Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
NBA 2K Players Tournament Finals
Devin Booker vs Deandre Ayton - Booker wins best of 3 series 2-0!
Congrats to @DevinBook on becoming the first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament Champion! 2K, the NBA and NBPA are all contributing a $100,000 donation in Devin's name to Direct Relief and Arizona Food Bank Network in support of ongoing coronavirus relief efforts. #NBA2KTourney pic.twitter.com/Fsiv56WEgE— NBA (@NBA) April 12, 2020
NBA 2K Players Tournament Semifinals
Devin Booker vs Montrezl Harrell - Booker wins best of 3 series 2-0
Deandre Ayton vs Patrick Beverley - Ayton wins best of 3 series 2-0
NBA 2K on Twitch Game Results
Phoenix Suns vs Minnesota Timberwolves L (62-104)
Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans L (35-49)
Phoenix Suns vs Utah Jazz L (39-60)
I have never played NBA 2K. I don’t eve own a game console and haven’t since I wore out my old Atari 2600 back in the 80’s. I’m just not a video gamer and until Saturday night I had kept up with how Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker were doing in the NBA 2K Players Tournament but hadn’t actually watched any of it. It was just a video game and didn’t really mean much... right?
Well, I actually started watching early in the day during the semifinals and really started to enjoy it!
The Suns should have had DA or Book handling the controls in ALL of their NBA 2K games that they’ve played on Twitch since the season was suspended. Not only are they both very good at it, but it was fun to watch the guys we normally cheer for (or against in the case of their opponents) on the court while they were competing again.
Competition is why we watch sports. It’s also what we’re missing while sporting events have been canceled/suspended. Winning is the objective but it’s the competition that draws us to sports and keeps us coming back for more. The occasional blow out win is nice but it’s the nail-biters that come down to the final shot in the final few seconds that are the really great games to watch.
Hopefully, we’ll get back to seeing that type of game again relatively soon. Speculation on when/if the NBA will resume play is all over the map. Nothing is guaranteed so your guess on when that will eventually happen is as good as mine.
Until then - whenever ‘then’ turns out to be - stay well, stay safe and do your best to maintain your sanity. Even in this day of social distancing, we Suns fans are all in the same proverbial boat so none of us are really alone.
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Fantable Questions of the Week
Q1 - ESPN reported on a survey in which 72% of Americans said they would not attend a sporting event until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus. According to medical experts, a vaccine may not be found until 2021. Do you think this will lead to a delayed start to the 2020-21 NBA season or NBA games played in closed arenas?
GuarGuar: I think there’s a very real chance that when the league starts up again there will be no fans in arenas. I personally don’t see myself going into a big venue like that until there’s a vaccine of some sort. I think at this point they are either going to completely cancel the season and start fresh in the fall, or try and play at the end of the summer and then start the new season around Christmas.
Sun-Arc: I think the league may resume play to empty arenas in 2020. I also think the owners and league find a way to make money on it (pay per view, perhaps). There’s too much money being lost and too many people hungry for sports as a distraction.
SDKyle: I think it’s likely next season starts as scheduled and basically goes normally. Regardless of what people say in surveys in April, I just don’t see Americans social distancing another six months. I don’t think people will be willing to do so for so long.
SouthernSun: If tickets are made less expensive, that will probably be enough to draw a significant amount of fan interest. Particularly if better treatments are found, ones that make the period until we get an actual vaccine a little less scary. However, that’s a lot of “if”. If things haven’t gotten any better come the fall, I fully expect there to be a delayed start. Possibly December, but perhaps even later. If the players and teams agree to play in closed arenas that could mean it starts sooner.
Alex S: I don’t envision this having an impact to the level where we don’t see NBA basketball until 2021.
The players and the staff around the league are eager to get back on the court and salvage what is left of a great season of NBA ball. The NBA is better positioned than any other professional league when it comes to social outreach and catering to the fans, so there still is opportunity to generate buzz/revenue without fans involved. I feel it would also give long-term appreciation for fans across the world if the NBA did everything they could to provide a product for its fans.
The biggest issue by far to me is how coronavirus is transferred (breathing/saliva/close contact). I’m more concerned about the precautionary measures they’ll need to take for testing more than the fan involvement.
