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Center of the Sun: Uncharted waters are ahead for the Suns

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Uncertainty is the only certainty for the near future.

NBA: Phoenix Suns-Media Day Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

NBA2K on Twitch Game Results

Phoenix Suns vs Houston Rockets W (85-61)

Phoenix Suns vs LA Lakers L (76-73)

If not for Covid-19, the 2019-20 NBA season would have officially ended on April 15 for the Suns. When the season was suspended, the Suns still hadn’t mathematically been eliminated from the playoff race but it would have taken a near miracle for them to actually get in if the regular season games had continued.

The virtual games via NBA2K on Twitch were a nice diversion for some as was the Players Only NBA 2K Tournament that Devin Booker won. There were replays of previous games this season and classic games to watch too but all these things fall short of the real thing.

The NBA season is still in limbo at the moment... “suspended” but not yet cancelled. Numerous ideas have been thrown about as to how to eventually revive this season but nothing as of this date is set in stone. Cancelling the season could seem to be the most likely outcome but there are financial ramifications attached to that which lead me to believe it won’t just suddenly be declared over. The NBA will salvage something of this season by at least creating some sort of playoff ending... eventually.

The latest idea for a way to do this came from Kenny Smith.

While we’re waiting on some sort of decision to be made on that, we’re still left without live basketball games to watch and we’re not even certain when the Draft Lottery or the Draft will take place. Free agency can’t begin until after the playoffs and the draft and we don’t even have an idea as to what the salary cap will look like next season. That point takes us back to the financial ramifications I briefly mentioned earlier.

The NBA is going to lose a lot of money this season and just how much depends on whether teams can resume play in some form or fashion or if the season is completely cancelled. The final tally of it’s loses will have an impact on next season’s salary cap which in turn will have a large effect on free agency spending for every team. I’ve already seen some speculation that next year’s salary cap could wind up lower than this year’s cap which would put a financial squeeze on a lot of teams.

Before all this happened, the Suns were projected to be able to open up as much as $24.6 million in cap space this offseason. That was when next season’s cap was projected to be $115 million. This year’s cap was set at $109 mil. If it actually drops below that next season, that cuts the Suns options a good deal in free agency... but it also cuts other teams’ options as well. The ‘good’ news is that the Suns were set up to potentially have the 6th highest amount of money to spend in free agency this year and that won’t change.

The bad news is for this year’s free agents. There won’t be as much money available for teams to throw around as was expected and you’ll likely see quite a few free agents signing short-term deals in hope of getting bigger paydays once things get back to near normalcy. Also, I doubt many guys with player options will op out of those but we might see more team options being used to clear cap space.

Normalcy won’t return quickly however as the drop in revenue will have an effect on the cap for years to come. The star-studded free agent class of 2021 will also feel the pinch. What does this all mean for the Suns? Without the final figures, I have no real idea but it’s surely going to be a challenging few years to come for the GMs of every team and we can only hope that James Jones will be up to the task.


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Fantable Questions of the Week

Q1 - This year’s draft has been called a weak one but, if the Suns get lucky in the Lottery, is there anyone in this draft class you would like to see in a Suns uniform next season?

GuarGuar: I’ll be honest and say I haven’t watched nearly as much on prospects this year compared to past years. That being said I’m still for trading the pick no matter the landing spot. I want to win now, not in a few years. If we can get a good deal for our pick, I 100% say do it and forget about “potential”.

Sun-Arc: I didn’t watch a single frame of film of college basketball this year, so I’m clearly not the best person to ask who we should or shouldn’t draft. Be that as it may, I will say taking someone with promise could be valuable, even in this apparently weak draft. Sure, we could trade the pick- which I’d also be ok with- but the value of picks outside the top 5 in this draft is so very low there may not be a reason to do so. If all it would net would be a future 2nd rounder, for instance, why not take someone of interest in this draft.

And while I haven’t really scouted this time around, two players I’ve noticed couple of players that appear to stand out on Tankathon.com. Obi Toppin and Tyrese Haliburton, for instance, would fill a position of need at the PF and PG spot. Obi is 22 years old, so perhaps able to perform a bit out of the gate like Cam Johnson did. I really don’t know who the best pick might be at #10, if that is where we pick, nor do I know who will actually be available there. Perhaps not these two players. But taking someone in the draft that can contribute right away may help keep cap flexibility open.

