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Center of the Sun: Phoenix Suns lose 3 of 4 and Devin Booker this week

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The week started out well but went downhill fast following Booker's injury.

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

@ Philadelphia 76ers W (115-101) Full Recap

@ Toronto Raptors L (126-113) Full Recap

vs Washington Wizards L (109-99) Full Recap

vs San Antonio Spurs L (104-101) Full Recap

This past week is another example of just how quickly things can change in the NBA. We were all high as kites following Devin Booker's 46 point scoring outburst in Philadelphia and then shocked and dismayed when he was injured less than 24 hours later in Toronto. Thankfully, his injury wasn't severe and he should be back around Christmas time... but until then the Suns still have basketball games to play.

The Suns were already short handed before Booker's injury severely compounded the problem. They started out the year with Brandon Knight, Davon Reed and Alan Williams all going down with knee injuries before the beginning of training camp. Knight will miss the entire season and Williams will miss all except maybe the final 8-10 games. Reed however could return as soon as the end of December but also could be out until the end of February.

This Friday is December 15. In case you don't already know the significance of that date, it's the first day of the season when the majority of free agents signed this year are eligible to be traded which adds around 100 extra names to the potential NBA trade market. Will the Suns jump into the trade market with both feet and try to make a big splash or just try to remove the logjam at center by trying to trade one of Chandler/Len/Monroe for more "assets"?

And that question leads us to our Fantable questions of the week.


Fantable Questions of the Week

1. With Devin Booker out - maybe until around Christmas - do you think this will prompt Ryan McDonough to try and make a trade (or trades) now that could bring players that could contribute or should the Suns just try to ride out Booker's absence and play with the players that they have on hand?

2. If McD does decide to make a big move (either now or later), who besides one of the centers do you think could - or should - be on the trading block?

GuarGuar: I highly doubt the Booker injury prompts McDonough to make a trade for guys who can contribute now. He is going to ride out Booker's absence and enjoy the losing for a better draft pick. He's clearly set on tanking this season so I can't imagine him making win now moves. The signing of Mike James (the tank commander) for the rest of the season basically is as much action as we are going to see from him. I'm actually surprised he cut Derrick Jones Jr rather than just buyout Monroe if we couldn't trade him. This season has quickly turned into a free fall it feels with the Booker injury. Hopefully the team can somehow hold their ground while he is out. I'm very grateful Booker's injury was not much more serious. He scared the hell out of me when he couldn't move at all in Toronto. I trust our training staff will give him the best treatment and recovery plan and he'll be back soon and healthy.

If McDonough does make a move near the deadline, other than one of the centers being traded I think next in line would be Troy Daniels. Davon Reed will be returning soon and if he plays well I can certainly see Troy being dealt to a playoff team in need of shooting (Pelicans for example). Troy has played really well in the 2nd unit recently so this is pretty contingent on Davon's effectiveness once he returns. I hope we don't trade Jared Dudley but it would be a very McD thing to trade him to a contender.

Sun-Arc: I do not think Booker’s injury will have any influence over Ryan’s decision making about trades. He’s either working on it or he isn’t. Either he want to start bringing in top-end players in-season or he’ll wait until draft day and the summer to make moves. If the right trades are not available, he’ll be content to wait and see what comes up next summer.

I hope he’s working on some big trades. The ones that I (and SouthernSun) have been interested in is acquiring both Dennis Schroder and DeAndre Jordan right now. I’d trade Monroe, Mike James, Marquese Chriss, Daniels, Alex Len, and several picks to get those trades done. It may take trading Tyson Chandler, which I would rather not do. Or it may take also trading Alan Williams, which I would really hate to do. But those are the players I would be willing to let go.

I would not look at trading Booker (duh), Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren, Dragan Bender, Tyler Ulis (Book’s best friend), and I’d like to keep Dudley and Tyson on the team to show the young guys how to play. I would also not trade Reed right now. But I would trade away a few first and second round picks to make it happen.

