clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Center of the Sun: The Phoenix Suns finally play the young guys

New, comments

And the young guns mostly look good together on the court

Phoenix Suns v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

@ Chicago Bulls L/OT (128-121) Full Recap

@ Milwaukee Bucks L (100-96) Full Recap

The Suns have turned over the keys to the franchise to the young guns for the past two games and they've looked good playing together. They haven't won a game yet but to me they look more like a team out on the court than a random collection of players.

It's really a shame that Dragan Bender isn't able to play. I'm sure the Suns won't rush him back but I bet that we'll get a chance to see how Dragan works out with this new scheme before the season ends. It's been just under three weeks since his surgery and the estimated recovery time was 4-6 weeks. That means that he could be ready to return as early as March 8th which would allow him to play in the last eighteen games of the season. Or if it takes the full six weeks then he would be back on March 22nd which would allow him to play in the last eleven games. He did not have major surgery so I doubt that he will miss the entire rest of the season.

Key Stat

34 minutes, 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block

Alan Williams played a damn fine game against Milwaukee getting a career high 17 points just two days after getting a then career high 16 points against the Bulls. He has some short comings but he could very well be more than an end of the bench cheerleader that many thought he was at the beginning of the season. At 6'8" he'll never be a starting NBA center but he plays smart and uses his 260 lbs to his advantage against taller but lighter opponents. He also has a nice shooting touch. In just the two games the Suns played this week he's made 68.2% of his shots. If he can keep this up I think that he will prove that he can be a very good rotation player. For the season Alan is hitting 57.8% of his shots.

Stats courtesy of ESPN.

Quote of the Week

"Going through the process we’re going through now is not easy, for sure, but at the same time, that’s how the championship teams recently have been built, or that’s how they’ve been built the most sustainable. It’s great to make deals and to wheel and deal… but some of the elite players that were available or were potentially available, their contracts are coming to an end soon and we just couldn’t risk mortgaging the future of the franchise on a short-term play without any assurances we’d be able to keep that player beyond the next year or two." - Ryan McDonough

Rookie Report

Marquese Chriss - 24.8 mpg, 12.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.0 bpg

Tyler Ulis - 13.4 mpg, 4.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.5 spg

Derrick Jones Jr. - 12.2 mpg, 4.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg

Dragan Bender - OUT INDEFINITELY

Stats courtesy of NBA.com

News & Notes

Suns center Alan Williams continues to put up big numbers every chance he gets. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

Big Sauce Scores Career-High in Overtime Loss. Suns/NBA.com

Phoenix Suns Forward T.J. Warren Is Due For An NBA Breakout. Hoops Nation

Drake, 2K and Netflix: Five moments at home with the Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker & Tyler Ulis). Bleacher Report

Espo: Thanks P.J. Tucker. Sports 360 AZ

Ryan McDonough Talks NBA Trade Deadline Moves (video). Suns/NBA.com

Suns GM: Monster deal was offered, but big trade would be more likely in summer. Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns now enter ‘a critical point’ of their season. Arizona Sports

Suns Trivia

After less than two full seasons in the NBA (a total of 133 games played) Devin Booker ranks 24th on the all-time list of the number of three point shots made as a Phoenix Sun (206) in the regular season. Only Quentin Richardson (21st) is ahead of Booker with fewer games played as a Sun. Richardson played one season for the Suns and hit 226 three point shots in 79 games. Three other current Suns players have totals that rank ahead of Booker on this list. Leandro Barbosa ranks 3rd with 744 made threes in 540 games played, Jared Dudley ranks 7th with 489 made threes in 397 games played and Eric Bledsoe ranks 18th with 276 made threes in 212 games played.

Stats courtesy of Land of Basketball.com

And a last nod to P.J. Tucker's contributions to the Suns

P.J. Tucker had a career-high 16 rebounds vs. New Orleans on Feb. 13 and had a career-high seven steals vs. Milwaukee on Feb. 4. Tucker is the only player in the NBA this season with both a 16-rebound game and a seven-steal game. Tucker’s seven steals were the most by a Suns player since Shawn Marion had eight vs. Minnesota on Feb. 6, 2006, and he is one of only seven NBA players (Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade, John Wall, Draymond Green, Marcus Smart) to have at least seven steals in a game this season.

As much as I hated trading P.J. after seeing that the Suns really are going all in on the youth movement for the rest of the season I'm now glad that he got traded. P.J. would have hated sitting on the bench for the rest of the year and it probably would have hurt his chances at getting one last really good contract at the end of the season.

Reverse Standings

Since the Suns are headed to the lottery again I've decided to give you weekly updates on the reverse standings for lottery teams.

1. Brooklyn Nets (9-49)

2. Phoenix Suns (18-40), 9.0 GB

3. LA Lakers (19-40), 9.5 GB

4. Orlando Magic (22-38), 12.0 GB

5. Philadelphia 76ers (22-36), 13.0 GB

6. Minnesota Timberwolves (23-36), 13.5 GB

7. New Orleans Pelicans (23-36), 13.5 GB

8. Dallas Mavericks (23-35), 14.0 GB

9. New York Knicks (24-35), 14.5 GB

10. Portland Trail Blazers (24-33), 15.5 GB

11. Sacramento Kings (25-34), 15.5 GB

12. Charlotte Hornets (25-33), 16.0 GB

13. Milwaukee Bucks (25-31), 17.0 GB

14. Miami Heat (27-32), 17.5 GB

The Boston has the right to swap picks with Brooklyn this year. The Lakers’ pick goes to Philadelphia if it falls out of the top 3. Philadelphia also has the right to swap picks with Sacramento this year as long as that pick falls within the top 10. If Sacramento's pick falls out of the top 10 it goes to Chicago. New Orleans' pick goes to Sacramento if it falls out of the top 3.

These numbers are courtesy of Hoops Rumors.

Previewing the Week Ahead

Tuesday, February 28th @ Memphis Grizzlies (35-25)

Thursday, March 2nd vs Charlotte Hornets (25-34)

Friday, March 3rd vs Oklahoma City Thunder (34-25)

Sunday, March 5th vs Boston Celtics (38-21)

Back to the grind of the regular NBA schedule. The Suns have four games this week but after a single road game at the beginning the next three games are the start of a five game home stretch then one game on the road, three more games at home and then a brutal six game road trip to the East. I suppose we should be thankful that all but one of the games on the road in March are against Eastern Conference teams as the Suns have a much better record against them than Western Conference teams. But if you are one of the many fans hoping for the highest possible pick in the draft this might not be a good thing.

On Tuesday the Suns finish up their post All-Star break road trip in Memphis. The Grizzlies made zero changes at the trade deadline so the youth movement Suns team will face the same Grizzlies team that's already beaten the more veteran laden Suns lineup twice this season. I have to give this game to the Griz.

On Thursday the Suns return home to face the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets have been fading as the season goes on and I think that the Suns have a good shot at winning this game.

Friday night the Suns host the OKC Thunder. On the second night of a back-to-back the Suns have no chance in this game even playing at home. The thunder are just too good... especially with the new additions they brought aboard at the trade deadline.

Finally the Boston Celtics come to Phoenix for a Sunday afternoon game. I see no way that the Suns come out of this game with a win.

I expect the Suns to go 1-3 this week but 0-4 is certainly possible.

How do you think the Suns will fare this week?