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Center of the Sun, Part 1: Suns face Cleveland in final Summer League game today, 2021-22 schedule out soon

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

2021 NBA Playoffs - Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Summer League Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Utah Jazz L (63-57) Box Score (ESPN)

Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets W (90-84) Box Score (ESPN)

Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers W (79-70) Box Score (ESPN)

Summer League is almost over. At 2-2, the Suns will play their 5th and final Summer League game against Cleveland at 3:00 PM AZT this afternoon as there will be no tournament this year. The two teams with the best records after four games will face off in the championship game and the Suns pretty much put themselves out of the running for that after losing their first two games.

Although today’s game is all that is on the Suns’ schedule until training camps begin on Sept. 28, we will be getting news on the Suns’ upcoming 2021-22 season schedule very soon.

This means we could be seeing at least part of the 2021-22 regular season schedule sometime this week. And you might remember that the NBA often starts out by releasing the opening night schedule first along with the games scheduled for Christmas Day. Surely the Suns will finally be asked back for a Christmas game following a 12 year absence from the NBA’s Xmas schedule!

The last time the Suns played on Christmas Day was in 2009 when they defeated the LA Clippers 124-93 and I expect the NBA to schedule a Finals rematch between the Suns and Bucks on Christmas... but that’s just a guess on my part.

Although the Suns have yet to release anything, nine other teams have already released their preseason schedules. Eight of those (Charlotte, Brooklyn, Minnesota, Chicago, Miami, San Antonio, Utah and Oklahoma City) will not play the Suns during preseason but the ninth team - the Los Angeles Lakers - has announced two preseason games against the Suns on their schedule. Those games are on Oct. 6 (6:00 pm PST in Phoenix) and Oct. 10 (6:30 pm PST in LA). Some teams have as many as 6 preseason games scheduled, others have only 4 so expect the Suns to have 2-4 other yet to be announced preseason games in their schedule as well.

As many of the other teams’ preseason schedules show their first games on Oct. 4, I believe it’s likely that the Suns’ preseason games will also start then.

Just seven more weeks...

I can hardly wait.


2020-21 Season Highlights

SUNS at PACERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 9, 2021

SUNS at ROCKETS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 20, 2021

WARRIORS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 28, 2021


Quote of the Week

“Going right from being drafted to a training camp, but not only that, pretty much trying to learn a new position. Going from a 5 and trying to learn how to play like Dario. That’s something that we’ve talked about is Jalen (Smith) becoming a more athletic Dario. That’s a high goal, if you will, but we feel like with the work he’s put in with (assistant) coach (Mark) Bryant, he’s gonna get there someday.” - Monty Williams


News & Notes

Suns are still the Western Conference favorite despite Lakers’ offseason. Clutch Points

Why the Phoenix Suns should trade for Thaddeus Young. Zona Hoops

Phoenix Is Finding a Double-Double Machine In Jalen Smith. SLAM

Devin Booker’s shocking injury from NBA Finals, revealed. Clutch Points

How 5G played a role in the Phoenix Suns’ historic NBA title run. C|Net

Suns’ Monty Williams once interviewed with Steve Kerr for Suns HC job. Arizona Sports

Jalen Smith surging for Phoenix Suns in NBA Summer League, but positional questions remain. 247 Sports

Phoenix Suns 2021 NBA Free Agency Grades For Every Signing. Clutch Points


This Week in Suns History

On August 16, 1987, former Suns center Nick Vanos and his fiancé, Carolyn Cohen, tragically died when their plane crashed after takeoff from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan en route to Phoenix. Vanos and Cohen were among the 154 passengers and crew that died in the crash. Vanos was 24 and had just finished his second season in the NBA after being selected by Phoenix in the second round of the draft with the 32nd pick. He also played college ball at Santa Clara University, the same university where Steve Nash would play almost ten years later.

Al McCoy recalled Vanos as a player just beginning to show his promise. “Early in his second year, our people and our coaches thought that he had really improved and were looking at him perhaps becoming the starting center of the future,” he said. “They started seeing him as a player who could make a difference.”

One of the legacies that Vanos’ passing left were two scholarships in his name that assist high school and college students in the greater Phoenix area. The scholarships salute people that address issues facing the disabled community and are made possible by Phoenix Suns Charities and the United Way.

On August 19, 2005, seven weeks after the trade had been agreed upon, the Phoenix Suns complete a sign-and-trade with Joe Johnson to send him to the Atlanta Hawks. Phoenix acquired Boris Diaw and two lottery-protected first round picks (Rajon Rondo in 2006 and Robin Lopez in 2008) in return.


Suns Trivia

Despite playing 10 games fewer than the standard 82-game season, the Suns set a franchise record for single-season three-point makes by making 940 triples. The 2020-21 Suns bested the previous mark of 837 three-pointers set by the 2005-06 Suns. The 2005-06 Suns set what was then the NBA record for the second consecutive season by making 837 after making 796 in 2004-05. 25 different teams made at least 796 in a 72-game season this season.

No team had fewer shots blocked by opposing teams than the Suns during the 2020-21 regular season as they ranked 1st in the NBA by only allowing 3.6 blocks per game.

The Suns have previously played 18 games on Christmas Day and are 12-6 (.667) in those games. 16 times they played at home (11-5) and twice (1-1) on the road on Christmas.


Previewing the week ahead

Monday, August 16 - Suns vs Cavaliers 3:00 pm AZT (ESPN2)


Summer League Player Stats

Graphics courtesy of RealGM.com.


Important Future Dates

September 28 - Training camps open.

October 4 - NBA Preseason Games begin.

October 6 - Phoenix Suns vs LA Lakers (Preseason game) 6:00 pm PST

October 10 - Phoenix Suns @ LA Lakers (Preseason game) 6:30 pm PST

October 19 - 2021-22 regular season begins.

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.


COTS2 : Inside the Suns with the Fantable will be published later this week.