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Preview: Suns host Nuggets in Payton’s debut

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns host Denver Nuggets

When: 7:00 PM AZ Time

Where: Here, in Phoenix, at Talking Stick Resort Arena

Why: Because it’s on the schedule

Watch: Fox Sports Arizona (thank our lucky stars it’s not on national TV again)

Listen: to Al McCoy and TK be good soldiers on 98.7 FM

It’s got to be difficult to watch the Phoenix Suns most of the time. And it’s got to be 100 times more difficult to call the game live when your employer’s team is down 100-50 and you’re trying to find the positives for the team with 50. Even neutral announcing (ESPN) and road team announcing (Spurs) had to filter their thoughts as it unfolded live.

I bow to you, radio and TV announcers of Phoenix Suns games.

And I pray for you, die-impossible fans of this Phoenix Suns franchise. We are all quickly becoming zombies, cursed to walk the earth for all time stuck in a purgatory that is neither prideful nor blissfully ignorant.

Let’s hope, for all of our sakes, that the Suns show pride tonight against the Nuggets for their fans, their employees, their announcers, the road team’s announcers and anyone else who happens to come upon this game.

Another 48 point loss is possible. We all know it. It’s happened not once but twice in 56 games, so don’t try to argue otherwise. Let’s just hope the Suns don’t let that happen.

The debut of Elfrid Payton

His press availability is today at around 10:45. Watch social media for live coverage from @brightsidesun and @esidery Evan Sidery, as he transcribes quotes and notes from the event.

Since Devin Booker will be out once again, as well as Tyler Ulis, you can bet there’s no way the Suns are going to roll with Josh Gray and Josh Jackson as the only ball handlers against a Denver backcourt that loves to embarrass the Suns. If it’s not Gary Harris, it’s Jamal Murray shooting 80%.

So, Elfrid Payton will play unless there’s an injury we don’t know about. And since he is being made available after shootaround today, it’s unlikely we will hear he is out.

In fact, Payton might play 40 minutes given the other alternatives. And if we are lucky, he will at least come close to posting his 9th career triple double. Lord knows the Suns need SOME kind of production.

We might also see extra playing time for the Suns second round rookies, and we can only hope they fare better as the season goes along. Right now, Alec Peters is shooting a whopping 7% from the field (not a typo. It’s really a 7) and Davon Reed is shooting 21%. Come on guys. Give us the tiniest hope okay?

We can also hope that T.J. Warren has a good game. He’s been consistently getting 20+ points a game for the past few weeks but slumped hard to only 11 points in 29 minutes the other night. Given the Suns other scoring options, we can’t have T.J. struggling too.


Finally, the Suns will have a point guard that at least stands closer in height than half a foot shorter than Murray. Elfrid Payton is long - 6’4” tall, 6’7” wingspan - but he’s been a poor defender otherwise in his career - a disappointing development from a guy who was supposed to have all the tools to average to respectable in that area. Let’s hope he’s got the juice to keep Murray and Harris under 80% shooting at least.

Also, we get to see Trey Lyles - who has new life with the Nuggets after struggling to fit with the Jazz - make the Suns own Top-8 draft picks look like they’ve looked all season. Don’t drool too hard. He has a lot less pressure on him in Denver than Bender and Chriss have in Phoenix. Meanwhile, let’s hope Chriss ups his shooting from the embarrassing 30% from the field he’s been shooting for a couple weeks now.

Final Word

Just don’t lose by 50, guys

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