I’ve been seeing a lot of “bold prediction” type articles for the 2017-18 season about almost every team in the NBA so I thought we at Bright Side of the Sun might as well join in. Since some of the things that I’ve read in other articles either made me roll my eyes and/or laugh out loud, I asked the Fantable to join me in coming up with our own lists of the five boldest predictions we can come up with for this season.
I told the guys that I wanted them to feel free to have some fun with this assignment so be forewarned. They were told that there was no need to try to back up any of your predictions with any boring facts if they didn’t want to and their predictions could be good or bad, about the entire team, a single player, the coaches, the front office, the owner... well ANYTHING that's related to the Suns. The only requirement was that everyone made 5 bold predictions... and bold could (and maybe should) be interpreted as outrageous... and humorous was fine too.
Nothing was out of bounds.
So without further ado, here are our bold predictions for this season.
1) Devin Booker will score 35+ leading the Suns to a win in Dallas on April 10th 2018 to spoil Dirk's final career game and PROPEL THE SUNS INTO THE 8TH SEED AND SNAP THE DROUGHT!
2) Earl Watson will finish top 5 in coach of the year voting.
3) Josh Jackson's offensive game will be better than TJ Warren's THIS season.
4) Marquese Chriss will have a tremendous season and emerge as a possible future All-Star and have LESS than 10 technical fouls this season.
5) The Suns steal Game 1 at Golden State and turn the entire NBA world into a crazy frenzy! (But then lose the series in 5).
1. Dragan Bender will look like a damn fine #4 pick by season's end.
And by that I mean he'll look like a #4 pick should look out of the gate - just that it took him nearly two seasons to get there. He won't be impressive the way Porzingis is/was. He'll do it with an all-around game, scoring less than the original Unicorn, but passing, defending, and helping the team run better with his time on the court. I look at his second Summer League and see a guy that grew by leaps and bounds as the week went on. His confidence went way up, as did his stat sheet. He'll be a starter by season's end alongside Marquese Chriss.
2. Josh Jackson will be ROY and his shooting will surprise people - in a good way.
His energy, defense, and passing alone may be enough to get him there. But I think his shooting will be better than his critics expect. I don't expect him to hit more than 34% of his 3's, but that will be enough to go along with hitting shots from a wide variety of spots within the perimeter. Plus, the guy will be able to create his own shot at the NBA level. His footwork is amazing, he's got a great handle and blazing speed. I think he surprises a lot of people and we see his highlights regularly on NBA.com's top 10.
3. Eric Bledsoe gets traded to the Cav's for BKN's pick and Tyler Ulis takes over.
The Cavs will make another effort to appease LBJ by bringing in his friend. Maybe Thomas' hip has issues- or maybe he's moved (again) in this trade with a third team. In any case, Ulis will be good enough starting the 2nd half of the season to make people question whether he's our PG of the future. He'll average 16, 4, & 11 and have the team humming on offense. Though getting abused by taller opposing guards on the regular will still have the team searching for answers, even with Jackson helping out on guys like Lonzo Ball and Elfrid Payton. Because, problem is Josh has other people to guard too and Ulis can't cover Brandon Ingram or Aaron Gordon. Still, Ulis is very impressive in his court time. Maybe we are able to use our pick and BKN's to snag a top 3 and get Luka Doncic or our new starting center.
4. Alec Peters plays with the team and starts to carve out a role.
He will start the season with NAZ and I believe he will play really well. He will come over to the regular team after New Years and will continue to impress while playing against bench players in limited minutes. The guy is smart and talented. If you look at his college years, he had a bevy of moves to get his shots. While he's not quick or athletic, he is smart and savvy enough to make an impact. His shooting is definitely needed and his defense is fairly effective in team concepts. A little like Luis Scola though probably less floppy. He can likely play alongside either Chriss, Bender, or Alan Williams.
5. Davon Reed becomes a mainstay and plays so well the FO trades TJ Warren.
When Reed returns to the court he will impress to the point that he will become a fan favorite and earn 24 mpg by season's end. It may take him a few games to come back to form after the injury, but when he does he'll show he's NBA ready. A positive on both ends, coaches will love what he does with his minutes. He improves the D and can help cover for Devin Booker when he plays alongside him. So much so the coaches find a wing rotation of Booker, JJ, and Reed works best, making TJ expendable. My guess is TJ plays well enough to haul in a good trade value - hopefully another first round 2018 pick (maybe from a 3rd team and TJ goes to the Cavs along with Bled). Maybe that 3rd first rounder is enough to move up to get that top 3 pick for Doncic or center.
1. Devin Booker will be among the league's top 20 scorers, but will get less national attention than Lonzo Ball.
2. Alex Len will still suck. He'll get playing time, and he will show flashes of what I guess we can still call his "potential" (a 15 point 12 rebound game early in the season, perhaps), but when all is said and done he'll still be a bench-quality center with an uncertain future.
3. Josh Jackson will have some kind of emotional outburst/physical altercation with an opposing player early in the season, and it will cause everyone to start talking about the car-kicking incident all over again. When Markieff Morris tweets something supportive at Jackson, the narrative will really get carried away and take months to go away.
4. The Suns will narrowly maintain their reign as technical foul champions, thanks to a strong sophomore showing from Marquese Chriss and impressive rookie campaign from Jackson.
5. Earl Watson's schmaltzy autobiography/motivational book will shoot to the top of the NYT bestseller list, instantly making him far more successful as a writer than he may ever be as a basketball coach. Sensing he has come to a crossroads in his life, Earl announces his retirement from coaching and pursues a Tony Robbins-like career charging people $1,500 bucks to hear him give a couple of days worth of lectures at hotel ballrooms nationwide.
1. Josh Jackson will average over 10ppg.
2. Tyler Ulis will be involved in a controversial scientific experiment, grow 4 inches, and instantly become a rotation caliber NBA player.
3. Eric Bledsoe will not be traded this season, and will actually get a contract extension next summer.
4. Devin Booker will average over 25ppg.
5. Dragan Bender will not look completely useless and lost while playing basketball for the Phoenix Suns.
Rod Argent’s Predictions
1. Devin Booker will NOT come to training camp looking like this.
2. Josh Jackson will vow to not cut his hair until the Suns make the playoffs...
... which may take a while.
3. Alan Williams will finally cash in on his nickname, Big Sauce, with a product endorsement deal.
4. Dragan Bender will be offered the lead role in a low-budget fantasy film titled "The Dragon Bender".
It will go straight to video... even in Croatia.
5. After the All-Star break the Suns will tank the rest of the season and sign the Gorilla to a 10-day contract...
... but he will be let go at the end of it because he plays too well.
A special thanks to GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle and SouthernSun for all their contributions to both this article and BSotS!