SDKyle: There are some fine players in this draft but I just don’t have it in me to start fantasizing about specific guys in Suns jerseys. Let’s just draft BPA and not worry too much about what position he theoretically plays.

SouthernSun: I hate to say anything nice about a member of the family Ball, but LaMelo Ball seems like a good idea. He’s got great size for a guard, solid jumper, great passing, and is a scoring threat from anywhere. That being said, I prefer the Suns trade the pick no matter where they land. The better the pick, the better the player gotten in return, the quicker they suck less. There’s no clear cut “stars” in this draft that anyone is over the moon about, and I’m so very tired of drafting disappointments like Chriss, Bender, Jackson, and Len.

Alex S: I can’t say I’ve reviewed the draft class thoroughly enough to have a strong opinion. I would personally prefer to package the pick along with another asset or two and go aggressively after a guy like Lauri Markkanen or Dennis Schroder. That way you don’t necessarily need to part with a guy like Oubre or Bridges to significantly upgrade the roster.

Q2 - A few weeks ago I asked everyone to redraft the Suns’ past 5 drafts to see how different this team could be if they had drafted better. This week I’m asking which single player that the Suns passed on in those drafts do you think could have made the biggest positive difference on this team today if he had been drafted by Phoenix?

GuarGuar: As much as it hurts to say, I think taking Luka over DA has the biggest “what if” value to me. Luka is looking to be a generational superstar, and him and Booker together would have been one of the best backcourts of all time. This isn’t a knock on DA, he has pretty much lived up to #1 pick hype thus far with his development. It’s just that Luka has been so special. McDonough really went out with a bang!

Sun-Arc: Oh, so many players to choose from. I’ll go with Malcolm Brogdon. He would have made a perfect dynamic duo with Booker, in my opinion with his size, defense, and 3-pt shooting. And I say that knowing that Doncic is an obvious choice here- and perhaps the right one all-around. I’m just not 100% ready to say that Ayton wasn’t the right choice in 2018, based on how much his defense improved this season. If he keeps improving in leaps and bounds, he may catch up to Doncic in overall effectiveness and even flashiness. While the numbers are clearly in Luka’s favor at the moment, and still likely favored in ten years and beyond, I won’t give up on Ayton just yet.

SDKyle: Of the “realistic” options that wouldn’t have been considered jaw-dropping reaches at the time, I’d say Domantas Sabonis. Imagine having him instead of Chriss. That would have made a heck of a difference, I have to think.

SouthernSun: The player we most should have drafted but didn’t in the last 5 drafts is Luka. I hate saying or typing those words so very much. But obviously guys like Siakam and Mitchell come to mind, though neither of them would have been “reasonable” choices. If we are talking guys who were drafted around where the Suns actually picked, I’ll go Jamal Murray. He would be a very solid backcourt partner for Booker.

Alex S: My answer is going to be De’Aaron Fox instead of Jackson at #4. With this move, you could have moved Bledsoe from a position of power, you wouldn’t have lost value at the SF position so you then could’ve kept Warren/Bridges/Oubre together. Realistically you wouldn’t have signed Rubio so the Suns would’ve probably pursued a PF in FA last year.

Q3 - Lets do some ranking! From best to worst, rank the Suns’ past and present uniform styles: Original, Western Font, Sunburst, SSOL Era, Sunray/Pseudo-Sunburst, Present Era.

And just for fun, what’s your favorite alternative Suns uniform?

GuarGuar:

  1. Sunburst
  2. Original
  3. SSOL
  4. Sunray/Pseudo-Sunburst
  5. Present Era
  6. Western Font

My favorite alternate is probably that black PHX jersey from a few years ago.

Sun-Arc: I kind of like them all equally, in a way. The western font is now cliche, quaint, and straightforward, but not really indicative of the town now. The sunburst is a great logo all around and I like all uni’s with it. The more simple design with the burst on the shorts is quite nice. And I also really liked the Gortat-era orange and grey uni’s.

