The departure of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson last year started to make you realize that the Phoenix Suns might be losing their personality. A personality filled with joy, laughter, and the dedication to win.
Before the season started last year, Jae Crowder held out and did not play another game for the Suns. You could see the goofy personality within him and how he bonded well with Mikal Bridges and the rest of the team, enjoying locker room shenanigans and pregame huddle routines.
After Cameron Payne moved on from the Suns and was not re-signed here in the Valley, then you really started to think, “Will this team have a fun personality again?”.
The Suns just made this kid’s night. DA, Mikal Bridges, Duane Washington Jr. and Cam Payne all went over there to dance with him to Nevada during pregame warmups: pic.twitter.com/A6JpSqGirY— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) November 26, 2022
This season, it is all about zeroing in on a championship and taking this thing seriously. But, why can’t we have both?
After leaving Media Day on Monday, I reflected on the personalities I saw up there on the podium. It made me miss Bridges even more and at times made me miss Deandre Ayton with his comically unapologetic responses.
We all know that Devin Booker and Kevin Durant take the game seriously, so you can’t really count on those two. Booker will make an occasional statement that makes you chuckle. “If ‘ifs’ were ‘fifths’”, right?
After the Durant was traded mid-season of last year to Phoenix, you could see him enjoy the game again. Dealing with scrutiny year after year from the media while playing with the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets, he seems to have found himself a home and does seem a little bit more relaxed.
So, it’s not that I just want this team to be focused on a championship, I would like to see this team have fun again and enjoy this upcoming season.
After Media Day, there are a few that I noticed guaranteed to bring that smile back to Phoenix. But before we get into the newbies, here is a quick trip back to the days when Suns basketball was fun. It wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like centuries to me!
Yuta, already a fan favorite, shared his excitement on Monday to be back with Durant. He can draw you in with a smile and his passion for the game. But you can see that he does not take himself too seriously.
This, I hope, will rub off on Durant. Durant, of course, stated that he loved playing with Yuta in Brooklyn with the Nets.
Yuta did mention that he is “lazy” when it comes to his free time after practice. Something that we can all relate to after a hard day at work.
You can definitely feel the goofiness and playfulness that Drew Eubanks has and will bring to this team.
The dynamic between Eubanks and Jusuf Nurkic will be more of a little brother, big brother relationship. Nurkic is more of the professional type and is the starter at the center position. Then you have Eubanks following behind, hoping to please big brother before getting a wedgie! That’s just my imagination, though.
Eubanks possesses this friendly and free-flowing personality that seems contagious. Something that we have missed here in phoenix since Mikal left for Brooklyn.
Friends with Mikal Bridges. Need I say more? Little is a tad bit more reserved but you can see that by January he might have us enjoying his personality and also maybe giving us a taste of his rapping capabilities?
nassir little told me about his passion for rapping which comes from his dad who was a “hip-hop junkie” and *not* from the years he shared with dame dolla in portland pic.twitter.com/bgm1fRyAah— damon (@iamdamonallred) October 3, 2023
This team will start to open up more and become comfortable here in Phoenix. It will take time on the court and chemistry in the locker room. Their personalities will soon grow on us just at the Valley Boy Era did. Where a championship is expected, having fun while doing so will make the journey even more memorable.