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Center of the Sun: Suns go 0-4 in Week 2, now 1-5 for the season

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Can they break their losing streak this week?

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

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

@ Golden State Warriors L (123-103) Full Recap

vs LA Lakers L (131-113) Full Recap

@ Memphis Grizzlies L (117-96)

@ Oklahoma City Thunder L (117-110) Full Recap

The Suns are a terrible basketball team.

There is a long laundry list of things they need, need to do and need to not do. They need a starting caliber point guard, they need to hustle more getting back on defense, they need to hustle and give more effort on defense period, they need to stop tossing lazy/careless passes that result in turnovers, they to start feeding the ball to Deandre Ayton first and then look for three point shots if Ayton passes the ball back out...

I could go on but I doubt that I really need to spell it all out for you. The Suns are a mess and those of you that have the intestinal fortitude to watch most of their games beyond halftime have my respect.

The Suns have some very good players but for some reason they can’t seem to put the pieces that they have together to form a good team. It’s still very early in the season and I hope that they will figure things out and get better as the season goes on but please do not tell me to be patient... again.

I love this team but I’ve almost grown to hate watching them play.

But I keep coming back, always hoping that next time they won’t disappoint me even though they usually do.

I blame Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton for me not being able to just walk away from this dysfunctional relationship I have with the Suns. These two are really good and are just going to continue to get better. But other than Booker, Ayton and T.J. Warren, the Suns have players that fall into two categories: 1) Players with “potential” and 2) “Placeholders.”

Over the past few seasons we’ve seen many youngsters with “potential” come to the Suns through the draft and so many of them have disappointed us that they fail to excite me anymore. Show me that this “potential” can be realized on the court and then I’ll get excited.

”Placeholder” is a term I use for the aging veterans on the team. Veteran leadership is valuable but for so far it seems to have had little effect in Phoenix. Perhaps that will change as the season goes on but that hope falls under the heading of “potential” to me and I’ve already told you all my opinion of that. The 30 and over vets essentially have one season to supply that leadership.

Trevor Ariza, Tyson Chandler and Jamal Crawford are all likely to be gone at the end of this season and Ryan Anderson may join them as well. Troy Daniels (27), Isaiah Canaan (26) and Richaun Holmes (25) are also on contracts that run out at the end of this season so, if the Suns decide to part ways with all seven of these players, that would leave T.J. Warren (25) as the oldest remaining Suns player.

The Suns will certainly add more vets to fill out the roster in the offseason but, if they continue to play as badly as they have so far, I doubt the quality of those vets will even equal that of those they presently have. That thought obviously does not ease my apprehension regarding the future of this team.

Fortunately, that point is quite far away and there is still plenty of time for the Suns to turn things around this season. Some sort of progress needs to be seen soon though. Suns fans deserve better than living through another lost season.


Fantable Questions of the Week

No other NBA team is really interested in trading players with the Suns right now BUT...

1. Would you rather overpay for a starting point guard (just a good starter, not an All-Star) now or tough it out, wait until the trade deadline approaches and hope for a better deal?

2. Which Suns players (that have value) would you offer up in a trade?

3. What would it take in return for you to offer the Suns’ unprotected 2019 1st round pick in a trade?

GuarGuar: 1. I would rather overpay for a starting point guard right now, as long as that player has a solid contract or is expiring. Our team is absolutely brutal without a starting caliber PG right now. We can’t have another 20-win season. We need to improve and make strides if we really want to get back in the playoffs soon. Booker overworking himself is not good for his health and this team. Ayton needs somebody who can consistently get him the basketball. When the Rockets trade first happened I said it was a tanking move if we didn’t get a point guard. Well, here we are.

2. Everyone outside of Booker, Ayton, and Mikal is available in my eyes. If Josh continues this horrible level of play it might be wise to cash out on him now while he has some value. It would be drastically awful if he turned into a Bender/Chriss/Len where we waited so long (while they continued to suck) that nobody wants them. Josh still has value and it might be wise to deal him if he continues to struggle. I’m not suggesting we trade Josh, but it’s a valid thought.

3. As of right now the Suns look like a bottom-three team in the West again, and that makes it very difficult to part ways with with an unprotected first rounder this season. It would have to be for a young star player, and probably none are available at this point. If we are going to make a trade we really need to make it soon. This season could get out of hand pretty quickly.

