Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
I said at the beginning of the season that this would be an emotional roller-coaster ride for Suns fans and so far the Suns haven’t disappointed in that respect. Each of the three games last week took the ride to different levels. The Brooklyn game was the low and the Celtics game was a thrilling but short-lived high. The Pelicans game was a series of ripples where the Suns kept us wondering if they might be able to get back into the game over and over until the fourth quarter collapse.
It’s not just the games that keep us wondering though. There are still more questions than answers surrounding this team. Every fan has his or her own questions and almost every fan has an answer to them all... but their answers are still just conjecture no matter how certain they are about their own accuracy.
What we all want are real answers. There are plenty of good reasons why we don’t always get them but it’s still frustrating. Unfortunately, we aren’t privy to the inner workings or future plans of the Suns. It would make the life of fans much easier if we were though.
Don’t we all wish that we knew what is really going on with the Suns?
There are plenty of questions that I would love to ask but many of those that I really want answers to would probably be sidestepped, answered in such a vague way that I probably wouldn’t actually know any more than before I asked it or just not answered at all. But if we could ask those type of hard questions and actually get straight answers to them, what would we ask?
That’s what I asked of the Fantable this week.
Fantable Questions of the Week
Something different this week. Instead of me asking questions of the Fantable, I asked them for the questions that they would ask of anyone in the Suns organization if they had the opportunity AND were guaranteed to get honest answers.
GuarGuar: 1. Igor Kokoskov, how can you have such a big miscommunication on the last play in regulation of the Boston game? All your players thought the call was switch, and you said the call was to foul. The call clearly should have been to foul, but that isn’t what happened. How can such a big miscommunication happen?
2. James Jones/Robert Sarver, how do we still not have a point guard in November? When McDonough made the Knight trade in September, it was a clear tanking move unless we acquired another PG. That has not happened and we have suffered mightily because of it. Why/How do we still not have a PG?
3. James Jones, there was a report that LeBron called you to speed up the Tyson Chandler buyout. Why are you taking calls and helping division rivals??? Does your relationship with LeBron matter that much that you make decisions to hurt the team? I understand the Tyson buyout but what was the point of speeding it up to help the Lakers?
4. Ryan Anderson, how did you forget to shoot? You are around a career 40% three-point shooter and you suddenly are shooting 25% when you arrive here. How does this happen? Are you still injured?
5. Josh Jackson, what did you work on this summer? You vacationed for about a month after Summer League, and the results are showing as you look to have seriously regressed. Can you get back to being a competent level basketball player?
6. Deandre Ayton, why are you afraid to use your body? It looks like you genuinely don’t know you are 7’1” 250. We need to see a better defensive effort and more aggression. If your slogan is #BullySZN, you need to show it.
Sun-Arc: I am picturing this as a ‘truth serum’ press conference of sorts where EVERYone involved with the team is present.
1. Question directed to Sarver: What was your “big board” of coaching choices for hire? I’m really curious where Igor fell on the pecking order here, given what we heard about courting Bud, Fizdale, and potentially others.
2. Question directed to Sarver: Follow up query; What was the offer to Bud, and why did Budenholzer reject the Suns’ offer? Same for Fizdale. If there were no offers- where and why did discussion end? Conjecture on the reasons if need be.
3. Question directed to Sarver: How much are you involved with decisions revolving around the team, regarding (for instance) trades, draft picks, and who the coaches play during games? In particular, I’m curious why Chandler was given playing time for the first seven games of the season. If it was to ‘showcase’ his talents, that seemed to backfire gloriously as he totally sucked.
4. Question directed to Sarver, Jones, Igor, Booker, and Ariza (give us individual answers, please): Why do so many of the players seem to ‘checked out’ during so many games, and where does this problem stem from?
5. Follow up question directed to Booker: Do you regret signing the offer from the Suns, and would you have rather rejected it and hit the free agency after a 5th year qualifying offer?
6. Question directed to Deandre Ayton, Bridges, and Okobo: What do you feel is the vibe around this team thus far- and where do you feel there is dysfunction versus function?
7. Question directed to Eddie Johnson, Tom Leander, and Tom Chambers: Having been around the team for so long, through thick and thin, is this the worst shape you’ve seen the Suns in - and what do you see as the biggest problems of the organization?
