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Center of the Sun, Part 1: One month to go before it’s back to work for the Suns

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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 Finals - Practice and Media Availability Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

It may sound odd but in just 29 days training camp for the 2021-22 season opens. And although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, Media Day normally proceeds camp so that should be just 28 days away on Sept. 27. It may be virtual or perhaps near normal with appropriate safety precautions (masks, social distancing, etc.) but either way, lots of good Suns info usually comes out of it. Info that we’ll happily pass along.

The Suns still have one regular roster spot open plus both two-ways. What James Jones has planned for the two-ways, only he knows and I won’t hazard a guess. As for the regular spot, I think Jones will keep it open until training camp unless an opportunity presents itself to add a prime player before then. If that opportunity doesn’t come, the Suns can sign up to 6 players (teams can carry up to 20 players during camp and preseason) on non-guaranteed contracts to come to training camp and fight it out for that last spot.

Unless that unlikely opportunity from out of the blue presents itself and it shakes up the current roster, when the preseason games begin on Oct. 4, don’t expect to see a lot of the Suns’ main players from last season. Monty will surely want to shake some of the rust off of the starters but none of them has anything to prove in the preseason. The same goes for Cam’s Payne and Johnson.

What Monty will really be looking at is how well new acquisitions Landry Shamet and Elfrid Payton will fit into his player rotation. JaVale McGee he already knows how to use in the rotation. Frank and Nader... they’ll get their minutes too but Monty also already knows what he has in them.

Secondly, he’ll be field testing 2nd year man Jalen Smith. Expect to see Stix getting a lot of court time against better quality players than those he saw in Summer League. The Suns need him to be ready for rotation minutes and preseason will be his final exam regarding whether he will get them early on this season or whether the Suns will again rely more on playing Cam Johnson as the backup 4 than as the backup 3.

That leaves the unknowns, the guys not yet on the roster, who will be fighting for that 15th roster spot and/or a two-way contract. With Dario Saric out for at least the first half to two-thirds of the season, I can’t see the Suns leaving that spot open for long whether they fill it before training camp or during.

The players will play to win but Monty and his coaching staff have bigger fish to fry than going all out to get meaningless preseason wins. He knows that the really important wins come in the postseason and prep for that far outweighs the preseason W/L record.


2020-21 Season Highlights

76ERS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 13, 2021

SUNS at GRIZZLIES | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 20, 2021

SUNS at LAKERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | March 2, 2021


Quotes of the Week

“Now that I’ve got a taste of what that experience (the Finals) is like, I’m sort of addicted.” - Chris Paul

“I ain’t never gonna be cool with losing. Ever.” - Chris Paul


News & Notes

Suns’ early-season schedule should lead to a hot start in the West. Basketball News

Mikal Bridges’ offensive metamorphosis could make Suns a juggernaut. Yardbarker

Predicting the floor and ceiling for the Phoenix Suns in the 2021-22 NBA season. Sportskeeda

Ranking the NBA’s top 5 duos heading into the 2021-22 campaign. Sportskeeda

Phoenix Suns Roster 2021-22: Can Landry Shamet & JaVale McGee Help Chris Paul Attain His Maiden Championship Ring? Essentially Sports

Grading the Phoenix Suns’ 2021 NBA offseason. Clutch Points

These are the players who are keeping the mid-range game alive in the NBA. Hoops Hype

Honoring Our Roots. Suns.com

Which NBA players committed the most technical fouls last season? Hoops Hype

Some NBA Summer League Stars Look ‘Too Good’ To Be There. What Does That Mean For Their Futures? Five-Thirty-Eight


This Week in Suns History

On August 31, 2018. the Suns traded Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight to the Houston Rockets for Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton. Of the four, only Melton is still under contract by an NBA team (Memphis).

On September 3, 1968, the Phoenix Suns opened their first ever training camp, running mainly conditioning drills at Brophy Prep with camp at the high school lasting for one week. Phoenix also lost another coin flip with the Milwaukee Bucks on this day for the right for first pick off waivers. Milwaukee picked “tails.”

On September 3, 2013, after arranging a buyout, the Suns waived Michael Beasley only one year after signing him to a 3-year, $18 mil contract due to poor performance on the court and legal issues off it. This is probably the most underrated (or perhaps just forgotten) move that former GM Ryan McDonough made during his time with the Suns. Beasley was originally signed to his contract by McDonough’s predecessor, Lance Blanks.

Michael Beasley awful shooting | Lindsey Hunter epic reaction


Suns Trivia

The Suns had a counselor/mentor dedicated to Michael Beasley to travel with the staff and General Manager Lance Blanks went out of his way to have a peer friendship with Beasley, meeting often after practices with him to the point that they would even play-wrestle on the court.

After years of being one of the youngest teams in the league, the Phoenix Suns’ present 2021-22 roster (average age = 27.6 yrs) is tied with the LA Clippers for the 7th oldest team in the NBA.

The average level of NBA experience for the Suns is 6.0 seasons. This makes their present roster the 5th most experienced team in the NBA.


Important Future Dates

September 28 - Training camps open.

October 4 - Phoenix Suns @ Sacramento Kings (Preseason game) 7:00 pm PST

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 13 - Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers (Preseason game) 6:00 pm PST

October 19 - 2021-22 regular season begins.

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

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

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.