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Center of the Sun: Suns look sharp in preseason even with Booker sidelined

Your weekly roundup of Suns news, rumors, notes and videos from the prior week plus a preview of the week to come.

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns @ Sacramento Kings L (117-106) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs LA Lakers W (117-105) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ LA Lakers W (123-94) Full Recap

Continuity is going to pay dividends for the Suns this season. They already had one of the best teams in the NBA, brought back all of their major contributors and added more talent in areas of need on the bench. It has a great mix of youth and experience. It has no glaring weaknesses.

Even with Devin Booker sidelined, the Suns have looked very good in the two games against the Lakers. I know these games don’t count but I really looked like both teams were taking it seriously in game 2 and the Suns looked like the better team.

Landry Shamet looked very good as a starter. Just think about having the luxury of him coming off the bench once Book is back. JaVale McGee is a wonderful addition as Deandre Ayton’s backup. Cam Johnson continues to expand his game. Jalen Smith looks ready for more than just garbage minutes.

I could go on and on but I think you get the picture.

One more preseason game to go and then it gets serious.

I can hardly wait.


Preseason Highlights

LAKERS at SUNS | NBA PRESEASON FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | October 6, 2021

SUNS at LAKERS | NBA PRESEASON FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | October 10, 2021

(Sorry but I couldn’t find any Suns/Kings highlights. - Rod)


Key Stats

Suns 2, Lakers 0

It’s just preseason but two wins over LA is still something to be happy about!


Quotes of the Week

“Finally got it to a point where it should be. Got the Valley behind us. Every year I’ve been here you can feel it just growing and growing. They’re getting what they (the fans) deserve so they come out and show us what we deserve.” - Devin Booker

“It’s about the work. It’s about putting the work in day in and day out and being grateful for the opportunity.” - Chis Paul

“I think when you go through the deep hurt - whether it’s basketball or life in general - it expends your capacity to grow. I’m hopeful that happened for me and our team.” - Monty Williams


Injury Status Report

Devin Booker (Conditioning) Day to day.

Dario Saric (Knee) Expected to be out until at least April 1.


News & Notes

2021-22 Season Preview: Phoenix Suns. NBA.com

Suns Should Not Burn a Bridge With Deandre Ayton. Sports Illustrated

Breaking down the messy contractual standoff between Deandre Ayton and the Suns. CBS Sports

Report: Suns also still in talks with Mikal Bridges on contract extension. NBC Sports

Phoenix Suns still interested in acquiring Thaddeus Young, per report. TalkBasket.net

Suns legend Charles Barkley drops new NBA ‘super teams’ truth bomb. Clutch Points

Hot Takes We Might Actually Believe: The Suns or Jazz will win the West. Yahoo! Sports

Suns run open practice with thousands in attendance; Booker talks NBA 75 shoot. Arizona Sports


This Week in Suns History

On October 11, 2008, in a preseason match-up, Denver beat Phoenix 77-72 at the Indian Wells (California) Tennis Garden. The game is noteworthy because it is the first NBA game played outdoors in three decades.

On October 12, 1979, Don Buse makes Phoenix Suns history with Phoenix’s first-ever 3-pointer late in the first quarter of the 1979-80 opener against Golden State. He made two in one minute and Paul Westphal hit two in the 3rd quarter, each finishing 2-2. Alvin Scott went 0-1 and Phoenix finished 4-5 on threes as the Suns beat Golden State 97-89 at home.

On October 16, 1969, 4-time All-Star Connie Hawkins made his NBA debut for the Phoenix Suns in a 116-114 win over the San Diego Rockets. The Hawk would lead a trio of 20+ ppg scorers for the Suns (Hawkins - 24.6, Dick Van Arsdale - 21.3 and Gail Goodrich - 20.0) to a 39-43 regular season record (23 wins better than their previous 16-66 record) and their first ever trip to the NBA playoffs.


Suns Trivia

During the 2020-21 season the Suns shot 50.0% on non-restricted area shots in the paint and 47.4% on mid-range shots. Those were both the best marks for any team in the last 24 years.

The Suns hold one NBA record that will likely never be broken nor even equaled because it it still growing. They hold the NBA’s longest streak of at least one 3-point field goal made in a game. Presently that streak stands at 1,287 consecutive games (March 29, 2004 to present).

The Suns also hold the record for the most fast-break points scored in a game. They scored 56 against the Golden State Warriors on March 15, 2009.

Chris Paul holds the NBA record for most consecutive games with at least one steal at 108.

The Suns presently have zero rookies on their roster. The last time they started a new season with no rookies on the team was 2006-07. Marcus Banks, Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw, all going into their 4th years in the NBA, were the least experienced players on the team. While Pat Burke, going into only his 3rd NBA season, had the least NBA experience, he had also played professionally for 2 seasons in Spain making 2006-07 his 5th season as a pro.


Previewing the Week Ahead

Wednesday, Oct. 13 - Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers (Preseason) 2:00 pm PST

Just one game this week and I’m still not making any predictions because... preseason. Next week the games that really count begin and teams will be putting out their best efforts to get that W.

Portland has a new head coach, Chauncey Billups, and some new faces on their roster but their dangerous backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum remains. A healthy Jusuf Nurkić returns too which makes them even more dangerous. They always seem to play well against the Suns so this should be a fun one to watch, even if it is just a preseason matchup. Be aware that game time has been moved up to 2 pm instead of the originally scheduled 7 pm start to accommodate Game 2 of the WNBA Finals when the Mercury face the Chicago Sky.


Important Future Dates

October 18 - Deadline for signing contract extensions.

October 19 - 2021-22 regular season begins.

October 20 - Opening Night: Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets 7:00 pm AZT (ESPN)

December 15 - Most players signed during offseason can be traded.

December 25 - Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors 3:00 PM AZT (ABC)

January 15 - All players signed during offseason can be traded.

February 20, 2022 - NBA All-Star Game.

April 10, 2022 - Regular season ends.

April 12-15, 2022 - Play-In Tournament.

April 16, 2022 - Playoffs begin.

June 23, 2022 - NBA Draft.