8. Question directed to Aaron Nelson: Why is it that you could rejuvenate old guys like Grant Hill, Steve Nash, and Shaquille O’Neal yet can’t keep young fit guys like Booker and TJ healthy and playing?
9. Question directed to Sarver: Given that you are the only constant during through all this turnover and historic suck-fest by a once-great organization, under what circumstances would you be willing to sell the team and how soon might that possibly happen?
SDKyle: 1. Coach Kokoskov: The Suns have the worst offense in the league to this point: dead last in both points per game and per 100 possessions. From where you stand, what’s the biggest problem?
2. Coach Kokoskov: Is Deandre Ayton being too timid on both ends, or is he often relatively quiet for some other reason?
3. Devin Booker: You’ve talked about being done missing the playoffs, and many people have said they expect you to be an all-star this season. Both outcomes are looking less likely. What is your frustration level and to what extent do you consider yourself accountable?
4. James Jones: Are the Suns willing to give up real assets to obtain a legitimate point guard this season, or has the front office shifted its thinking to focus on doing that in the offseason?
5. Coach Kokoskov: The Suns’ veterans have mostly played terribly. We’ve already seen a sharp drop in minutes for Ryan Anderson and you’ve used a huge variety of lineups and rotation strategies. Are you any closer to figuring this out?
6. Robert Sarver: This has been the most miserable several years in Suns history, and some have blamed your micromanaging style. Are you prepared to take a step back if thats whats needed for the franchise to flourish, or is it your philosophy that your employees should adapt to your management style?
SouthernSun: 1. To James Jones: Why have you not traded for a decent point guard yet?
2. To James Jones: Why have you not traded for a decent point guard yet?
3. To James Jones: Why have you not traded for a decent point guard yet?
4. To Josh Jackson: Why didn’t you join T.J. Warren in doing nothing all summer but shooting threes?
5. To Trevor Ariza: Is this what you expected and why aren’t you having the positive impact many expected you would and why on earth do you seem pissed all the time you agreed to this?
6. To Ryan Anderson: Dude, what in the crap happened to you? Did the monstars steal your basketball skills? Space Jam 2 isn’t even in production yet.
7. To Robert Sarver: Why are you so hands on? Do you not see that other owners don’t do that? Why? Why are you so much more awful than almost every other owner?
8. To Robert Sarver: Why do you insist on not paying talented GMs and coaches the money required to get them?
9. To James Jones: Why on earth would you just buy out Chandler instead of holding onto him in case a trade came along that his expiring salary would be helpful in? LeBron can do nothing for you.
10. To James Jones: Why have you not traded for a decent point guard yet?
Alex Sylvester: 1. Devin: Are you truly happy? I know money talks, but are you going to be able to stick this out the entire year if we don’t upgrade our PG situation?
2. Deandre: How’s that Kobe/Shaq coming along? You sure seemed to imply you’d play a similar style to the Big Diesel but your play of late resembles something entirely different.
3. James Jones: What’s it going to take to give in and overpay for a PG?
4. Sarver: What would it take for this community to get you to sell the team?
5. Ariza: You having fun yet?
As always, many thanks to our Fantable - GuarGuar, SDKyle, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex Sylvester - for all their input!
What questions would you ask if you had the opportunity?
All the Team Statistics
While I usually focus on one statistic (either for the team or a player) here, this week I discovered that the Suns rank in the lower half of all NBA teams in virtually every traditional statistic. In many they are in the bottom five. The one single stat I could find that they were actually good in was free throw percentage (seventh at 80.2%) is negated to an extent because the Suns also rank 26th in getting to the free throw line. As a team, the Suns have nothing that they can point to and call it a strength.
Weekly Book Report
35.7 mpg, 24.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 6.4 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.1 bpg, 4.8 TO, 3.6 PF
44.4% FG%, 33.3% 3P%, 84.2 FT%
Random Stats: Per 36 Minutes, Mikal Bridges is averaging 2.4 steals per game. If that average were to hold true if he was actually playing those minutes per game, he would be tied for third in steals. (The top five NBA players in steals per game are all averaging 35.5 minutes per game or more.)
Statistics courtesy of NBA.com and/or Basketball-Reference.com.