Q2 - Who were some of your favorite Suns bench players (guys that for some reason you loved having on the team but weren’t really great players)?
GuarGuar: I liked Gerald Green a lot when he was here for some reason. The dude wasn’t afraid of anything and when he got really hot it was entertaining to watch.
Ish Smith is still one of my favorite backup point guards to watch. His energy level is incredible and with his speed he’s fun to watch. I would have loved for him to stay in Phoenix to be our backup PG for a few more years.
Sun-Arc: I loved the original bench mob from 2010, which included Frye, Dragic, Dudley, Sweet Louuuuu Amundsen, and Barbosa. Each of those guys had their strengths, but together they actually turned games in the Suns favor several times that season. I think, in particular, about the game In Boston on November 6th. Barbosa and Frye were injured and didn’t play that game, but Dudz, Goran, and Lou played brutal, feisty, physical on both ends of the floor to stymie even Boston’s starters. BB-ref.com’s stats for the game show that Dudley had the highest ORtg (160) and differential to DRtg (110, for +50) of any player. I can still picture Goran ripping the ball away from two Celtics - one of which being Paul Pierce, for the offensive rebound - and getting fouled in the process. I loved that mob.
In the playoffs, there were some memorable performances. The most impressive was Dragic’s game 3 performance against the spurs in the second round where he went off for 24 points in the 4th quarter to secure the series win (at least in my eyes). After that game, I walked to the bedroom where my wife was already sleeping. She woke up and asked me, “how was the game?” and I replied, “after the birth of our son a year ago, what I just watched was the most exciting and joyful experience I’ve ever had.” I was not exaggerating at the time, though in retrospect maybe it was.
But I’ll throw some other advanced stats at the bench in three games - game 3 Spurs mentioned above, game 4 Spurs, and then game 6 against Portland.
Portland first, in the series clinching game:
- Dudz again was a monster (143 ORtg & 102 DRtg) and hitting 3 of 6 threes.
- Goran also (153 ORtg, 114 DRtg).
Spurs game 4, in the series sweep game:
- Dudz yet again (184! ORtg, 103 DRtg)
- Amundson (156 ORtg, 88! DRtg)
Spurs game 3:
- Frye 3-5 on threes (152 ORtg, 106 DRtg)
- Barbosa (141, 108)
- Dragic sublime 5 for 5 from three (176! ORtg, 102 DRtg)
SDKyle: I’ve had a few random Suns players I liked disproportionately to their talent. I had a strange affinity for Gordan Giricek, who only played 22 games for the Suns. He just seemed like a likable journeyman to me, and meshed well with the Suns down the stretch.
I was always excited when Eddie House would take a shot. That era of Suns basketball was all about the gunning, and House was a gunner if not much else.
And of course I wasn’t immune to the charms of Sweet Lou Amundson. His energy and physicality could always get you pumped.
SouthernSun: Sebastian Telfair - He was a fun player to cheer for. Big name. I wanted him to do well and succeed. He was faster than everyone. One of my favorite moments was a shot clock winding down, I forget the game, and Telfair just running around with the ball around a couple different opposing players, and he was just so quick, made fools of them. Sadly that kind of thing didn’t happen much.
Ronnie Price - Just a hard worker, nice seeming guy, only one skill in basketball but he was dang good at that one thing.
Michael Redd - He was a fun comeback experiment. I was excited to watch him play for the first time in at least a couple years at that point. Would have been cool if he had a comeback in Phoenix.
Shannon Brown - Those dunks. That’s reason enough.
Alex S: Pat Burke immediately comes to mind with this question.
His game where he came off the bench in the playoffs and started stroking threes is one of my favorite Suns memories! Alan Williams is another guy who was so energetic and loyal to Phoenix that he was impossible to dislike.
Q3 - All Suns fans hate losing but most seem to hate losing to the Lakers and Spurs more than any other teams. Are there any other teams you really hate to see the Suns lose to more than the rest?
GuarGuar: I hate losing to Utah a ton. They started the whole Booker vs. Mitchell thing and have been very arrogant the past few years. As a Booker stan it irks me a ton when we lose to them. That last win in Utah was so sweet to watch.
Sun-Arc: No team is as hated for me as the Lakers. Yet there are a couple of other teams I didn’t like losing to.
