On Monday Rod challenged The FanTable to identify the “good,” “bad,” and “ugly,” that we’ve seen from your Phoenix Suns so far this preseason. I will tackle that without the use of advanced statistics and in the most obnoxious way possible.
Your Suns avoiding a losing preseason record for the first time since 2016-17, and you know what? THAT’S NOT NOTHING. I do not care who was playing and who was not playing. Phoenix has had, for a good long while, an identity problem. The were losers. From top to bottom. Everybody. So as the season progresses we’re going to make a great big deal out of successes, regardless of how minor.
We’ve seen good stuff in every matchup. Against Minnesota it was Deandre Ayton going for 18 and 13 which feels right and Elie Okobo certainly impressed. In the loss to the Kings, Jevon Carter shined in his 25 minutes. When the Suns met the Trail Blazers, balanced scoring, and a lot of it, was the story. Seven Suns hit double digits in the 134-118 victory. Denver was a loss, but a spirited one, with Frank Kaminsky contributing his finest performance of the preseason slate.
But let’s not lose sight of the most important thing we saw in early October. Your Suns didn’t get trashed. They might get trashed once the games count. But there’s plenty of reasons to believe that there are good things in front of us.
That first half was pretty bad against Sacramento. I am very much on the fence regarding how much Kelly Oubre Jr. can contribute and his 0-9 performance in 19 minutes did nothing to quell those concerns. To see him bounce back impressively against Portland helped. To see him take a step back against Denver didn’t. I think Oubre represents the biggest question mark with respect to expectations in the upcoming season. That guy can be all over the place.
Turnovers. There were a lot of turnovers. When you turn the ball over the other team has the ball and you cannot score points and many of those are needed to achieve victory. Phoenix must turn the ball over less.
Not going there. Not even putting it into the universe. Things are looking up. Lots of reasons to be encouraged. Things are looking up. Things are looking up. Things are looking up. Keep saying it. Be excited. Be encouraged. Things are looking up. Season starts Wednesday at home against Sacramento.
Things are looking up.
The Chinese government asked NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to terminate the employment of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey which is a sentence I cannot even begin to comprehend.
I did not know that there were people talking about adding a third round to the NBA Draft, but evidently that’s a thing, and Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari is very much against it.
Pranks are the best. Pranks involving pro athletes are better. Pranks involving pro athletes across sports are somehow even better. Here’s Deron Williams pranking Tony Romo.
A lot of this is going to be in the Daryl Morey link above, but apparently the Association lost a crap-ton of money after that ordeal with the Chinese.
Thon Maker’s cousin Makur, ranked as the #10 recruit in the 2020 high school class, has petitioned to be eligible for next year’s NBA Draft.
Forty-six percent of NBA general managers think the Clippers will win it all this season.
They also think Damian Lillard is the “best leader” in the league.
Two more years, 72 million more dollars for Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
Interaction Management platform Podium ranked every arena in the NBA. Talking Stick Resort Arena is slotted at #24. Here’s what they had to say about the home of the Suns:
Originally built in the early 90’s, Talking Stick Arena underwent a $68M renovation in 2003 and has plans for another major renovation currently approved by the Phoenix City Council and is in the planning stages. For the time being, the arena is in the bottom quartile from reviewers, most three to four star reviews citing age related issues, such as “Arena was fine. A little old, but fine” and concession prices. The positives noted were around how easy it was to get to the arena via the light rail stop outside and it’s location in the heart of downtown Phoenix.
Vince Carter, at 42-years-old, wants to appear in all 82 Atlanta Hawks games this season.
What I’m reading: Wrapping up The Topeka School by Ben Lerner this weekend. Next is New People by Danzy Senna.
What I’m playing: Psyvariar Delta on the Nintendo Switch, a shoot-em-up originally released in 2000.
What I’m listening to: Nothing new.
What I’m watching: Last weekend I watched The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a thriller starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman. I recommend.
What I’m Thinking
It is I, National Basketball Association brain and local expert on international diplomacy. I have reached one incontrovertible fact this week.
The NBA should dump its business in China.
“But they’re growing the game!”
That’s garbage. That’s a euphemism for making money and nothing else. And guess what? The NBA isn’t making money. Has in the past. Didn’t this year. And won’t next year. They’re in China because there’s a bunch of people. And a bunch of people means a bunch of money. You place a call to Torgeir Bryn and you go “grow the game” in Norway. You find a whole bunch of Norways and you won’t miss China.
“Ok, but the money!”
Everyone is still going to make truckloads of money. NBA apparel is all over China and that’s not going to change because the Charlotte Hornets and Dallas Mavericks didn’t treat the locals to a 84-78 overtime win. Goods are still going to be made. Goods are still going to be sold. I’m still going to buy those goods from the same places the Chinese shop in hopes that my package doesn’t get stopped at customs.
“But the NBA has had such a long history with China!”
Yeah, not really. The Washington Bullets played a pair of exhibition games in China in 1979. Actual games were not added to the preseason slate until 2004, the top overall pick in the NBA Draft two years prior. Even then it was just two games. From 2005 through 2009 eighteen NBA preseason games were played outside of North America. Only five of those were in China.
This decade 58% of international preseason games were held in China. And I know that may seem like a big number, and I know that may seem like a long time, but it pales in comparison to fighting 70 years of Communist Rule.
So look, this is all getting kind of silly. LeBron James should be able to say whatever the hell he wants. Daryl Morey should be able to say whatever the hell he wants. Adam Silver would be forgiven for getting a little obnoxious, though he’s probably not going to do that.
It can’t be managed. Check out this excerpt from Dave McMenamin’s ESPN article this week.
It was almost like any other NBA game -- except it wasn’t. There were rough patches on the floor where the logos had been scrubbed off. There were no national anthems -- neither American nor Chinese -- before tipoff. And many of the capacity crowd of nearly 16,000 toted handheld Chinese flags that were distributed outside. (A Lakers player, sources said, signed one of the flags that was thrust upon him when he was signing autographs for fans, causing some within the organization to question whether the well-meaning gesture would be taken as an affront on the flag.)
Yeah that’s all too complicated. Pull the plug. Mexico, baby. That’s where it’s at.
“Palestinian and Israeli leaders finally recover the Road Map to Peace, only to discover that, while they were looking for it, the Lug Nuts of Mutual Interest came off the Front Left Wheel of Accommodation, causing the Sport Utility Vehicle of Progress to crash into the Ditch of Despair.”