Brooklyn Nets vs Phoenix Suns - Full Game Highlights
Boston Celtics vs Phoenix Suns - Full Game Highlights
Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans - Full Game Highlights
Quote of the Week
”The only thing you can possibly do is just try to win. That’s just our mentality. Win. Win. Win. I was speaking to Book, I’m like we need to take over. Let’s start taking over. Let’s really do it. We’re not in training camp anymore. Let’s really show the world what we can do.” - Deandre Ayton
Deandre Ayton - 32.5 mpg, 16.1 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.8 bpg, 2.0 TO, 2.6 PF
Mikal Bridges - 17.8 mpg, 6.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.8 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.1 bpg, 0.8 TO, 1.7 PF, 37.1% 3PT
Elie Okobo - 15.3 mpg, 6.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.1 bpg, 1.1 TO, 2.2 PF, 28.0% 3PT
De’Anthony Melton - Assigned to NAZ Suns
- NAZ stats - 36.0 mpg, 18.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.8 bpg, 5.0 TO, 3.5 PF, 25.0% 3PT
George King - Assigned to NAZ Suns
- NAZ stats - 37.8 mpg, 16.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 3.3 TO, 2.8 PF, 43.8% 3PT
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
De’Anthony Melton back with Phoenix following G League triple-double. Tom Kuebel/Arizona Sports
Phoenix Suns’ TJ Warren still scoring in Igor Kokoskov’s offense. Duane Rankin/Arizona Republic
Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker is becoming more of an all-around player. Joseph Barrett/Sir Charles in Charge
Suns still looking for stability at point guard. Brinkwire
Phoenix Suns: Mikal Bridges, the rookie who needs more love. Gerald Bourguet/Hoops Habit
The Suns are bad again, and Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton aren’t happy about it. Yahoo! Sports
This Week in Suns History
On November 14, 1997, Phoenix’s 140-139 quadruple overtime win against the Portland Trail Blazers was the eighth such event in NBA history, and the first since Golden State defeated New Jersey 150-147 February 1, 1987.
On November 17, 2000, Jason Kidd tied the NBA record for turnovers in a game when he turned the ball over 14 times in a 90-85 loss to New York.
Back during the 1999-2000 season, the Suns actually played good defense and held their opponents to a league-low 93.7 points per game en route to a 53-29 season record.
Previewing the Week Ahead
Monday, November 12 - Phoenix Suns @ Oklahoma City Thunder, 6:00 pm AZT
Wednesday, November 14 - Phoenix Suns vs San Antonio Spurs, 7:00 pm AZT
Saturday, November 17 - Phoenix Suns vs Oklahoma City Thunder, 7:00 pm AZT
The Suns have another three tough games this week against two of the better teams in the West.
The Suns start the week on the road at OKC on Monday night and then finish it against them at home on Saturday. Sandwiched in between those two games is another home against the Spurs. The Suns have already faced both of these teams this season and lost each meeting with them... at home. But Devin Booker was sidelined with a hamstring pull during both of those games.
The Thunder were on a seven game win streak (that started with their 117-100 win against the Suns) until losing 111-96 to Dallas on Saturday night. Russell Westbrook has missed their last three games with an ankle sprain but might be ready to return to action against Phoenix. Whether he plays or not, I don’t think that the Suns are good enough to get a win against OKC on the road.
On Wednesday the Spurs return to Phoenix. In their first meeting - also in Phoenix - they handed the Suns their worst loss of the season, 120-90. They’ve gone 2-2 since then with their two losses against the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat which are both 5-7 with wins against the Pelicans and Rockets. In the Suns’ first loss to the Spurs, they were without Devin Booker and played horrid defense. Perhaps the Suns will have better luck this time with Booker back... and if they put out the same sort of defensive effort we’ve seen of them lately.
On Saturday the Suns face the Thunder for the third time this season. At home and with Booker playing, perhaps there is a chance for a win. For that to happen it’s going to take strong performances by the Suns on both sides of the court.
This week, I think the Suns will go 0-3. I’d like to have a more positive outlook on these three upcoming games but so far I haven’t seen enough positives from the team to give me a much confidence in them.
What’s your prediction?
Last Week’s Poll Results
The poll was “Do you still have any faith/belief that this season will get better as it goes on?”
63% - Yes.
30% - Some but I’m still skeptical.
07% - No.
There were a total of 320 votes cast.
This week’s poll is...
How many games will the Suns’ current losing streak (now at three games) get to before it ends?
This poll is closed
It ends at 3!
4 to 6 games.
6 to 10 games.
More than 10 games.