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Center of the Sun: Phoenix Suns 1-1 after two preseason games

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The Fantable shares their early impressions of the Suns' preseason performances

NBA: Phoenix Suns-Media Day Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

@ Portand Trail Blazers W (114-112) Full Recap

@ Utah Jazz L (112-101) Full Recap


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Fantable Question of the Week

With a couple of actual games played in the past week, I asked the Fantable for their early impressions of the Suns based on what they’ve seen so far.

GuarGuar: Game 1: I was glad to see the bench make a comeback and win vs Portland. However, there were many mistakes by the starters this game putting us in that hole. We struggled to guard Jusuf Nurkic and Caleb Swanigan. Rebounding and defense in general were major issues. However, we must take into account this is the preseason and rust was very much expected. I was happy to see Josh Jackson knock down a couple threes. Josh played pretty erratic but that is expected. Once he calms down I think he is really going to be something special. Booker and Bledsoe were Booker and Bledsoe. Alex Len had a really solid game which I hope can be consistent. Troy Daniels can really shoot and holy cow Mike Drop James!

Game 2: If it weren't for the Jazz announcers, I would have watched the 4th quarter of this game. They were that bad. But in the 3 quarters I did watch, we pretty much sucked. The offense looked very sluggish. Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender still struggled to knock down 3s. Booker never really got going in 30 mins (and only 1 3pt attempt). Tyler Ulis and Troy Daniels were the only ones with pretty solid night. Daniels knocked down 5 more threes and Ulis put up a nice 14 pts & 6 ast. I hope we come out with more energy in future games and look somewhat competent on defense.

Sun-Arc: Game 1 - The Good:

T.J. Warren, of course, was pretty damn good and efficient with his time. 24 points in 23.5 minutes on 9-15 shooting.

Devin Booker only played 19 minutes but had 4 assists. That would be nearly 8 per 36. If that were to hold in the reg season… wow.

Troy Daniels attempted 11 3pt shots in 29 minutes. Sounds insane but he hit 5 of them. Just barely made up for his D. If he’s not making shots, he’s a liability. But man I love the way he shoots. Someone said he’s the new Eddie House. Great comparison.

We out-rebounded Portland, which is great to see (49 vs 45). We did some of that last season - and glad it has not yet waned.

What I’m more impressed with is we had less fouls than they did (23 vs 27).

While our defense stunk for the most part, there were some bright spots. Len, Bender, and Jackson looked pretty good on that side of the court. And that paid off with foul shot attempts in our favor (39!! Vs 21). If we could consistently foul less and shoot more FT’s than opposing teams, we’ll be in better shape to win games than last season. Though, I’m not holding my breath.

We were more efficient from 2pt territory (47% vs 43%). More impressively, we were more efficient from 3pt land (39% vs 30%), and we were close to 30 attempts (26). If we could manage anything close to that as a team for the season we’ll look a lot better. Again, not holding my breath, but who knows. Bender, TJ, and Chriss were 0-6, but the rest of the team was 10-20.

Josh Jackson’s shooting has been a concern, but it wasn’t bad in this game. 5 for 12 overall, 2-3 from 3pt, 2-2 FT’s in his first NBA preseason game is pretty impressive, as were his drives to the basket (less the offensive foul version). He should be able to get to the line more often as he gets used to the speed of the NBA. I look forward to seeing him play all season long. Please, dude, no injuries!

The Bad:

The ball movement looked a bit better, but still really lousy on overall assists. 14 assists per game is not going to get it done. Though that will probably go up with higher minutes for Booker and Bledsoe.

Tyler Ulis needs to shake off the rust.

The defense is still fairly non-existent.

(Editor's note: Sun-Arc was unable to watch game two so no notes from him on it.)

SDKyle: The first two preseason games haven't really changed my impression of the Suns overall, but I'll echo what everyone has been saying and just chime in that Josh Jackson looks very confident and aggressive and may be more ready to meaningfully contribute than a lot of folks have given him credit for. His shot looks reasonably smooth and has been going down.

On the flip side, Bender still doesn't look all that great. I'm still not in the camp of folks ready to call him a bust and move on, but I was definitely hoping to see a more smooth offensive player in him than I've seen so far a couple games into his second preseason.

Same for Chriss. He's definitely playing more confidently than Bender, and his body looks more NBA ready than last year's edition, but I was hoping to see more progress out of his game. Not ringing alarm bells, just mildly disappointed.

Len has looked like the good version of Len, for what that's worth. T.J. Warren was spectacular against the Blazers and meh against the Jazz. Daniels has confirmed that yes, he's a shooter. Everyone else has been fairly unremarkable to me.

SouthernSun: My initial impression of the Suns is that they are still pretty bad. But there are a few glimmers of hope.

One of those glimmers I mentioned is Josh Jackson. Sure, he's turning the ball over a lot, and it's going to take some time for him to adjust to the NBA game, but that guy has some talent. Like, star talent. I think he'll have a very impressive rookie season. His 3 ball seems like it's not going to be that big of a problem. It looks awkward, but hey, it seems to work for him. He's a ball of energy out there. Active, all over the place. He's going to be a really, really good defender.

Ulis looked alright in the second game, though his first game back was a little shaky. He's still a negative because he's just not a good defender at all, but hey, at least he tries.

Troy Daniels. My lord, I hope he's able to keep his preseason shooting up into the regular season. Looks like a very good low cost acquisition.

