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Center of the Sun: Way too early predictions for the opening months of the Suns’ 2019-20 season

Will the Suns get off to a good start?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

If you read Brendon Kleen’s article “ESPN projections currently have the Suns doubling their 2018-19 win total this season” a few days ago then you know that ESPN’s Kevin Pelton has predicted that the Suns will win 38 games this season.

The current predictions from FiveThiryEight have the Suns winning 36 games.

If the Suns could finish this season somewhere between those 38-44 and 36-46 predictions, it would likely be considered a “success” and please many long-suffering fans. Even though that win total wouldn’t get the Suns back to the playoffs, it would be a success of a sort. After four straight years of win totals under 25, it would be a success in the sense that real progress might have finally been made.

But there are also other predictions of less than 30 wins for the Suns.

Of course, we can only speculate for now and the Suns are likely to be one of the most unpredictable teams in the NBA at the moment. The team steadily underwent changes throughout last season with 24 separate players donning the purple and orange and only 6 of those returning for training camp this year. The Suns got a little older and more experienced but they are still a team full of relatively young players (average age - 23.9 years) with less than an overabundance of experience (average experience - 2.8 years).

The Suns also have an entirely new coaching staff ... again. Most praise the hiring of new head coach Monty Williams but he and his staff have a lot to prove themselves. As much as Williams seems to be a huge step up over the recent head coaches that have been hired by the Suns, his career record as a head coach is 173-221 (.439) and he hasn’t been an NBA head coach since 2015.

We hope all these new pieces will fit together and get the franchise back back on the winning path but that’s all it is right now... hope. Only when the season finally begins will we start seeing some evidence of what all these changes will really lead to.

As sports fans, we all love to speculate though and with the release of the 2019-20 season schedule we now have even more to speculate on. This week I’ve asked the Fantable for their opinions on the Suns’ games scheduled through November.

Fantable Questions of the Week

Q1 - What is your prediction for the win/loss totals through November? Also, give your predictions on the individual games.

Summary: End of November FT composite win/loss record - 8.5-9.5

Additional Comments:

GuarGuar: I have us at 9-9 through November. I have us starting out slow at 3-7 though.

Alex Sylvester: I believe this adds up to 9-9 to start? That’s my optimism speaking. I could easily see a range of 5-9 wins depending on how the team looks out the gates.

Rod Argent: I actually think the Suns will probably be at 9-9 or 8-10 at the end of November but I have a “feeling” about the Jazz game that they might get a big surprise win in that one. Logic says no but that feeling just won’t go away.

Q2 - Which game (or games) do you think are most likely to be a big “surprise” win for the Suns?

GuarGuar: I think we can beat Boston at home. We beat them once (should have been twice) last year. We project to be a better team and they project to be worse. I definitely feel we can win at home against them. Philadelphia and Utah are also games I can see us stealing.

Sun-Arc: I think the wins will come mostly at home and against the lower-end opponents. I think people believe Brooklyn will be a good team (because they picked up Kyrie and Durant) but looking at their roster without Durant it doesn’t look all that great. So I think they are beatable in PHX, so that could be a surprise win. Also possibly the Lakers if they don’t gel quickly, but they have a pretty deep team and some talented bigs. So that’s a long shot. Boston may not be as good as last season and we should be better than last year when we beat them in Boston. So that could be a win at home. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if they beat GSW either, just because I think their motivation and kismet may slip this season after losing Durant, Iggy, and Livingston.

SDKyle: I’ll say that 10th game at home against the Lakers. I didn’t officially predict it, but it seems like theres a good chance the Lakers could still be gelling at that point and might also continue to take the Suns lightly. The national pundits are already stenciling the Lakers in for a WCF berth, so a win there would look big for the Suns.

SouthernSun: Miami will be a bit of a surprise win. Mainly because they have Jimmy Butler. But they have very little beyond him. I think the Suns may actually have more overall talent than the Heat this season. But they have Jimmy, and the Suns have been putrid for years now, so it may come as a bit of an early season surprise.

They probably won’t win, but I think the Suns will give the Warriors a run for their money when they play. Steph will emerge victorious, but Book will go shot for shot with him for stretches, and Rubio will keep Russell in check. They won’t have an answer for Ayton down low. But in the end, the superstar in his prime will pull out the W.

Alex Sylvester: I chose the Clippers game early on as my biggest surprise W. I could see the Clippers have some struggles to begin the year getting acclimated with each other! Newly formed “SuperTeams” have generally seen some struggles in the first couple of months to begin their tenure together. If you consider Brooklyn a surprise, I really don’t considering KD will be out. I’m not too high on Boston this year as well, I think they’re a 45 win team.

Q3 - No one wants to see any more 20-30 (or more) point losses but which game (or games) do you think have the most potential to turn into another ugly loss for the Suns?

GuarGuar: Being Denver’s home opener is certainly a recipe for getting blown out (like last year). They are a really good team with a huge home court advantage. It will be a tough game to be competitive in for 4 quarters.