I hated losing to Memphis in the SSOL days. Just couldn’t get out of their grinding ways. Portland was a tough out in that same era, and I never liked losing to Bayless for some reason so obscure I don’t really know what it is.
In the past 10 year rebuild, I’ve hated losing to Sacramento and Orlando. Not crazy about losing to the Hornets and Knicks either, though hasn’t happened too much to the latter.
None of it really matches the animosity I have for the Lakers, though. Falling into Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard (ha), and now LBJ and Davis after getting all those top 3 picks still makes me angry. As Dave King pointed out in an article last season, as a team they did nothing to deserve their current roster - its all just because of proximity to Hollywood’s money and it being one of the best places to live when you are super rich.
SDKyle: While the Lakers and Spurs also top my list, a close third is definitely the Mavericks. That’s been true for years, but now that every Suns loss to them results in relitigating Doncic v. Ayton, I really don’t like losing to them.
SouthernSun: Any bad team that I get excited for watching them lose to my Suns, only to have my dreams crushed.
The Jazz. Their fans are just awful, for a myriad of reasons, and they can’t admit that Booker is a little better than Mitchell.
Alex S: The Warriors.
I don’t care that they had a down year, they have annoyed me from 2015 until now. It’s something about the fake humble nature of the team that doesn’t sit well with me at all. I do think Steph/Klay/Draymond are all really good guys but I just despise the way they carry themselves on the court.
Dallas might creep up the hate list if they continue to get better and Luka stans become even more annoying somehow.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable - GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle, SouthernSun and Alex S. - for all their extra effort every week!
2019-20 Season Highlights
Suns at Rockets | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 7, 2020
Kelly Oubre Jr. scores a career-high 39 points in Rockets vs. Suns
Devin Booker 33 Points Full Highlights
Cheick Diallo 14 Pts, 8 Rebs vs. Rockets (All Possessions - 02/07/20)
Quote of the Week
News & Notes
The Phoenix Suns are at the forefront of online gaming for the NBA. ESPN
Top 10 Suns individual performances from 2019-20 season. Logan Newman/Arizona Sports
My Vet: Ty Jerome on studying Devin Booker, switching onto LeBron James and navigating coronavirus as a Suns rookie. Yahoo! Sports
Should Phoenix Suns move forward with Dario Saric? Duane Rankin/Arizona Republic
Suns’ Devin Booker named global Special Olympics ambassador. Clutch Points
Poll: Sports fans won’t attend games without coronavirus vaccine. ESPN
Why NBA games won’t start immediately if the season is cleared to resume. ESPN
This Week in Suns History
On April 15, 1989, Phoenix retired the No. 44 jersey of Paul Westphal, who averaged 20.6 ppg in six seasons with the Suns. Four years later, Westphal led the Suns to the NBA Finals against Chicago in 1993 as their head coach.
On April 17, 1989, the Suns defeated the Sacramento Kings 140-85. The 55 point win remains the largest point difference in a win in Suns history.
Classic Suns Highlights
Connie Hawkins - 20 pts, 8 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl (Hawks at Suns on Christmas Day 1970)
Paul Silas - 16 pts, 17 reb, 8 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk (Hawks at Suns on Christmas Day 1970)
The Suns’ 140-85 win against the Kings in 1989 is the only 50+ point win in Suns history. They have won 11 games by 40-49 points, the most recent being a 140-100 win against the LA Clippers on February 17, 2009. The largest margin of victory they have achieved during Devin Booker’s career was 36 points against the Houston Rockets (127-91) on February 7, 2020.
Previewing the Week Ahead
NBA2K Suns games on Twitch
Monday April 13 - Suns vs Houston Rockets
Wednesday April 15 - Suns vs LA Lakers
- Author’s Note - I’m not certain of the actual starting times on Twitch.
Replays on Fox Sports AZ
Important Future Dates
To Be Determined.
Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week’s poll was “One thing the Fantable ALL agreed on was that Steve Nash, Shawn Marion & Charles Barkley would be on the Suns All-Time best team. Do you agree?”
88% - Yes.
12% - No.
There were 128 votes cast.
This week’s poll is...
Do you believe that when the NBA finally resumes play that games will be played in closed (to fans) arenas?
This poll is closed