Fan Take: Welcome to the Eric Bledsoe Era

There’s a light at the end of this rebuilding tunnel, Suns fans. It’s the light from the engine of the Eric Bledsoe train, and it’s coming fast.

I, along with my friends Dave, Kini and Guy, have a partial season ticket pass to Los Angeles Clipper games. Before you judge me too harshly, let me clarify. The package is called the Big Game package, and when we first invested in tickets, the Clippers were not the Clippers you see today. Rather, they were sort of a stage comedy punctuated by moments of competent basketball. With the Big Game package, however, we get to see the best teams of a particular season visit Staples Center, and the Suns, during this period, were a Big Game for everyone. So it was a way for me to see the Purple Gang, as well as other marquee teams, all while hanging out with pals. [Read more...]

The Veteran: Al McCoy

In August, Los Angeles Dodger play-by-play announcer Vin Scully declared that he’d return next season for a record breaking 64th campaign with the club. It was a pretty big deal in Southern California – Everybody here exhaled in relief and blew an extra quantity of smog to the east, explaining those particularly polluted days in Phoenix early in September. The Dodgers without Scully? Unthinkable. You might as well take Mason away from Dixon, Black away from Decker, or Hall away from Oates.

(By the by, the Dodgers’ Spanish-language play-by-play guy, the estimable Jaime Jarrin, announced around the same time that he’d be coming back, too, for a 55th season…thus making him only the second-longest tenured announcer in baseball.)

Wait, you say. This isn’t a Los Angeles Dodger blog. It isn’t even a baseball blog. Has Beechen been without basketball for so long that he’s completely lost his grip? [Read more...]

New Suns Are Cure For Hoops Depression

And here I was, all set to be depressed this summer. As top free agents were discussing sexy destinations, “big threes” and contract extensions, I was roaming the aisles of my supermarket for comfort food, Netflixing the first two seasons of “Downton Abbey” and ordering tissues in bulk.

Then a funny thing happened. The Suns went and made themselves interesting again. They added seven new names to the roster, whether by draft or free agency. They radically changed the makeup and chemistry of the team practically overnight, while refusing to sit and pout if free agents bid farewell. No time for tears. Moving on. Next starts now. [Read more...]

Super Fan Turns Super Scout

Every year the NCAA Tournament rolls around and everyone begins to fill out brackets for office pools, family pools, or a friend’s pool, and winning choices become based off extensive research, the records of the squads, allegiances as an alum, the colors of the uniforms or whose mascot could beat up the other team’s. If the last one happens to be true, Ohio State might never win a game. [Read more...]

John MacLeod Was My First Coach

John MacLeod taught me how to play basketball. Literally.

When I first really became a fan of the Phoenix Suns, in 1975-76 as the Sunderellas were making their unlikely first run at the NBA Finals, I looked at Coach MacLeod as though he was General Patton or Winston Churchill, a tactical genius and inspirational leader of my heroes. I could root for Paul Westphal, Dick Van Arsdale or Alvan Adams to make the shots, but Coach MacLeod was the chess master moving the pieces, and the players were executing his vision. As this was my first real exposure to pro basketball, and Coach MacLeod was the first coach I’d ever paid any attention to, he seemed like he must be a more-than-human figure, the way he directed his scrappy underdog players past the best teams of the time. [Read more...]

Looking On The Bright Side

Like the song says, “You gotta accentuate the positive.” So, as this cockamamie mini-season nears its All-Star break, let’s consider some of the things that have gone very, very right for our beloved Purple Gang in this 2011-12 campaign: [Read more...]

Happy Old Year, Suns fans

Happy New Year, Suns fans.

Now if only that year was 2004.

Because, with the signing this week of swingman Michael Redd, that gives the Suns a trio that, in that faraway year, would have been nearly the equal of the super-threesomes in Miami and Boston today. [Read more...]

The Team From Nowhere

No one expected much from the Purple Gang at the start of the 1983-84 season.