SDKyle: I don’t think Booker’s absence is lengthy enough to put McD into “I need to make a move right now” mode. I believe it’s highly likely that McD has already calculated this as another sub-30 win season and he’s not going to be beating himself up about how to fix it now. He’s had plenty of chances to make deals before we reached this point, and if he didn’t pull the trigger then I’m certainly not convinced he’ll feel compelled to do so now.

If he DOES make a move, besides the centers I’d certainly dangle Dudley and the Bucks pick, and I’d be willing to offer one of Chriss or Bender too if the player coming back was reasonably young and of potential starter quality. I’m not ready to offer Jackson, and I don’t think there’s a market for Knight.

Personally, I’m okay with riding out Booker’s injury. Are the Suns awful without him? Yes. But are they good with him? Heavens no.

SouthernSun: I don't think McDonough is going to make a trade of any significance, nor do I think the Booker injury will play into that decision at all.

McDonough has his mind made up to be as bad as possible this season. Call it what you will. "Relying on organic improvement," "Not giving up assets for upgrades that won't make the team a playoff team anyway," "tanking."

No matter how you choose to label it, the Suns are bad this year by design, with the end result being that we can expect a high draft pick in June. McDonough doesn't want to do anything to jeopardize getting that shiny new draft pick, so he can then use it on a player to add to our stable of young lottery picks brimming with potential (and little else).

As for who is probably on the trading block, I don't have any idea. Obviously the centers are. But outside of them, I suppose it's anyone really. One would assume that Jackson is off limits. And of course Booker is. For me, that's as far as I'd go. Bender has been underwhelming at almost every single aspect of playing basketball (but hooray, at least his 3 point percentage is decent this year). Chriss hasn't been all that much better. Ulis has been a little better this last week or so, but he had a pretty horrid beginning of the season. These guys probably don't have all that much value right now, because the other teams have seen exactly the same thing we have. They're just not very good. Bender and Chriss were both boom or bust projects, and so far they've looked a lot more busty than boomy.

At this point, I myself would enjoy seeing a trade happen just for entertainment value. Then I would at least have a reason to tune into a game. Not that I don't watch the games. I do. Every single one. But I'm sure that most of us could probably tell you how a Suns game is going to go:

  • Booker's going to do some cool stuff
  • Mike James is going to look like a fringe rotation player shoehorned into a more prominent role than he should probably have
  • Chriss will miss a dunk that would have looked cool had it gone in
  • Jackson will play great defense, then drive into 3 opposing players and turn the ball over
  • Bender will look like a kid who's parents lost him in the mall, and occasionally hit an uncontested 3
  • Alan Williams will wear an awesome suit and dance on the sidelines when a Suns player does anything that's not horrendous
  • Tyrone Corbin will go unnoticed on the bench, sitting there expressionless
  • Ulis will try really hard on defense, occasionally steal the ball, but remain largely ineffectual
  • I'll start googling "Best movies you probably haven't seen" lists on my phone, and find them substantially more interesting than the tire fire going on on the screen in front of me

A trade would at least be mildly interesting.

Let's not wait until the off-season for the most exhilarating part of the Suns season this year. Let's get a head start!

C'mon Will McDonough's son!

Many thanks to our Fantable, GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle and SouthernSun for all their input!


Key Stats

DNP - Injured (x2) for Devin Booker

It's pure conjecture on my part but I feel confident in saying that I believe that the Suns would have won the Washington and San Antonio games if Devin Booker had been healthy and played in them. Whether the Suns had finished the past week 3-1 instead of 1-3 probably means little in the long run but Suns fans need every ray of Suns-shine they can get this season.

38.8 points per game

The Suns' bench ranks 11th in the NBA with 38.8 points per game.

Random Stats: Although now long gone, Eric Bledsoe's 15.7 ppg average in the first three Suns games is sadly still the third highest ppg average of any Suns player this season. Number four is Greg Monroe (10.9 ppg)... the guy the Suns got in return for Bledsoe. Mike James is the only other Suns player to average in double figures with 10.8 ppg.

