeared to defeat Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov for the bronze medal in the men’s 65kg freestyle division by the score of 7-6. However, the referee penalized Mandakhnaran in the final seconds for fleeing the hold, tying the match at 7 and giving the tiebreaker to Navruzov. Incensed, the two Mongolian coaches protested by stripping off their clothing on the mat to the delight of the crowd.

These two coaches literally went to the mat for their wrestler, and their passion cannot be questioned. After watching such an inspiring display (is inspiring the right word?), it is fair to ask…

Burning question: If the Suns lose on a buzzer beater this season, will Earl Watson care enough to strip in protest?

Those elusive Olympic medals

Speaking of the Olympics, the United States had a very strong showing in Rio, claiming 46 gold medals and 121 overall medals — more than any other country. Despite that success, the United States remains medal-less in five Olympic sports over its history: badminton, handball, rhythmic gymnastics, table tennis, and trampoline.

It is a source of great national shame that no U.S. athlete has ever managed to bring home a medal of any kind in these events. I mean, trampoline? Kids injure themselves plenty on those things in America. None of them have gone on to master it? And dancing with streamers in rhythmic gymnastics? I do that all the time when no one is watching.

While none of these droughts can end for another four years, there is one man who could have used his talents for the good of the nation this summer but selfishly elected not to…

Burning question: Why does Jared Dudley refuse to use his athletic hands to bring the United States a gold medal in Olympic table tennis?

Send in the clowns

In late August, reports in Greenville, South Carolina began coming in about clowns in the woods. According to the reports, these free-range clowns have been spotted wielding chains and knives and have even tried to entice children into the woods with them. The police have yet to find any evidence to corroborate these clown sightings, but it has reached the point that even horror master Stephen King has weighed in on it all.

The police are assuredly doing the best they can to get to the bottom of a story that sounds straight out of a Scooby-Doo cartoon, but it would make the job of authorities much easier if this one question were finally answered…

Burning question: Has the Suns’ front office been spending time in the South Carolina woods?

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