Sun-Arc: 1. I think the obvious answer is we would all like an all-star, young, vet PG RIGHT now. But that’s extremely unlikely to happen. I’m not sure what the hold up is- but sounded like McD was only offering up second-round picks in exchange for players like Patrick Beverley and Terry Rozier. Gee, I wonder why no one took the bait?

But it really is a matter of value. Beverley will be a UFA next summer and could walk to a contending team like GSW even if we offer more money than they do. So - low value there.

Goran Dragic may fit in extremely well here, but he’s getting old (32.5 yrs old) and winding down somewhat with a $19 million player option next year. I’m really not sure what value he has on that contract for us because it leaves us with question marks in (probably) the summer of 2020. Maaaybe Elie Okobo or De’Anthony Melton becomes a starter in that time (though I’m would not bet on it), but if not we are in the same boat. Don’t we want a long-term answer at the position? So, not a TON of value for us with Goran, but some value for sure.

Rozier, on the other hand, looks legit. Boston LOVES him, though. And I’m not totally sure Danny Ainge wouldn’t rather keep Rozier and have Kyrie Irving walk rather than give him some huge max contract. But Scary Terry has value for us; he’s the right age, skill set, quality, and if we could for sure keep him long term, he’s likely the answer. Problem is, he’s not long-term because he’s on an expiring. So he could walk as an RFA to any team that Boston would decline to match (in order to keep Irving, Horford, etc). Would he pick the Suns? Again - I’m not betting the farm on it. So’... again there is the question of value. Though if there were assurances I would pay handsomely for him. I just don’t think there will be assurances.

These are the reasons a deal has not yet gone down. Hard to set the right value both teams can agree on and all of those teams may very well want to keep these players for the foreseeable future.

For this entire discussion I’m thinking we want a PG sooner rather than later. I have no idea if Boston is going to make Rozier available in February, so this is all ASAP. Because... Damn, we really need something better than what we have.

2. My problem is there are no current Suns players that have value that I would want to trade. T.J. Warren’s three-point shot makes him way more valuable at his contract level. I still have hopes for JJ (not totally sure why). Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges are untouchable for me. Not that I wouldn’t trade any of these guys- but it would really depend on the player and their contract situation.

For Beverley I’d give Troy Daniels, Jamal Crawford, or Isaiah Canaan. Not sure I’d put in more than a second rounder either.

For Dragic I’d give salary filler for the trade such as Tyson Chandler, Ryan Anderson, Dragan Bender - or the others mentioned above - and in this case if we knew he would stay the second year (and we wanted that) I’d offer the MIL pick or our 2019 FRP, because there is some high value there with the Igor/Dragic relationship.

For Scary Terry I’d give a lot IF the assurances are there. Preferably an agreement to an extension. And then I’d offer a Daniels type player with a TON of picks for him. No assurance, then I might offer Daniels and our 2019 or 2020 FRP or the MIL pick. And then hope he falls in love with the team.

3. As it may have seen from my answers above, I’m more game to offer picks than our valued players. I think getting the right PG means our own picks will have less value - therefore I’m more willing to trade them. So my deal would likely be to give more picks than players for the PG of my dreams, in the trade of my dreams.

SDKyle: 1. It depends on the exact nature of the overpay, but at this point...yeah I’m not inclined to wait. This season is already rapidly spiraling into disaster and the idea that we’ll be in better condition to make a deal in a couple of months is one I’m quite skeptical of.

The main reason I’m so inclined to make a deal now is that I think we’re continuing to do this franchise damage each time we go out there and aren’t competitive. As 20-point losses mount who knows what bad could occur? Player relationships deteriorate, 2019 free agents get warned off...I’m tired of waiting just to put a competitive team on the floor.

2. As aggressive as it sounds, right now anyone not named Booker or Ayton can be on the table. At least in the discussion. Warren, Jackson, Bridges, Okobo...all of them. You have to give to get. I’m not going to sit here and say we need to make a deal but can’t give up value for it.

3. To make the pick unprotected I’d want back an all-star quality player, because that’s what I think is fair return on a probable top-six pick. If we need to also throw in a Melton to sweeten the deal, okay. Otherwise I’d want at least a moderate protection on the pick just so we don’t get truly ripped off.

SouthernSun: 1. I would rather overpay for a good starter now. Obviously it would have to be somewhat within reason, but I believe it’s necessary. We have to change the culture here, and sending a new group out there with a new coach implementing a new scheme without having an NBA caliber player at arguably the most important position to an offense is making things even harder than they need to be. Trade whatever pick is necessary. If the Suns suck this year it doesn’t matter how much cap space they have next summer, they won’t get anybody good in free agency.

