Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
We are on the eve of a new season. The Phoenix Suns are only two short days away from beginning their 55th season, which will hopefully end with a championship.
That is what this time of year is all about. Every team in the NBA currently holds a 0-0 record. While we make our predictions and try to forecast the future, nothing is certain. Think back to two seasons ago. Was there excitement around the Suns following the Chris Paul acquisition? Absolutely. But this was still a team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in 11 seasons. This was still a franchise that hadn’t tasted success, nor had the culture to support it, since the Steve Nash era.
The team had appeared to begin to right the ship with the addition of Ricky Rubio the previous season, and they were a Caris LeVert jumpshot away from making the first ever play-in game.
Chris Paul’s arrival brought hope.
There were expectations around the Suns, but few anticipated just how far they would be surpassed. The team made an appearance in the NBA Finals for the third time in franchise history, and for the first time ever had a 2-0 lead in that series. They ultimately lost, but the optimism we had before that season was amplified.
Think back to last season. Expectations were considerably higher entering the Suns’ campaign. Phoenix were consensus championship favorites, and following a record setting 64-win season, no team came close to them relative to expectations in the postseason. The fairytale ended following their embarrassing Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Now we look at this season.
The Suns are still being regarded as one of the best teams in the NBA, but their projected win total of 52.5 is 11.5 less wins than what was achieved a season ago. What are the expectations for the Suns? What are your expectations for the Suns? Are we entering the season with the same excitement we did last year? Or is there more of a nervous anxiety, knowing that the window this team possesses is finite?
It all begins on Wednesday, as for the first time since May 15 we get to see our team play minutes that matter. Hope. As of right now, we still all have it. So does every other franchise in the NBA. Hope can be a great thing; it’s what gets us through each day. On the other hand, if you place too much stock in your hope and your dreams don’t come true, the consequences might be crushing.
We know that, because that’s what happened in the playoffs last year.
Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets (L, 107-105) FULL RECAP
Phoenix Suns vs. Sacramento Kings (L, 105-104) FULL RECAP
Preseason Highlights/Post Game Podcasts
SUNS at NUGGETS | NBA PRESEASON FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | October 10, 2022:
362. Suns @ Nuggets Preseason Post Game Pod:
KINGS at SUNS | NBA PRESEASON FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | October 12, 2022:
363. Suns vs. Kings Preseason Post Game Pod:
News & Notes
AZ Central: ‘A lot has changed in two years’: Is championship window closing on Phoenix Suns?
AZ Central: Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric ‘thankful’ for birth of baby boy, Niko
Arizona Sports: Phoenix Suns notebook: Maintaining; injury updates; Booker the decoy
Fan Nation: Trade? Phoenix Suns Reportedly Have Interest In Former 6th Man Of The Year
ClutchPoints: Suns star Deandre Ayton’s surprising admission on relationship with Monty Williams
Fan Nation: Leaked Suns Jerseys Bring Vibrant Alternative to Rotation
Quotes of the Week
“Whether we win by 30 or lose by 30, we still have 81 to go after that.” — Devin Booker on the opening night matchup against the Mavericks
“We’re only going to go as far as he’s able to lead us.” — James Jones on Devin Booker
“He’s been pretty anxious about it, which I think every first-time father is. It was kind of funny watching him go through all the emotions.” — Monty Williams on new father Dario Saric
“I’m just so happy to have my kid. Different feeling, you know.” — Dario Saric
Injury Status Report
Cameron Johnson (right thumb sprain) is QUESTIONABLE
Cameron Payne (right finger sprain) is QUESTIONABLE
Landry Shamet (hip strain) is QUESTIONABLE
Jae Crowder (doesn’t love us anymore) is NOT WITH TEAM
This Week in Suns History
October is more than just my birthday — I hit the big 40 today — but it is also the date in which we saw the premiere of the only #1 overall pick in the history of the franchise.
It’s been four long years, hasn’t it?
The summer of 2018 was one fraught with debate. The Suns ended their 2017-18 campaign with a 21-61 overall record – second worst in franchise history at the time – and when the lottery balls fell, it was Phoenix who garnered the first overall pick.
Unlike the 2003 NBA Draft or the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft, there wasn’t a clear-cut number one pick to easily choose. Many locals and basketball purists believed University of Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton was the correct selection. He made sense, seeing as he was somebody who played high school locally in the greater Phoenix area and attended the same university of many season ticket holders. He had the physical build and filled the Suns need to have an athletic center.
Those plugged into the international circuit had their stock in the 19-year-old EuroLeague phenom Luka Dončić, and believed that he could be the number one overall pick, filling the Suns’ need to have a facilitator of the offense. The debate raged throughout the summer months and no one was surprised when Phoenix took Ayton number one overall, with Dončić falling to third.
Both prospects made their NBA debut four years ago today, and his fate would have it, they squared off against each other.
Ayton had the upper hand, scoring 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. He added 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Devin Booker added 35 points, and newly acquired Trevor Ariza had 21. The Suns handled the Mavericks, winning 121-100.
It would be one of their 19 wins on the season.
The largest margin of victory for the Phoenix Suns on opening night is 30 points. They did not twice, both on November 3.
Wednesday, October 19 — Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns
Friday, October 21 — Phoenix Suns @ Portland Trail Blazers
Sunday, October 23 — Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Clippers
The Suns begin their season at home, playing the team that eliminated them from the postseason 154 days ago. Is it a revenge game? Maybe. But it is the first of an 82-game schedule and you can’t put too much weight into a matchup that starts your season. Phoenix started 1-3 last season before popping off 18 in a row, so the “one game at a time” mantra is the best modus operandi.
Phoenix hits the road for a two game road trip, playing in Portland on Friday night against a Blazers team that we’re not quite sure about as of yet. Portland traded for Jerami Grant this past offseason, as well as defensive specialist Gary Payton II. It’s another year in which Portland brass is attempting to plug in the right pieces around Dame Time. With a projected win total of 39.5, even Vegas is unsure who and what this team is.
The brief road trip ends next Sunday in the City of Angeles as the Suns will meet their Pacific Division foe, the Clippers. There is plenty of buzz around the team that acquired John Wall this season and an early season showdown at Crypto.com Arena will be front and center on NBATV.
Try not to overreact to anything we see early in the season. Try.
Important Future Dates
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)