When: 7:00 PM AZ Time
Where: Here, at Talking Stick Resort Arena
Radio: ESPN 620 on the AM dial
Yes, this is the same team the Phoenix Suns played on Friday night. On the back end of a home-and-home preseason series, the Utah Jazz make the trek down to the valley of the Sun.
For the Suns, it’s their first home game since April and the first time they get to show off their new Nike jerseys to the local crowd.
Come on down! There’s nothing else going on tonight in downtown Phoenix right?
I wrote a bit about the Jazz on Friday. Some of it right. Some of it wrong. Sorry about that. I expect more of myself and I didn’t meet those expectations.
This time, I’ll limit my comments on the Jazz to what I know I know.
Alec Burks is finally healthy. Burks scored 19 points in 19 minutes off the bench for the Jazz on Friday night, and not a single injury report has come out since then. I know I might be jinxing him by mentioning it here, but trust me that I don’t mean to. I want everyone healthy on every team. I want to see guys excel at the game they love. Let’s hope Burks can do that this year.
The Jazz will be pretty good this year. Looks like Rodney Hood (19 points in 23 minutes on Friday) and Burks will be able to replace some of the scoring lost when Gordon Hayward went to Boston in free agency, and that Ricky Rubio will be a nice addition on both ends of the court. I’m not entirely sure anyone will completely replace the production of who the Jazz lost this offseason (Hayward and George Hill were their top two scorers last year), but the Jazz will be good nonetheless.
Let’s talk about T.J. Warren for a bit. He’s the biggest wildcard of this season for me. If he can stay healthy and find his niche as a small-ball power forward, he could be one of the Suns’ most important players.
Unfortunately, he’s been snakebit by weird injuries in each of his first three years and on Friday night landed hard on his head in a collision under the basket. He cleared concussion protocol, but is still day-to-day and may not play tonight against the Jazz.
Tony Buckets is a big part of the Suns’ future, definitely a piece of #TheTimeline core. The Suns signed him to a 4 year, $50 million extension that begins next season, making him a cost-effective third-leading scorer type for the next five seasons. Of the $50 million, $47 million of it is guaranteed with $750,000 each year being tied to ‘unlikely’ bonuses that won’t count against the salary cap.
I love T.J. and I hope he stays in Phoenix for his whole career.
This being preseason game #3, I don’t think we will see too many high-leverage matchups tonight.
On the plus side, since this is the first home game of the new season, the Suns might play a lot of their regular-season rotation (with T.J. being iffy due to the head injury).
But on the down side, don’t be surprised if the Jazz severely limit the minutes of their core players. We might see a LOT of Raul Neto, Joel Bolomboy, Donovan Mitchell, Alec Burks, Ekpe Udoh and Taylor Braun.
But hey, it’s basketball so let’s have some fun with this!