2. Which players I offer up depends on who the player is coming back. For instance, I’m not trading Josh Jackson or Mikal Bridges for Spencer Dinwiddie (though I’d trade the Bucks pick for him in a heartbeat). Jackson or Bridges would be on the table for Rozier, Kemba, Lillard. For a player like Dinwiddie or Beverly I’d happily trade Okobo or Melton along with matching salary like Daniels and the Bucks pick. Wright is worth that deal as well.

3. I’d honestly be very pleased if the Suns traded that pick unprotected in a deal for Rozier, Kemba, Lillard, or any other fringe all star - all star level guy. Rozier technically isn’t one yet but he’s produced well in the playoffs before. I’d love for the Suns to trade that pick for a good point guard and make it so they didn’t have any incentive at all to tank this season. Thus ensuring they’ll give us as entertaining a product as possible for this whole season. Another season like the last few would be quite a blow to my fandom. I honestly don’t know why I continue to do this to myself. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and talking about this team. I think all of us here who have suffered through this deserve something worth watching. This team has been just unwatchable for years. And only like 10% of the draft picks that came from those horrid seasons have panned out. I say trade the cursed things for a real actual NBA player that can help you win, and not hold onto it to take yet another young guy with “potential.”

Alex Sylvester: 1. Tough it out, here’s why:

Normally when teams enter a season, there aren’t glaring issues league wide that each team has to address. So, if you’re a team like the Suns who fired their GM because he wasn’t able to get a PG, you’re going to be screwed in negations.

It’d be way more optimal for there to be other teams in need of upgrades.

I don’t feel strongly either way though. I’d obviously love to see an actual starting PG take the court alongside Book but I also don’t want the Suns to get completely screwed in a deal.

2. This one is tough. Josh Jackson I guess... but I’m not thrilled in saying this.

JJ might be the only piece that could lead to something intriguing. Most the other pieces the Suns would offer would get minimal in return. JJ should end up being a really good NBA player but it looks like it might take 3+ years for that to happen. Can they afford to wait this long?

3. It would have to be a starting PG but I don’t think there’s a trade possible where you’d get a starting PG for a 1st without involving more pieces. Kemba Walker looks mighty good so far this season, I still love the idea of Terry Rozier, and I wouldn’t trade our first for Beverley... no chance.

As always, many thanks to our Fantable - GuarGuar, SDKyle, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex Sylvester - for all their input!


Key Stats

18.8

That is the Suns’ average for turnovers per game and they are the worst in the NBA in terms of turnovers. They are also bad at getting turnovers from opposing teams, ranking 23rd with only 12.7 per game. They give up an average of 23.7 points per game off of turnovers (29th) while only getting only 13.2 ppg off turnovers themselves. Opponents are outscoring the Suns by 10.5 ppg off of turnovers alone.

Weekly Book Report

34.4 mpg, 27.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.8 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.0 bpg, 5.5 TO, 3.8 PF

50.7% FG%, 38.7% 3P%, 81.8 FT%

With four games played, Booker is 9th in the NBA in points per game, 7th in free throw atempts per game (8.3) and 19th in assists per game. On the down side, he’s leading the NBA in turnovers (5.5). As bad as his turnover numbers are, consider that Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden and Russell Westbrook are tied for second with 5.0 turnovers per game.

Random Stats: T.J. Warren is leading the Suns in three point percentage at 47.8% (on 3.8 attempts per game) and is 25th in the NBA in that category. Warren’s eFG% is 61.3%, second only on the team to Deandre Ayton’s eFG% of 69.6%.

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com and/or Basketball-Reference.com.


Game Highlights

Golden State Warriors vs Phoenix Suns Full Game Highlights

Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns Full Game Highlights

Phoenix Suns vs Memphis Grizzlies Full Game Highlights

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Phoenix Suns Full Game Highlights


Quotes of the Week

”That’s my role, to score down low and be dominant down low and get our shooters open. You start inside-out. I’m surrounded by great shooters. Once there’s a lot of help down low, shooters get open and once we start knocking down shots, it’s hard to defend when I’m down on an island by myself. We’ve just got to keep working on that and really emphasize that in our offense.” - Deandre Ayton

”A lot of times when you don’t play smart, when you have mental breakdowns, it looks like we don’t compete. When you see the game and they make mistakes, it looks like the team is not competing but that’s not the case. We have to play better basketball. We need to play with more force and power.” - Igor Kokoskov


Rookie Report

Deandre Ayron - 31.1 mpg, 17.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 3.8 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.7 bpg, 1.2 TO, 3.0 PF

Mikal Bridges - 15.1 mpg, 5.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.8 TO, 1.7 PF

Elie Okobo - 15.0 mpg, 8.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.3 TO, 3.0 PF

De’Anthony Melton - DNP - Inactive

George King - DNP - Inactive

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.


