The Phoenix Suns held their annual media day this afternoon, with each player outside of Devin Booker (COVID protocols) making an appearance.
There seemed to be a few common themes from all of the players, the most notable one is how everyone “wanted to be here” whether they were returning or brand new. Most of the returning players also seemed thrilled about the additions of Landry Shamet and JaVale McGee.
I will run down some of the more interesting quotes and takeaways highlighted down the line for your convenience.
Our man/myth/machine Trevor Booth transcribed three of the press conferences already for your reading pleasure:
James Jones said he believes the short layoff can be a benefit for the Suns. Quickly getting back to it will allow guys to get back in their rhythm better as opposed to a “longer break”.
He (Jones) also noted that Devin Booker played a lot of basketball this summer, so he’s not at all worried about him missing training camp.
“Champ” was asked if Chris Paul is a full go following surgery, “Chris is always a full go” he joked. But went on to say he will be ready to go for the start of training camp.
Monty said the focus is always on a championship, but the Suns will stay locked in on their process. “I think we go back to ground zero. We don’t skip steps.”
Monty Williams on Devin Booker’s status, “when a guy like Book misses a few days I don’t concern myself with it too much. You know Book, he just wants to hoop.”
Monty says a huge part of the short break was “bringing in people (coaches) we thought could help and challenge me as a coach.” Adds that Jarrett Jack has already had a huge impact on their gym in the couple of weeks he’s been there.
Chris Paul on returning to Phoenix: “It was an easy decision. It’s so close to my family and it became my family. Being in Phoenix made going to work fun.”
“This is home for me. Supporting the Mercury… one of the dopest things to happen to me, I was shooting on one court and DT (Diana Taurasi) was shooting on the other court. I was able to watch some of their practice. It’s cool to support the city as one giant team.”
He seemed happy to be back and embraced the family atmosphere in Phoenix overall. Knows there’s still plenty of work to get done to get back where they were.
Mikal Bridges on what he’s worked on this offseason: “Working on my handle a bit, trying to get it tighter. Adding strength, and just all the typical offseason groundwork.”
Mikal Bridges says Landry Shamet was a great addition. Says he could be a point guard and has some playmaking in his game he saw in college. “He’s going to be a great piece for us and I’m excited.”
Ayton started off his interview in the most Ayton fashion possible, saying “Phoenix is going to be lit”.
Deandre Ayton on adding JaVale McGee: “It’s like a dream come true. Finally adding someone my size that can help out down low.”
He said his terminology and communication defensively are his greatest strengths and “main job”. Ayton added that he sacrificed a lot and was able to prove a lot of people wrong during the playoff run and that he has a lot more left in the tank to show.
Cam Payne said, “I think we were the number one team in the NBA last season to be honest with you. What people had to say (about how we got there) doesn’t matter. We had people hurt too, we had COVID issues. Look at the stats, they don’t lie.”
Cam Payne said Book called him after throwing the first pitch at the Dbacks game and said “okay kinda getting blessed into the city, huh?” He said he feels fully embraced by the city and the feeling is mutual.
Cameron Payne said he knew he wanted to come back (to Phoenix) from the jump, he knew after the last game of the season in the NBA Finals loss to the Bucks but had to do his “due process” first.
Crowder said he never envisioned himself as someone who could be “fried mentally” but he got there at a point last season. Said his teammates understood where he was at during that time. He talked about how grueling back-to-backs were for him physically last year too.
Crowder on CP re-signing: “Oh I knew it was going to happen. You beg me to come here... “ Which got quite the laugh in the media room.
Said he’s ready to start from the ground floor and get the message across to the team that the Finals are the expectation, to get back there and win it “you can’t skip any steps.”
Elfrid Payton spoke glowingly about the Suns’ practice facility. He was asked what it looked like watching the Suns from afar: “Perfect storm. Had the run in the bubble, being able to carry it over, adding Chris to the mix + Monty. From afar it looked like the perfect storm.”
On what made him (Payton) choose the Suns with Chris Paul and Cam Payne already on the roster. “Being able to play with Chris for one. Seeing what the team is doing, and being able to play for Monty.”
“I was lucky in Philly. I had a lot of great older presences there including JJ (Redick) and Monty Williams. Monty kept me accountable and grounded, and he took me under his wing.” — Landry Shamet.
Landry Shamet said he was already familiar with Mikal and Ayton from being in the rookie transition program with them in the 2018 NBA Draft. Also says he feels comfortable playing point guard, “the tools are still there”.
He seemed excited about the basketball feel in Phoenix and called it refreshing to be in the city and mentioned seeing the Mercury players as “really cool”.
JaVale began his media session with a camera taking pictures of the media, in typical JaVale McGee fashion (he is a vlogger on Youtube for those unfamiliar).
McGee on what he can tell young players in this game “Take your emotion out of the business of the NBA”. He believes he can be a steady mentor for a “very talented” Deandre Ayton.
He also went on to say the reason he chose Phoenix wasn’t just about Book or CP3, it was about what Phoenix did as a whole that was appealing to him.
Nader said Phoenix reached out on the first couple days or free agency and they were able to work something out with mutual interest. He also said they will have a bigger “target on their backs” this season but are ready for it.
“I attack every offseason very similarly. Looking at my weaknesses and improving.” Along with that, he said working on his declaration is key, through functional athleticism.
“I didn’t know he was gonna do that.” Abdel Nader laughed when asked about the trust Monty Williams had in him to put him in a WCF game after being out for several months.
Kaminsky said he “might have to” bring back the fanning 3-point celebration this year since people in Phoenix liked it and have brought it up to him so much.
Said he was happy to be back last year after being cut by Sacramento and had “unfinished business” in Phoenix.
Chandler Hutchison said James Jones’ approach stood out to him when he was going through his process in free agency.
He (Hutchison) said Jones is someone who prioritizes players and he hadn’t talked to someone like that in the league before with that perspective, noting it’s a business.
When the full interviews go live, I highly recommend listening to them all in general, but Cameron Johnson and Chandler Hutchison were the best interviews overall in my opinion.