Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
While the start of the 2022/23 NBA season is still two months away, it’s worth taking a look at the Suns’ schedule now to get an idea of what to expect. Dave King did a great job yesterday of outlining how the Suns are set up for a strong start but today I have some graphics from Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer on Twitter) that deal with more specific areas of concern with scheduling, both for the Suns and the rest of the NBA teams. If you’re on Twitter, I highly suggest you follow Ed as he puts out some great material.
First off, I’ll forego the chart but tell you that Ed has ranked the Suns’ total strength of schedule (SOS) for the season as the 13th easiest. Tankathon.com has the Suns at the same spot in their preseason rankings although they don’t agree on many other teams. In the West, Tankathon has Golden State, Memphis, Minnesota, LAC, Denver and Dallas as having easier schedules than the Suns while Ed has ranked only Minnesota, LAC, Memphis and Dallas as having easier schedules (he has GS and Denver ranked as just slightly more difficult than PHX).
Intentionally or not, the schedulers did the Suns some favors this year. While not a lot of rest is built into the schedule, this year the Suns will at least have the fewest games in the NBA in which they will have less rest than their opponents (12) and 20 games in which they will have more rest than their opponents (11th most). In their remaining 50 games, both teams will be equally rested (time wise) which is tied for 2nd most in the NBA. That gives the Suns 70 of 82 games (85.4%) in which they will be equally or more rested than their opponents in the regular season.
The Suns’ SOS is also pretty consistent throughout the season when broken down into quarters (pre-Thanksgiving, pre-New Years, pre-All Star and post-All Star).
All in all, the Suns schedule isn’t perfect but there are many favorable things about it this year. There will be some difficult stretches and some easy ones but it’s pretty level overall as far as SOS goes.
As I said, the regular season starts in two months but training camp begins in just 5 weeks and preseason games begin in 6. Their first game will be against the Lakers in Las Vegas on Oct. 5, the Nuggets in Denver on Oct. 10, the Kings in Phoenix on Oct. 12 and they also have a game against Australia's Adelaide 36ers of the NBL. Although no date has been given on that one yet, I expect it to fall somewhere between the Lakers and Nuggets games. Many teams have 5 preseason games scheduled so there may be another Suns PS game announced eventually.
While I’m sure I’m not the only one eager to get a glimpse of how some players perform on the court during the preseason games, there’s one Suns player we don’t have to wait that long to see. Thanks to the Suns Geek (@sunsgeek on Twitter), we have some video highlights of Dario Saric playing for the Croatian national team in Europe. Dario looks strong and healthy in these highlights... a very welcome sight!
Dario Šarić Looks Solid For Croatia Basketball (Super Dario Is Back?)
Quote of the Week
“Year 18 for me will be exciting. I’m looking forward to getting back to work. Every year brings a new opportunity and I’m fortunate to still be able to play the game I love.” - Chris Paul
2021-22 Season Highlights
BUCKS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 10, 2022
MAGIC at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 12, 2022
CLIPPERS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 15, 2022
News & Notes
Deandre Ayton is the X-Factor to the Phoenix Suns championship hopes. Hoops Habit
Which Suns are Over, Underpaid? Real Value Assesses Contracts. Sports Illustrated
Phoenix Suns’ Best Free Agent Signing is No-Brainer. Yardbarker
Stars Make a Splash, but Continuity Is King in the NBA. The Ringer
Ranking the top 10 NBA players before 2022-23 season. Yahoo!/NBC Sports
The Small-Ball Lineup Every NBA Team Needs to Showcase In 2022-23. Bleacher Report
The Best-Kept Secret on Every NBA Roster Heading Into 2022-23 Season. Bleacher Report
This Week in Suns History & Suns Trivia
On August 25, 1976, the Suns acquired Tom Van Arsdale, twin brother of “The Original Sun” Dick Van Arsdale, from the Buffalo Braves for a 1977 second round pick and cash. It was the first time an NBA team had a set of twins on the same roster.
On August 25, 2005, on the same day the Suns extended head coach Mike D’Antoni through 2009 following a trip to the Western Conference Finals, they acquired small forward (and future Suns GM) James Jones in a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers. Jones signed a four-year, $11.1M deal, with the fourth year a player option.
On August 26, 1976, after playing only 39 minutes in 1975-76, 31-year-old guard John Wetzel ended his NBA career in retirement and returned to school at Virginia Tech. He was the first player in franchise history to retire as a member of the Suns. Wetzel would eventually return to Phoenix as an assistant coach in 1979 and become the team’s 7th head coach in 1987. His time as HC with the Suns would be limited to just one season as the team went 28-54 under him and missed the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year. At the time the team’s 28-54 (.341) record was the 2nd worst in team history and would retain that dubious distinction until the 2012-13 season when the Suns went 25-57 (.305).
On August 27, 1968, in the franchise’s first ever trade, the Suns acquired a 1969 2nd round draft pick from the Boston Celtics for expansion draft pick Emmette Bryant. “Em” had previously been with the Knicks, desired to stay in the East and refused to play for the expansion Suns.
On August 28, 1984, the Suns played their first ever overseas exhibition game (part of a tournament that included Macabi Tel Aviv and the New Jersey Nets), and defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 111-91 in game one at Yad Eliyahu Arena, Tel Aviv, Israel. The following day they would lose to Macabi Tel Aviv 113-98. The Suns would also later play in a tournament in Italy (in early September) and wind up playing a total of 5 overseas exhibition games in 1984 going 4-1 overall.
Classic Suns Highlights
NB60s: Dick Van Arsdale/Tom Van Arsdale
Suns Gametime: James Jones
Important Future Dates
August 31 - Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2022/23 salaries.
September 5 - Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks; those players become free agents on September 6 if not tendered.
Late September (Probably Sept. 26 but specific dates TBA) - Training camps open.
October ? - Suns vs Adelaide 36ers (NBL) Date and time not yet released.
October 5 - Suns vs Lakers (Preseason game in Las Vegas) 7:00 pm AZT
October 10 - Suns @ Nuggets (Preseason game) 6:00 pm AZT
October 12 - Suns vs Kings (Preseason game) 7:00 pm AZT
October 18 - 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)