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Center of the Sun: Preseason Traumatic Suns Disorder

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

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Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

We’re all patiently waiting for the new season to begin. It feels like a Tuesday night at your local Majerle’s Sports Grill. Trivia night!

You and your team have debated over what the correct answer could be over a variety of topics. After some discussion, a couple of teeth-cracking cold brews, and a few of those delicious Gorilla wings, you’ve put forth your answers and you’re waiting to hear what the emcee says.

Were you right? Or did that last beer skew your memory?

We’re in the same situation with the Suns. We have our thoughts, predictions, concerns, and ideas about what and who this team is going to be. We’re chatting amongst ourselves, whether it be Twitter, the comment section on Bright Side, or the watercooler. We think we know the answers but we have no idea whether or not we are right.

Until tip off occurs against the Dallas Mavericks on October 18, we are in the anxiety filled zone known as the “waiting game”.

Preseason complicates matters. You can watch all of the tape, jotting down your observations, trying to make conclusions from what you see. Why isn’t Ayton more aggressive? Oooh, Jock hit a three! Torrey Craig is still a magician, disappearing for minutes at a time while on the court. Dear Jae, I miss you.

At the end of the day, however, does it really matter? The injuries matter. They can carry over into the regular season and disrupt the expectations of a team. Hearing that the team will be without the Cam’s isn’t news you want to hear prior to the start of the regular season campaign.

We typically are left with more questions than answers. We have no clue what the rotations will be based on what Monty Williams does in the preseason.

We’ll continue to ponder, however, proposing answers to each other like a trivia team at Majerle’s on Tuesdays. Dip another wings into some chunky bleu cheese, sip from your frosty 24-ounce glass, and let’s continue to try to find the answers together.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers (W, 119-115) FULL RECAP

Preseason Highlights


Suns JAM Session: 361. Suns @ Lakers Preseason Post Game Pod

News & Notes

AZ Central: ‘This is getting ridiculous’: Chris Paul’s mom told Monty Williams to have eye procedure

AZ Central: Phoenix Suns: Here’s what it’s like when you’re invited to training camp but not guaranteed a roster spot

Arizona Sports: Injuries to Johnson, Payne allow Phoenix Suns extended look at depth

Fan Nation: Ex-Suns Forward Jared Dudley Reveals Brendan Haywood’s Skill in Madden Game

Burn City Sports: Jock Landale Has A Big Opportunity To Secure Backup Center Spot

Burn City Sports: Phoenix Suns and an Unsettled Bench

Andscape: Suns trying to ‘block out the noise,’ get past team owner Robert Sarver’s racism and sexism

Quotes of the Week

“Coach, you’ve got to get your eyes fixed” — Chris Paul’s mother

“Suns must stink.” — Anonymous NBA scout sarcastically about Suns loss to the Adelaide 36ers

“I’m very grateful to be here and I appreciate being able to compete with these guys that have done amazing things these past couple years.” — Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot

“I’ve been in the NBA a long time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that.” — Monty Williams on the Draymond Green/Jordan Poole kerfuffle

Injury Status Report

Josh Okogie (hamstring) is QUESTIONABLE

Cameron Johnson (right thumb sprain) is OUT

Cameron Payne (right finger sprain) is OUT

Landry Shamet (left hip strain) is OUT

Dario Saric (personal reasons) is OUT

Jae Crowder (doesn’t love us anymore ) is OUT

This Week in Suns History

This week we take a moment to go back to October 12, 1999. Yes, this is the date the Kevin Johnson retired, and as I prepared to delve into that topic and his career, I found that a more significant event occurred on this date.

The NBA’s foundation was rocked on a languid October Tuesday when word spread that one of its greatest players ever had passed away. In Los Angeles, California, at the age of 63, Wilt Chamberlain passed away from heart failure. The 7’1” Philly native had helped change the game with his dominant style of play and legendary exploits.

He was a two time NBA champion, an NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, and 13-time NBA All-Star. His memorable matchups with Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics were a sign of the league’s future: personality-driven players from opposite coasts.

“Wilt Chamberlain had a great deal to do with the success of the NBA,” Red Auerbach said of Wilt. “His dominance, power, demeanor and the rivalry with Bill Russell says it all. He will be sorely missed by myself and everyone in the basketball community. Wilt was a great performer and a great athlete.”

And a performer Wilt was.

In his 14-year career, Chamberlain played against the Phoenix Suns a total 25 times. He averaged 22 points and 18.7 rebounds in those games, but no game was more impressive than his performance on February 9, 1969.

Los Angeles Lakers Wilt Chamberlain, 1970 NBA Playoffs SetNumber: X14814

It was the fifth time he had seen the new franchise from Phoenix and, with the Los Angeles Lakers sitting at 39-20 on the season, the team was 2.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for first place in the Western Division.

Wilt put together his best offensive performance as a member of the Lakers franchise as he went 29-of-35 from the field, shot 8-of-18 from the line, played all 48 minutes of the game, grabbed 27 rebounds, and scored 66 points.

66 and 27. I guess that isn’t a big deal for a guy who averaged 50.1 points and 25.7 rebounds in the 1961-62 season with the Philadelphia Warriors.

There was no one quite like Wilt.

Suns Trivia

The 66 points scored by Wilt Chamberlain on February 9, 1969 is the most by an opponent in Phoenix Suns’ history. Number 2 on that list? The Hibachi himself, Gilbert Arenas, who scored 54 points on December 22, 2006.

Classic Suns Highlights

As mentioned above, Kevin Johnson retired on October 12, 1999.

KJ was the reason I became a Suns fan. That, and the whole “being born in Phoenix” thing. I adored KJ when I was young. He was small but fiery, vertically challenged but still dunking on fools.

His regular season career high was 44 points, earned on 16-of-29 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc (oooooh, ahhhhhh) with 10 assists against the Utah Jazz on November 30, 1991.

His overall career high, however, came in the 1995 NBA Playoffs. It was Game 7 against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals when KJ carried the team with his 46 points. It would be one of the most memorable playoff performances had it not been for Mario Elie and hiss kiss of death.

Sorry for bringing out some PTSD highlights, but respect for KJ for putting the Suns in a situation the be heartbroken.

Upcoming Games

Monday, October 10 — Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets**

Wednesday, October 12 — Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns**

Wednesday, October 19 — Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns

**preseason game

Between now and the next time we speak, the Suns will have played their final preseason games. My prediction? Uh, let’s just say 1-1, knowing that it is too hard to predict preseason games, especially with so many players resting up for the games that go on the back of your basketball card.

Important Future Dates

October 10 - Suns @ Denver Nuggets (Preseason game) 6:00 pm AZT

October 12 - Suns vs Sacramento Kings (Preseason game) 7:00 pm AZT

October 18 - NBA regular season begins!

October 19 - Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks (Season Opener) 7:00 pm AZT

December 15 - Most players signed during offseason can be traded

December 25 - Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets 10:30 pm ET

January 5 - 10-day contracts may now be signed

January 15 - All players signed during offseason can be traded

February 17-19 - 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend/All-Star Game (Salt Lake City, UT)

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