Sun-Arc: Uh… Any and all of them could be ugly losses, IMO. I know our roster is better than last season, but I will not be convinced it is a working team until I see them play. Rubio and Saric are significant improvements over what we had last season at those positions, but I see flaws in the roster on both ends of the court. If we had a bunch of 3&D players at each position around Booker & Ayton it would have helped more. If Rubio could shoot threes, it would help a ton because he can pass and defend well. Since we didn’t improve our woeful defense, if players don’t make their shots (an area we supposedly improved upon) it’ll be another very long season.

If I had to pick the mostly, though, #2 game @ Denver is pretty likely to be a blowout. #3 Clippers. #4 Utah. #5 @GSW maybe. #7 Philly. #10 Lakers. #12 Boston maybe. #13 @SAC revenge game for them. #16 @DEN again.

SDKyle: At Denver on the second night of a back to back. Tired legs + high altitude + against a really good team on their floor... that seems as good a candidate as any for a bad blowout loss. Honorable mention would go to the third game of the season against the Clippers on the back to back after the Nuggets.

SouthernSun: I think the Jazz game could turn into a blowout. Gobert could stifle Ayton, as his nickname hints he is won’t to do. Then it comes down to, essentially, Rubio and Booker versus Conley and Mitchell. Mitchell and Booker are evenly matched enough (overall, though I give Booker the slight advantage), that it becomes Rubio versus Conley. And unless Conley immediately regressed this summer, I think he’s enough better than Rubio that it gives the Jazz the edge. Their team defense is just fantastic, though losing Favors might have a detrimental effect on it. Still, I could see them blowing out the Suns by 20, but in a low scoring game. Like 96 to 76 or something like that.

I could also see the Lakers really giving them a pounding, with the Suns having no answer defensively to either Davis or LeBron. At least not a consistent one.

The Clippers of course. They were good last year and they added Kawhi and Paul George. So I could see that causing issues.

Alex Sylvester: I’m scared of the 2nd game of the year, at Denver. This is huge potential to be a blowout within the first few days of the season. The other game that could be brutal is the Utah game. We have been miserable against Utah the last few seasons, although I do believe we’ll match up more appropriately going forward. Also, Booker>Mitchell.

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

2018-19 Season Highlights

Denver Nuggets vs Phoenix Suns Full Game Highlights | 01/12/2019

Kelly Oubre Jr. Full Highlights 2019.01.12 Suns vs Nuggets - 26 Pts, 11 Rebs!

Deandre Ayton Full Highlights 2019.01.12 Suns vs Nuggets - 22 Pts, 13 Rebs, 3 Blks!

Quote of the Week

Interesting Suns Stuff

A little fan art Photoshopping by me (RA).

News & Notes

Phoenix Suns: 3 players facing the most pressure in 2019-20. Hoops Habit

Phoenix Suns Unveil 2019-20 Schedule; What Are The Biggest Takeaways? Evan Sidery/Forbes

Former NBA GM suggests Devin Booker, Andrew Wiggins could be traded in the future. Clutch Points

VIDEO: Devin Booker Absolutely Torches Ben Simmons Twice in Pickup Game. 12UP

Phoenix Suns NBA 2K20 Ratings for the 2019-20 Season.

Michael Jordan pushed Terry Rozier to sign with Hornets over Suns. Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports

Suns History in Video

These aren’t strictly Suns history but there are a few good Suns’ stories sprinkled in.

NBA Legends telling funny Stories about other players (Part 1)

NBA Legends tell funny Stories about other players (Part 2)

Suns Trivia

The 1996-97 Suns are the only NBA team to ever begin the season with a 10+ losing streak (they started out 0-13) and still make it to the playoffs that season. They were also the first team to ever record a 10+ game winning streak (11 from March 13 through April 10, 1997) after recording a 10+ game losing streak earlier in the season.

Previewing the Weeks (and Months) Ahead

August 31 - Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2019/20 salaries.

September 5 - Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks (those players become free agents on September 6 if not tendered).

September 28 - Training camps open for all teams that are participating in the preseason NBA Global Games.

September 30 - For all other teams, players are allowed to report to their teams after 11 a.m. local time.

October 1 - Training camps open.

October 8 - Phoenix Suns vs Minnesota Timberwolves (preseason), 7:00 pm AZT

October 10 - Phoenix Suns @ Sacramento Kings (preseason), 7:00 pm AZT

October 12 - Phoenix Suns @ Portland Trail Blazers (preseason), 5:00 pm AZT

October 14 - Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets (preseason), 7:00 pm AZT

October 19 - Last day to waive a player on a non-guaranteed contract and not incur a cap hit.

October 21 - Regular season rosters must be set (17 players maximum including 2 two-way contract players).

October 22 - NBA 2019-20 regular season begins.

October 31 - Last day that teams can exercise team options on the rookie scale contracts of former first-round picks.

Last Week’s Poll Results

Last week’s poll was “How many assists per game will Ricky Rubio average in Phoenix this season?”

67% - 8 or more.

32% - More than 6 but less than 8.

01% - 6 or less.

There were 217 votes cast.

This week’s poll is...


Which will we see more of in the first 18 games this season?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Blowout losses.
    (28 votes)
  • 86%
    Surprising wins.
    (172 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now

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