Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
The Suns are playing .500 ball for the month of January and are 6-6 over their last 12 games stretching back to the last days of December... and their first win over the Raptors in Phoenix. They are now 15-29. If they can continue to play .500 ball for the rest of the season then they would wind up with a record of 34-48. Nothing to really be proud of but it would still be a very nice improvement over last season's 23-59 record. Can they keep it up for the rest of the season? Can they actually continue to improve as the season goes on? Who knows. The Suns continue to try and shoot themselves in the foot with excessive turnovers and personal fouls but lately they've found ways to overcome that... occasionally.
The Suns are now tied for fourth in the reverse standings. They are also only 3.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets who presently own the 8th seed. Many fans might not want the Suns to chase that 8th seed playoff spot but I don’t think that the team agrees with them.
And you just have to love Jared Dudley. Even though he’s been racking up DNP-CDs, he has been tweeting to promote P.J. Tucker as a candidate for defensive player of the year. P.J. deserves consideration for that and Duds deserves consideration for Team Player of the Year (I know it isn’t a real award but Duds still deserves the recognition).
28.3 ppg, 9.7 apg, 5.7 rpg, 1.3 spg, FGs - 46.2%, 3 point shooting - 43.8%, FTs - 96.8%
Eric Bledsoe has played great in the past three games... and more. Not too long ago no one would have thought that he could average 9.7 assists over a three game period and his increase in dishing out assists isn't just a small blip on the radar. If you go back 12 games his assist rate is 8.5 per game during that period. Eric is starting to look like a top end NBA point guard.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com.
Quote of the Week
"It’s that time of year. We have to make that push, and we know that. There’s a sense of urgency in the locker room." - Devin Booker
Marquese Chriss - 20.4 mpg, 8.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.3 apg, 2.0 spg, 0.7 bpg
Dragan Bender - 10.7 mpg, 1.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.3 bpg
Tyler Ulis - 7.0 mpg, 2.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.3 spg
I've been giving you the season averages for the rooks before now but from here on I will be giving you the weekly averages.
All stats courtesy of NBA.com
News & Notes
Suns midseason review: Optimistic for 2nd half. Doug Haller/AZCentral Sports
Trade Candidate: Brandon Knight. Hoops Rumors
Phoenix Suns Having Trouble Finishing, Not Competing. Heat Waved
The Phoenix Suns' Midseason Report Card. NBA.com
Devin Booker's practice battles trigger scoring burst. Doug Haller/AZCentral Sports
Suns rookie Marquese Chriss has the building blocks. Arizona Sports
Kevin Johnson leads the Suns in total assists in a single season with 991 (1989). Steve Nash is 2nd-6th on the totals list with KJ taking 7th & 8th, Nash taking 9th and KJ again taking 10th. Together KJ and Nash dished out 8,670 assists during those ten seasons and 13,515 total assists during their careers as Suns players.
Stats courtesy of Land Of Basketball.com
This Week in Suns History
On January 29, 1984 the NBA's first All-Star Saturday took place in Denver at McNichols Arena. The first Nestle Crunch Slam-Dunk contest winner was the Phoenix Suns' Larry Nance who used a two-ball windmill dunk to beat favorites Julius Erving and Dominique Wilkins.
Previewing the Week Ahead
Tuesday, January 24th vs Minnesota Timberwolves (16-28)
Thursday, January 26th @ Denver Nuggets (18-25)
Saturday January 28th vs Denver Nuggets (18-25)
Another three game week for the Suns but with three very winnable games ahead for a change.
On Tuesday the Timberwolves come to Phoenix. They - like the Suns - are 5-5 over their last 10 games and are presently just one game ahead of the Suns in the standings. Ricky Rubio has already missed one game for "personal reasons" and it's unclear whether he will be back for the game with the Suns. Without Rubio the T-wolves defeated the depleted Clippers (missing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin) for what that's worth. But then they also beat Denver last night at home without Rubio. With the way the Suns have been playing lately I have to give the edge in this one to Phoenix since they are playing at home.
Then on Thursday the Suns head to Denver to face the Nuggets... and then face them again in Phoenix on Saturday. The Nuggets presently have a tenuous hold on the 8th playoff seed but are still only 3.5 games ahead of the Suns in the standings. I'm going to call this a 1-1 split with the Suns winning one and the Nuggets winning one.
I think that the Suns could go 2-1 this week although 1-2 is very possible too. And 3-0 is more likely this week than any other I can remember but that's probably hoping for too much.
How do you think the Suns will fare this week?