Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
Four weeks and four days. That’s how long we have left to wait before the Suns play their first game since March 10.
At least that’s the plan.
Setting aside all the doubts as to whether it will actually happen or whether the NBA will be able to complete the ‘bubble games’ and eventually crown a 2019-20 champion, it will be good to watch some Suns basketball again. Call the games meaningless if you want, say the NBA should just cancel the whole season and the bubble games if you want, say whatever you want about them and I won’t argue with you... unless you try to convince me not to watch.
With everything else going on in the world, some people say that the return of professional basketball - and pro sports in general - will be a distraction from more important things. I agree. Sports of any kind have always been a distraction from other, more important things. I honestly believe that we need those distractions at times though. The other, more important things will still be there waiting to recapture our attention after we’ve allowed ourselves to spend a couple of hours not thinking about them while we sit back and take some time to enjoy watching a basketball game.
Even though the Suns have virtually no chance to play beyond the 8 seeding games, I will still enjoy watching Devin Booker deftly outwitting single defenders to get off a sweet, nearly uncontested shot. I will enjoy Ricky Rubio throwing some amazing passes to his teammates for easy buckets. I will enjoy watching Deandre Ayton’s offensive stuffs and defensive swats. I will enjoy watching Mikal Bridges frustrating opposing players with his D and using his long arms to disrupt the passing lanes to get steals and deflections that lead to Phoenix fast breaks. I will enjoy watching the the unselfish team play and will just in general have a very good time for a while.
Sure, there will be times that also make me groan or swear during the games but I’ve seen some real promise in the team this season. Even if it’s just for eight more “meaningless” games, I’m ready to see more of that.
I’m ready for some more Suns basketball.
Fantable Questions of the Week
Q1 - 43% of BSotS readers indicated in last week’s poll that they believe the coronavirus won’t end the season but it will have an influence on which team ultimately wins the NBA championship. Do you think it could have a significant effect on the seeding games and which teams ultimately get the 8th seeds as well?
GuarGuar: I mean all it takes is a Damian Lillard or Zion getting the virus when games are played for the 8 seed race to really flip upside down. It really comes down to if any star players get the coronavirus. If LeBron got it in the 2nd round of the playoffs for example, that would have a massive impact.
Sun-Arc: Its certainly possible the virus could derail teams. I think the entire return to basketball could ultimately be cancelled because of the virus, but it is difficult to know at this point. Yet I can’t help think about the hilariously ironic scenario that the top teams bow out early because of the virus and the Washington Wizards end up winning the championship.
SDKyle: I think certainly the refusal of some players to submit themselves to the bubble will impact the seeding games, but I don’t think it will materially change which teams are in the mix. I think the teams that are likely to challenge for that 8th seed are still likely to challenge for it even if they lose a player...as long as its not their best player. The Blazers certainly would no longer be the same threat to the Grizzlies minus Lillard, for example.
SouthernSun: With how its flaring up all over the place now because states stupidly reopened too quickly, including the state they planned on having the bubble in, I could see them ultimately decide to cancel the seeding games and play in and just have the playoffs with the teams already having a spot. Which sucks because I now count Grizzlies fans among my enemies. So that limits the possible eventual champions. But the Pelicans are the only team that really had a shot at taking a playoff spot away from a team that already has one, and the Pelicans aren’t winning a championship this year either way.
Alex S: I do believe there will be some effect from the coronavirus when it comes to impact on seeding. I don’t think it’ll be a ‘big’ impact but there will be a few players who opt out from the lower seeds that would lower a team’s likelihood of competing.
Take Joe Harris for example. I could easily see him opting out and trying to secure his health for free agency this offseason, similar to what Bertans did for Washington.
Then you also have to factor in guys who are going to try to protect their families as well. So yes, there should be some impact it’s simply a question of how much impact?
Q2 - Adrian Wojnarowski recently tweeted, “Even among the six teams trying to reach the playoffs via a play-in, none believe this restart is worth risking injuries on players that could carry into next season. For some, Orlando will be an extended summer league to develop young players and protect veterans.”
I still think we’re going to see competitive basketball during the seeding games before the playoffs begin (and during the POs of course). What’s your view on this?
GuarGuar: I think we will see very competitive basketball for at least the first half of the restart season. But it wouldn’t surprise me if a team like the Suns benched their best players when they mathematically became eliminated from playoff contention. I don’t want us to do that. I want our guys to play all 8 games and grow that way. It’s certainly possible the competitive level takes a big drop midway through the restart though.
Sun-Arc: I think there will be competitive ball. Players will want to get back to playing for the most part. There might be a couple of teams that hold back certain players- maybe Zion, for instance. Even if that happens, the players on the court will likely play hard.
SDKyle: I think the first game or two might be quite competitive for most teams involved, then the math will kick in and teams (including the Suns) will coast. The same way you don’t tend to see a 34-41 team busting its collective butt down the last 7 game stretch just because its technically possible they could get the 8th seed if they go 7-0 and another team goes 0-7.
Besides which... if that’s what Woj has heard, who am I to say it’s wrong? He’s in a better position to know than I am.
SouthernSun: We really have no way of knowing whether those seeding games even happen or not. For the Suns, if the seeding games happen, I think we will see competitive basketball because the whole team is developing young players. Rubio, Baynes, and Cam are the only old timers.
Alex S: Yes, there’s still going to be competitive basketball. I think if anything teams will all feel like this is a restart for the season and that anything can happen. It’s true… it’ll be nearly 4 months of a hiatus for these teams so there’s no guarantee the teams that were killing it and the teams that were struggling are going to continue to do the same as they were. Anything can happen which makes this restart so intriguing.