T.J. Warren looks good. If only he didn't have a tendency to get freak head injuries, I'd be super excited about his development and ability to maybe even be part of a starting front court with Josh Jackson. I think he should wear one of those helmets with padding while playing, just as a precaution. Like goggles, but for people who tend to get concussions. I know this isn't a real thing, but if he gets one more head injury I'm going to start a movement.

Bender is continuing to underwhelm. I continue to wish we had traded the pick that drafted him for a player with a greater than 40% chance of ever being useful.

Chriss has gotten his bounce back! Shed a little of that summer weight (funny, since normally people talk about winter weight), and is averaging around 3.5 blocks per game for the first two preseason games.

Eric Bledsoe is still our best player.

Devin Booker still has the highest potential. With Jackson coming in as a close second. I think those two are going to be an absolutely nasty duo for years to come.

As always, many thanks to our Fantable... GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle and SouthernSun!

Three more preseason games this week and then the NBA regular season starts next Tuesday. No matter how things ultimately turn out in the win-loss column for the Suns, I think we fans are all in for an interesting ride this year.


Key Stats

22.75 mpg, 16 ppg, 5 rpg, 1 apg, 1 spg, 1 bpg

Those stats belong to T.J. Warren and they very likely would have been better if not for the injury in the Utah game that cut his playing time down to just 12.2 minutes. His true shooting percentage so far is 63.0% and I'm also impressed with his rebounding numbers.

25.65 mpg, 16 ppg, 11 rpg, 1.5 bpg

Yes, Alex Len achieved those numbers while mostly playing against Portland's and Utah's bench players but if he can come close to putting up numbers like these off the bench in the regular season we should all be happy.

Random Stats: Marquese Chriss presently leads the NBA in blocks with an average of 3.5 per game! Devin Booker has averaged 5.0 assists verses 1.5 turnovers per game. Troy Daniels has averaged 16.5 ppg while shooting 58.8% from the three point line.

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com


2017 Preseason Highlights

Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers - Full Game Highlights | Oct 3, 2017 | 2017-18 NBA Preseason

Phoenix Suns vs Utah Jazz Highlights | Oct-06-17 | 2017 NBA Pre-Season


Rookie Report

Josh Jackson - 12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg, 5.0 TO, 3.5 PF

Mike James - 11.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 3.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.0 TO, 0.0 PF (1 DNP)

Alec Peters - 1 DNP & no stats in less than 1 minute of game time

Peter Jok - DNP (CD)

Davon Reed - DNP (Injured)

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com


News & Notes

RIP Connie Hawkins: Blackballed by the NBA, ‘The Hawk’ eventually made his mark. Washington Post

Thirty Futures: Phoenix Suns. Real GM

Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson using preseason for lineup experiments. Scott Bordow/AZCentral Sports

Suns preview: Phoenix may struggle now, but has pieces to become future contender. CBS Sports

Phoenix Suns 2017-18 season primer: The long rebuild continues. Sir Charles In Charge

Suns notebook: Positionless basketball, Daniels will keep shooting. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker ready to be face of franchise. Scott Bordow/AZCentral Sports


This Week in Suns History

In a preseason match-up on October 11, 2008, the Denver Nuggets beat the Suns, 77-72, at the Indian Wells (California) Tennis Garden. The game is noteworthy because it was the first NBA game played outdoors in three decades.

On October 16, 1969 4-time All-Star Connie Hawkins made his NBA debut for the Phoenix Suns in a 116-114 win over the San Diego Rockets.

Rest in peace, Connie.


Suns Trivia

The Suns hold a 221-157 (.585) record all-time in the preseason, posting a winning record in five consecutive years since going 0-2 in 2011-12.

The Suns have scored 425,714 total regular season points entering 2017-18 with the 107.2 points per game throughout history being the highest of any NBA franchise.

In their first season in the NBA, the Suns played four regular-season games in Tucson and during the preseason they played games in Mesa, Globe, Flagstaff and Fort Huachuca to bring the NBA to the entire state of Arizona.


Previewing the Weeks Ahead

October 9 - Phoenix Suns vs Utah Jazz, 7:00 pm AZ time

October 11 - Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers, 7:00 pm AZ time

October 13 - Phoenix Suns vs Brisbane Bullets, 7:00 pm AZ time

October 14 - Last day for players on fully non-guaranteed contracts to be waived and not count at all against a team’s 2017/18 cap.

October 15 - Roster limits decrease from 20 players to 15. Last day for teams to sign a player to a rookie scale extension. Last day for teams to sign a player to a veteran extension in certain scenarios. Last day for teams to complete sign-and-trade deals. Last day for teams to convert an Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way contract.

October 17 - Day One of the 2017-18 NBA Season

October 18 - Home Opener! Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers, 7:00 pm AZ time


Last Week's Poll Results

The question was, "Would you support just doing away with the NBA Draft?" The results were:

29% - Yes.

71% - No.

There were a total of 198 votes cast.


This week's poll is about the NBA All-Star game changes.

From now on there will no longer be East and West teams in the NBA All-Star Game. Now, team captains (the two players who receive the most votes in their respective conferences) will be selecting the teams regardless of what conference players play in from the 22 other players in the talent pool. Each team will also play for a different charity where all donations and proceeds from the game will be sent.

Poll

What do you think of the NBA's changes to the All-Star game?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    I like them.
    (39 votes)
  • 44%
    It really doesn't matter to me.
    (60 votes)
  • 26%
    I dislike them and prefer the old East vs West format.
    (36 votes)
135 votes total Vote Now