 

Some Suns fans had their reservations about the direction of the team going back to the start of the previous campaign, when General Manager Jerry Colangelo swapped power forward, and onetime franchise savior, Truck Robinson to the Knickerbockers for power forward Maurice Lucas.  What’s this? Phoenix fans asked each other.  We’ve won fifty games three times in the last three years, and Truck’s been a part of that!  Why are we trading him for an older power forward, who doesn’t have Truck’s scoring or rebounding ability anymore, and has balky knees to boot?

[Read more...]

A Dream Draft

I know how the lottery picks in the 2011 NBA Draft in a few weeks are likely to go, and I know how I’d like to see them go. Two very different things. Here’s my hope for the latter: [Read more...]

Cleaning Out My Locker

Gortat is the kind of center the Suns haven't had in a long time.

Well.

Having spent the last few weeks devoting every iota, every fiber of my being, to rooting against the Lakers, I finally have a little time on my hands. So I’m venturing into US Airways Center to at last clean out my locker from the 2010-2011 NBA season. Things tend to pile up during the course of six or seven months, and to be honest, I don’t do the best job of keeping my Superfan locker neat and orderly, so I have no idea what I’ll find…

Hey, here’s a Hedo Turkoglu Suns jersey, barely worn. And this looks like his playbook. I wonder why he wrote all this stuff in the margins… “Orlando roolz….I (heart) Orlando…Dwight, do you miss me?”

Speaking of playbooks, here’s Earl Clark’s. Wow, the spine really cracked when I opened it, like it had never been opened before.

Here’s Jason Richardson’s basketball card from 2006, when he was with Golden State. Twenty-three points per game. Say, that’s pretty good!

A whole folder of Josh Childress’ take-out menus from Italian restaurants. That are actually in Italy. Someone’s been remembering the good times, looks like.

A note from Gani Lawal’s agent outlining their strategy for convincing the Suns to keep him on for next season: “Emphasize league-leading shooting percentage.” It’s true, he didn’t miss a single shot all season. Then again, he didn’t take a shot, either.

Garret Siler’s food journal. Man, that’s a lot of soy!

What’s Frederic Weis doing in here? Boy, Vince Carter really does carry this guy with him everywhere he goes.

A letter from Yuta Tabuse to Zabian Dowdell…It’s written in Japanese, but I think I can translate it… “Hang in there…You never know.”

A half-full glass of Goran Dragic’s potential. I wonder why he didn’t use the whole thing while he was here? Oh well. I hope he took the rest to Houston with him.

I’m not sure if I’m reading these papers correctly…It looks like academic correspondence between Channing Frye and mathematicians at MIT discussing precise angles and trajectories for jump shots about twenty-three feet away from he basket. I guess that explains a lot about his last few seasons.

Jeez, this is heavy…a whole case of batteries for Jared Dudley’s iPhone. The man does love his Twitter.

This looks like a letter Marcin Gortat never got around to mailing home to Poland. “Dear Mom: Can you believe they’ve never had a center like me on this team before?”

Uh oh. Here’s Robin Lopez’s confidence. I thought I gave this to him at the start of the season. My bad, everybody. I’ll get it back to him before training camp, I promise.

The pawn shop receipt for Aaron Brooks’ “2009-2010 Most Improved Player” award. Boy, I sure hope he gets that back, and soon.

One lottery ticket, issued to Robert Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks and Alvin Gentry. And it’s in a little box with all these rabbits’ feet and four-leaf clovers…

A big, big box of thank you cards, messages of support, and letters of appreciation for Suns President Rick Welts. I don’t think he’s actually received these yet. But he will. Very soon. And he deserves them.

And finally…

Hey, what’s this buried way in the back here, covered by blankets? Looks like some kind of art or something. Lots of dust on them…Holy cow, I think these are portrait paintings of Steve Nash and Grant Hill! But the guys are painted to look like they’re 450 years old! I wonder if I should show these to them…Nah, I think I’ll just put them back where they were, keep them for next season, and forget I ever saw them.