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com and RealGM.com.


Game Highlights

Phoenix Suns vs Philadelphia 76ers - Full Game Highlights | Dec 4, 2017 | 2017-18 NBA Season

Phoenix Suns vs Toronto Raptors - Full Game Highlights | Dec 5, 2017 | NBA Season 2017-18

Washington Wizards vs Phoenix Suns - Full Game Highlights | Dec 7, 2017 | NBA Season 2017-18

San Antonio Spurs vs Phoenix Suns - Full Game Highlights | Dec 9, 2017 | NBA Season 2017-18


Quote of the Week

"You can really tell it’s a thinking game, just read and react. The smarter players are the best players. You just gotta think the game a little bit more.." - Josh Jackson


Rookie Report

Josh Jackson - 21.9 mpg, 9.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.2 bpg, 1.9 TO, 2.8 PF

Mike James - 21.8 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.6 TO, 1.5 PF

Alec Peters - Assigned to NAZ Suns

Davon Reed - DNP (Injured)

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.


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News & Notes

Josh Jackson Isn’t Surprised By The NBA’s Learning Curve. Basketball Insiders

Booker Stood and Cheered as Suns Faced Wizards. Suns.com

Former Suns Marion, Ceballos team up on ‘The Amazing Race’. Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns' Josh Jackson playing fewer minutes than other top rookies. Scott Bordow/AZCentral Sports

Alex Len simplified his game in take two of his contract year for Suns. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

TJ Warren by the Numbers. Kyle Clark/94 Feet Report


Suns History in Video


Suns Trivia

The Suns have made a three-pointer in every game since March 29, 2004, a streak of 1,086 straight games. This is the second longest streak in NBA history as the team closes in on the longest all-time. If the Suns continue their streak, they would surpass Dallas (1,108 straight games) for the longest in NBA history in their game on Jan. 29 at Memphis.


Previewing the Week Ahead

Tuesday, December 12 - Phoenix Suns @ Sacramento Kings, 8:00 pm AZ time

Wednesday, December 13 - Phoenix Suns vs Toronto Raptors, 7:00 pm AZ time

Saturday, December 16 - Phoenix Suns @ Minnesota Timberwolves, 6:00 pm AZ time

After a rare two days of rest, the Suns head out to Sacramento to take on the Kings on Tuesday night. Normally I would consider this a fairly equal matchup but with Booker out I have to give the edge to the Kings.

On Wednesday night the Suns return to Phoenix for a rematch with the Toronto Raptors whom they will again be playing on the second night of a back to back. The Suns were having a very tough time against the Raptors in their previous game before Booker's injury so don't expect them to look any better in this game. Hopefully the Suns will continue to play hard and at least keep this from being an easy win for Toronto.

And finally the Suns travel to Minnesota for their third game against the Timberwolves this season. They are 1-1 against Minnesota so far and have averaged scoring 113 points per game against them. But in their last game, Booker sat out with a sore toe and the Suns lost 119-108 in Minnesota. I expect a similar result in this one.

Well, there you have it. I think that the Suns might have a slight chance of pulling out a win in Sacramento but still think that is unlikely and I'm predicting that the Suns go 0-3 this week.

What's your prediction?


Last Week's Poll Results

The poll was, "What do you think that the Suns will do? (regarding Mike James)"

The results were:

16% - Let James go.

40% - Waive another player to open up a spot.

31% - Make a trade to open up a spot.

13% - Find a way to trade James that brings back another PG.

There were a total of 141 votes cast.


This week's poll is

Poll

Should the Suns try to trade for some talent that could help to win now or just tank the rest of the season?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Booker's the real deal! Let's get him some real help NOW!
    (106 votes)
  • 47%
    TANK! The Suns need one more top 5 draft pick.
    (94 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now