My favorite alternative uniforms were the ash-grey sleeved uniforms. As I have mentioned in an early COTS, the only jersey I’ve bought was one of those. I know, I know, it doesn’t have much orange and no purple, which is - you know - kinda our colors. But I like what I like.

SDKyle:

  1. Sunburst
  2. Western Font
  3. SSOL
  4. Original
  5. Present
  6. Sunray

My favorite alternate jersey is the black Sunburst. I don’t like black alternates as a general rule because there’s nothing unique about it, but that one just looks sweet and still has a heavy dose of Suns flavor.

SouthernSun:

  1. Sunburst
  2. Western font
  3. Present
  4. Psuedo Sunburst
  5. Original
  6. SSOL (great memories, horrible jerseys)

My favorite alternate jersey is the new Los Suns black one with Arizona flag shorts.

Alex S: Okay I’m prepared to get yelled at. Ranking order from worst to best:

  • SSOL era (just flat out ugly)
  • 2013-2017ish (Better than SSOL, but relatively boring)
  • Original ’68 (Clean look but no character)
  • Present Era (Lots of variety, lack of original touch though)
  • Sunburst 70’s (Shorts and fonts are awesome, needed more color variety)
  • Barkley era Sunburst (if they replicated a modern version, this would be my favorite jersey in any sport ever)

My favorite alternate jersey is actually the Black ‘Los Suns’ jerseys from this year. The shorts are incredible.

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

Devin Booker BEST Suns Highlights from 2019-20 NBA Season!

Kelly Oubre Jr. 2019-20 Season Highlights

Ricky Rubio - 2019/20 Highlights - Genius Assists

Suns Highlights 2019-20: Deandre Ayton

Mikal Bridges Defensive Highlights | Oct 23, 2019 - March 10, 2020

  • Author’s Note: This compilation of Bridges’ defensive highlights is excellent. Treat yourself by watching it!

Quote of the Week

“We need more playmaking, we love defenders and shooting is a priority.” - James Jones (on the upcoming draft)


News & Notes

Suns, GM Jones going through ‘unique’ prep process for 2020 NBA Draft. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

5 quick takeaways from Suns media conference call with Monty Williams and James Jones. Gerald Bourguet/The Step Back

Rubio & Bridges Connect With Fans On “Valley Chatz”. Suns.com

Phoenix Suns: 5 former players that would be useful now. Hoops Habit

Five NBA things I like and don’t like, including Devin Booker showing skills like Chris Paul. Zach Lowe/ESPN

The Phoenix Suns Didn’t Draft Kawhi Leonard Because He Sweated Too Much During Their Interview. Fadeaway World


This Week in Suns History

On April 22, 2000, the Suns scored only 72 points againt the San Antonio Spurs in a playoff game... and won 72-70. 142 points is the lowest combined point total ever in a Phoenix Suns game. By themselves the Suns have scored more than 142 points thirteen times in their history and equaled that point total another six times.

On April 25, 1968, the nickname “Suns” was chosen as the winner of a local contest to name the new Phoenix NBA franchise.


Classic Suns Highlights

MVP Charles Barkley vs David Robinson INSANE Game 6 Duel Highlights 1993 Playoffs - CLUTCH Barkley!

C. Barkley Triple-Double (43-10-15) & D. Majerle 34pts (3PT: 8/10) vs. Sonics WCF G5 (06.01.1993)


Suns Trivia

Trivia Tuesday: Phoenix Suns starters alongside Devin Booker (via Arizona Sports)

  • Click on the link and see how many names you can come up with (without cheating)!

Previewing the Weeks Ahead


Important Future Dates

To Be Determined.

Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA remains committed to resuming the season but that there is still no timetable for a possible return or even a deadline for canceling the 2019-20 suspended season.

Source: ESPN


Last Week’s Poll Results

Last week’s poll was “Do you believe that when the NBA finally resumes play that games will be played in closed (to fans) arenas?”

81% - Yes.

19% - No.

There were 70 votes cast.


This week’s poll is...

Poll

Which is your favorite Suns uniform design?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Original
    (6 votes)
  • 13%
    Western Font
    (15 votes)
  • 63%
    Sunburst
    (72 votes)
  • 9%
    SSOL Era
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    Sunray/Pseudo-Sunburst
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Present Era
    (7 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now