Bright Side Night Returns!

We are proud to announce the FOURTH annual Bright Side Night, where our community sends deserving and underprivileged children from the Valley to a Phoenix Suns game!

It’s $9 per ticket. No extra fees or charges.

Fill out the one-page form to select the number of tickets you want to donate, and how you’re going to pay.

You will get a confirmation email directly from the Suns about the ticket donation

Click this link to donate: Suns.com/Brightside

And there’s something in it for you too... in addition to the good feeling you’ll get for helping out some deserving kids! For more details, just click on the link above.


News & Notes

Too much thinking or not enough effort from the Phoenix Suns? Kent Somers/Arizona Republic

The Suns Offense Has A Creative Play That Hammers Opponents. UPROXX

NBA Rookie Comparisons: How Deandre Ayton stacks up to Tim Duncan after four games. Sporting News

Is it time for Suns to establish rookie 7-footer Deandre Ayton more in the post? Duane Rankin/Arizona Republic

The Phoenix Suns are a young team. They want to be a good team. Washington Post


This Week in Suns History

On October 30, 1972, new head coach “Butch” van Breda Kolff was fired after coaching just seven games for the Suns (3-4). General Manager Jerry Colangelo took over as head coach for the remainder of the season.

On November 2, 1990, the Phoenix Suns defeated the Utah Jazz 119-96 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Japan in the first regular season game played outside North America by any major professional sports league.


Suns Trivia

Legendary Suns broadcaster Al McCoy once recalled a moment in Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals having Celtics fans surrounding the Suns’ broadcast table. “The guy next to me was enjoying his beer and every time the Celtics made a good play, he’d bang my arm and say, ‘How do you like that?’ During the second overtime when Garfield Heard hit his incredible shot, he passed out in my lap. I’m trying to see what’s going on live on the air and at the same time get this guy out of my lap.”


Previewing the Week Ahead

Wednesday, October 31 - Phoenix Suns vs San Antonio Spurs, 7:30 pm AZT - ESPN

Friday, November 2 - Phoenix Suns vs Toronto Raptors, 7:00 pm AZT

Sunday, November 4 - Phoenix Suns vs Memphis Grizzlies, 6:00 pm AZT

Three games this week and all are at home. Once again, I’m going to make predictions for each game with and without Devin Booker as he is still listed day-to-day following a hamstring pull.

Wednesday night the Spurs come to TSA. The 3-2 Spurs are a better team than the Suns but aren’t quite the same since swapping Kwahi Leonard for DeMar DeRozan. Offensively, they’re still very good with the 10th highest PPG average and 7th in OffRtg (113.1) but defensively they aren’t quite clicking yet. They are actually giving up slightly more points per game than the Suns (118.6 vs 118.0) and also have a worse DefRtg (118.6 vs 116.8). At home and with Booker playing, I think they have a chance at a win. Without Booker, it’s another loss.

On Friday, the new Raptors come to town WITH Kwahi Leonard and a 6-0 record. The Raps are 4th in OffRtg and 10th in DefRtg. With or without Booker, count this one as a loss.

For the final game of the week we get a rematch with the Grizzlies but this time in the Suns’ house. Even after their horrible performance in Memphis last week, I still think this is a winnable game if Booker is playing. If not, it’s probably going to be another loss.

This week I think the Suns will go 0-3 if Devin Booker misses all three games. 1-2 is possible if he returns before the Memphis game and 2-1 is a slight (but unlikely) possibility if he returns for all three.

What’s your prediction?


Last Week’s Poll Results

The poll was “How many rotation minutes should Bridges be getting?”

63% - He needs more than one good game to prove himself. 10-15 minutes a game is good for now.

37% - He should be getting at least 20 minutes a game.

There were a total of 258 votes cast.


This week’s poll is...

Poll

Should the Suns offer their 2019 1st round draft pick in a trade for a starting point guard?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    No.
    (42 votes)
  • 23%
    Only if it’s lottery protected.
    (91 votes)
  • 41%
    Only for a star player.
    (159 votes)
  • 23%
    Yes, whatever it takes to get a good PG.
    (90 votes)
382 votes total Vote Now