Q3 - Stephen A. Smith recently said that he believes the players have the most to lose if the season is eventually cancelled because the owners will void the current CBA and “pursue a hard salary cap”. The players do not want that and it could lead to a lockout which would put the start of the 2020-21 season in jeopardy.
Do you believe canceling the season could lead to all that?
GuarGuar: It’s certainly possible the CBA gets ripped up if the season was cancelled. I don’t know if it would get so bad to the point of a lockout, but I guess anything can happen in 2020. The season starting so close to the end of this restart probably increases the chance of a lockout if things went south. At the end of the day though I would be very surprised to see this restart NBA season cancelled.
Sun-Arc: Cancelling the season could lead to the owners asking for a hard cap, but the players seem to be in control of the league right now. Interesting and unfortunate scenario if the league cancels the season and the players strike to kill a hard cap, killing another half or full season.
SDKyle: Any major disagreement between ownership and the players union has the potential to create a lockout/strike situation. That said, I don’t think the cancellation of this season would be LIKELY to cause that. I think both sides want and need to get the NBA going again and will have some extra incentive to compromise.
The salary situation is going to get dicey in all likelihood because NBA teams have spent the last few years assuming huge growth in the cap which will now temporarily stagnate or shrink. But I think whether or not this season concludes both sides will reach an understanding to save next season.
SouthernSun: Canceling the season could definitely lead to all that, which is why they should absolutely have the playoffs in a bubble. I don’t love agreeing with Stephen A, but here we are. I have reached the conclusion that it probably doesn’t make sense for more than 16 teams to go to Orlando, though. And the playoffs should be sped through. Like 1 day playing, one day off, one day on, one day off. Get it completed as quickly as possible.
Alex S: I could see that being the case, but I do believe in Adam Silver when it comes to these business decisions and negotiating. It helps when the relationship between the players and the commissioner is stronger than any partnership I can recall in my lifetime.
I am not going to speculate too far into that scenario until there’s a reason to believe this situation could actually happen.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members - GuarGuar, Sun-Aec, SDKyle, SouthernSun and Alex S. - for all their extra effort every week!
2019-20 Season Highlights
Brooklyn Nets vs Phoenix Suns - Full Game Highlights | November 10, 2019
Ricky Rubio Full Play vs Brooklyn Nets | 22 pts, 12 asts
Devin Booker Full Play vs Brooklyn Nets | 27 pts, 9 asts
Cameron Johnson 15 Points Full Highlights
Aron Baynes 14 pts 7 rebs 2 blks vs Nets
Quote of the Week
“We just want to go hoop. We feel like we’ve got an opportunity to do something special.” - Jevon Carter
Interesting Suns Stuff
Suns fans! Be part of the @FrysFoodStores virtual send-off video as our team heads to Orlando!— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 26, 2020
Listen up to @LindseySmithAZ for more detail on how to be included in the video!
Greenfly App :
Code to submit : SUNSSENDOFF pic.twitter.com/8gGVpu1NLF
News & Notes
Life in the Hiatus: Carter Kept Moving. Suns.com
“One Of The Best Times Of My Life”: Steve Nash Opens Up About His Draft Day Experience. Essentially Sports
Grant Hill’s Last Game Effort to Receive a “Gazillion Dollar” Bonus from Nike. Basketball Network
The case for the Phoenix Suns to make things interesting in Orlando. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports
5 greatest moments in Phoenix Suns history, ranked. Clutch Points
This Week in Suns History
On July 5, 1988, after reaching out to him at 12:01 am the Friday before and offering him a 5 year $9 mil deal the following day, the Phoenix Suns officially sign PF Tom Chambers, formerly of the Seattle Supersonics, the first unrestricted free agent signing in NBA history.
Classic Suns Highlights
Tom Chambers Scores 60!
Tom Chambers | Best NBA Dunks Countdown!
The 1999-2000 Phoenix Suns (51-31) increased their win total by 26 games from the previous season, the third-largest increase from one season to the next in franchise history. They overcame significant obstacles to do this (they lost 269 player games due to injury and replaced coach Danny Ainge with Scott Skiles) and held opponents to 42.4% shooting from the field, the lowest allowed in a season in franchise history.
Previewing the Week Ahead
June 30 - Transaction Window closes (11:59 pm ET).
July 1 -Individual workouts begin in team markets. 37-person team travel party must be submitted to the league.
Important Future Dates
July 7 - Teams travel to Orlando.
July 9-29 - Training camps begin, including three inter-squad scrimmages.
July 30 – August 14 - Seeding games begin.
August 15-16 - Possible play-in tournaments.
August 17 - Start of postseason.
August 25 - NBA Draft Lottery.
August 30 - Guests/family members permitted to arrive.
August 31 to September 13 - Conference Semifinals.
September 15-28 - Conference Finals.
September 30 to October 13 - NBA Finals.
October 16 - NBA Draft.
October 18 - Free agency begins.
October 23 - Moratorium ends (noon).
November 10 - Target for opening day for 2020-21 season training camps.
December 1 - Target for 2020-21 season opening night.
Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week’s poll was “Do you think that the coronavirus will eventually end the NBA’s season restart attempt?”
29.8% - Yes. The season and/or the playoffs will eventually be cancelled.
27.7% - No. It will have no effect on the restart and/or the playoffs.
42.5% - No but it will have an influence on which team ultimately wins the championship.
A total of 94 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
The Suns are presently 2.5 games behind Portland, New Orleans and Sacramento and 2 games behind San Antonio. Even though the odds are heavily against the Suns making it to the play-in stage...
Would it be at least moderately satisfying if the Suns could finish the season with a better record than one or more of the other WC bubble teams?
This poll is closed
Reminder: The results of these 8 games will have no effect on the Lottery order.