Welcome to ‘Inside the Suns’, your weekly deep down analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.
Each week the Fantable — a round table of Bright Siders - give their takes on the Suns’ latest issues and news.
Fantable Questions of the Week
Q1 - I’ve often read articles saying that defense will be a weakness for the Suns this year. Do you agree?
GuarGuar: Defense may be the weakest part of our team, however I don’t think we will have a bad or average defense by any means. We’ve been a top 10 defense for the past few years. We were a better defensive team last season when KD was on the floor. I expect us to be top 10 again, maybe even top 5. People severely underrate Booker, Ayton and Durant’s defense. I’m expecting/ irrationally hoping Vogel gets to DA and lights that fire back in him. If we have an engaged Ayton we can be a top 3 defense no question.
OldAz: Not necessarily. The Suns have all the right components to be a decent defense and at the end of the day, good team defense is mostly about energy, effort, and alignment from all 5 players on the floor. The Suns primary lineup will have two 7 footers and potentially another big man at the PF spot. They might be susceptible to fast guards that can beat Book or Beal off the dribble, but that guard would then be running into a very large second line of defense. On the other hand, injuries could most greatly impact the defense by creating inconsistency in the lineup. We saw this last year as the starting lineup was in a constant state of flux.
Brrrberry: The notion that Vogel is some defensive mastermind is a bit overstated. I’m sure he comes with a solid approach to that end tactically but defense is just as much effort on this level as it is X’s and O’s. I’d guess where Vogel excels is in building trust with his players and in turn he gets guys to play hard for him When you get an entire team of NBA players all bringing effort towards defense, you’re going to get some good results. This team is insanely talented and it’s not just on offense. I’m expecting top 10 defensive metrics.
Rod: At this point I don’t think the Suns will be as strong defensively as they were but I really am not ready to call defense a weakness. The Suns were 7th in defensive rating during the regular season last year and I don’t think they got a lot worse because of all the offseason changes. The big question is who will be the Suns’ point of attack defender.
I think Book might actually want that responsibility and I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing how it works out early on. If Vogul continues running a switch-happy defense, the initial defensive assignments might not matter that much. I’m also hoping to see the Suns use more zone D this season too which I think might work out well for this group.
I believe the key will be Vogul’s schemes though and I don’t expect a huge drop in defense for the Suns this year.
Q2 - Book, Beal or KD... whose hands do you want the ball in if the Suns are down 1 with 3-seconds left to play... or does it even matter?
GuarGuar: End of the game should be in either of Durant or Booker’s hands. Whoever coach feels has the better matchup and can get the cleaner look should get the ball. Very comfortable with both of these guys taking the last shot. They both have numerous game winners and lots of experience taking the last shot.
OldAz: I don’t think it should matter as they are all 3 cold blooded killers in this area. In most cases it will depend on the matchup, who has the hot hand, and how the defense wants to play it. If all other factors are equal, for me it would be KD, then Book unless it is a last minute out of bounds play, in which case having a 7 footer inbound the ball to Book makes a lot of sense. The beauty of the Suns is that the other team does not get to focus on any one end of game option and the Suns should maintain this advantage by varying who gets those shots in the regular season.
Brrrberry: This one’s tough, and I suppose I’m thinking it’s a who cares, so long as it’s Book, KD, or Beal. Seems like all 3 of them are committed to a selfless approach and working through the best way to get them all involved as the season progresses and I’m buying it. I’m sure there’ll be moments when whoever is left out will internally have wanted the opportunity but I think we’re going to win at such a significant clip that it’s not even going to matter. Still can’t believe we’ve got these 3 dudes on the Suns at the same time with the best C we’ve ever had as a franchise, it’s pretty absurd.
Rod: It does matter but only a little bit. For the most part, I want whoever’s got the hottest hand taking that shot... even if that happens to be Eric Gordon. The Suns have at least four very reliable shooters that are used to the pressure of taking that shot so going with whoever’s having the best night seems like the best bet to me.
Q3 - Your thoughts on the new uniforms?
GuarGuar: I don’t think any new uniform will beat our Sunburst unis from last season, but I do kinda like our new City uniforms. It’s a pretty clean look and I think they will look better when on the court. I really wished we kept those Sunburst uniforms permanent though. Those are my favorite for not only the Suns but the whole NBA.
OldAz: It’s good that they have uniforms... Otherwise they would be playing naked. I am about as close to apathetic to these as I can be at this point as they just seem derivative of the past Sunburst edition from the Barkley era and that version was better IMO. I agree with what @Espo said on the app formerly known as Twitter:
“Remember, 50% or more of all feelings towards a uniform are attached to what happens in them. 7SOL uniforms are possibly the worst ever but are loved by many because it reminds them of Nash, Amare and Marion.”
These uniforms will look a whole lot better if there are pictures of them alongside falling confetti and the Larry O’Brien trophy next Summer. Until then, I can think of at least 4 past uniforms I like better: #5 I like the current “PHX” jerseys in Black (not sure why, but I really like these), #4 the original Sunburst in any of the 3 colors (white, purple, and black), #3 the Valley Jersey (so sad that this was just an alternate), and #1 the Western Font Jerseys of the team’s first 24 years (these were all basically the same except for font size and the best were right before the change in the early 90’s). This aligns with the Twitter comments above as well, as the sentimentality of youth and the teams I grew up with carry a lot of weight in this personal preference.
Brrrberry: I’d have liked something brand spanking new personally. I was a big fan of the Valley, Tribe and other black joints we rolled out recently. I thought all of them were total hits so I’d have liked to see them keep that theme of new new going. All the same the same I like the new ones too so no true complaints. Hope they still wear the Valley joints every once in awhile.
Rod: I like them better than last year’s Icon and Association editions but not as much as the original Sunburst uniforms. It’s difficult to put into words but I suppose it’s because they kind of look more like knockoffs than an original design. Let me be clear, I don’t dislike them but I would have been much happier if they had found a way to incorporate the Sunburst into a design that is a little more unique than these.
Honestly though, I care much more about how they play than what they wear on the court. Play good and you’ll look good no matter what you’re wearing.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members for all their extra effort this week!
Last Week’s poll results
Last week’s question was, “ESPN’s post-offseason edition Power Rankings has the Suns at 4th. Is this...”
03% - Too high.
49% - About right.
48% - Too low.
A total of 473 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
Who do you want taking that last second, win or lose shot?
This poll is closed