‘Tis the season.
In most years that phrase refers solely to the hustle and bustle that comes along with the holidays. This year is a little different than most. In 2011 the saying also applies quite well to the craziness and excitement that will be the Phoenix Suns’ truncated preseason.
Most of you will spend time over the next three weeks running around like Steve Nash on the fast break. While you’re putting together travel plans, buying gifts, decorating the house and figuring out who’s been naughty and nice in preparation of the big day (or days depending on your beliefs), your favorite NBA franchise will be running through their own gauntlet of planning and execution.
Just like in your life, big things are coming for the Suns (and I’m not just talking about Marcin Gortat arriving at training camp). Your holiday season is going to be hectic and interesting and the Suns’ condensed preseason will follow a similar pattern.
Making a list and checking it twice
Throughout the year, you have probably set a budget and gathered a list of what people want and need this holiday season. You have contacted those in your life you are more interested in taking care of to find out exactly what it will take to make them happy. (Sure, it is the thought that counts, but no one wants to be the one to give socks when the person really wants a Red Ryder BB Gun.)
The Suns are no different. Since July they’ve been busy compiling a list of what they need, what free agents they want to pursue and what trades they want to explore. Over the past week they’ve spent more time on the phone than Colin Farrell’s character in Phone Booth. They’ve made their list and are checking it twice, heck – thrice, all in preparation for the opening of the shopping season on December 9.
Crazy shopping sprees
Many of us — present (no pun intended) company included — like to wait until the last minute to do their gift shopping. With waiting comes the chaos of shopping malls more crowded than a Justin Bieiber autograph session at an all-girls high school, and with the added pressure of the ticking clock. People run through the aisles and grab whatever they can get their hands on. They’ll even be willing to spend a little more if it guarantees they get the item that makes their loved one happiest.
The NBA’s truncated free-agency period is very similar. What general managers are looking for presents a problem shared with the iPhone 4s this season, there’s a limited supply of them. Not to mention, what usually takes a matter of months to complete will have to be done in a matter of weeks. Teams like the Suns will have to hurry to cross everything off their list and do it with the added pressure of knowing the season is right around the corner. While it probably won’t result in a 1 AM fight over an underpriced two-guard that includes the spraying of mace, teams like the Suns will have to fight to get what they need in time for the regular season.
Wrapping the gifts
After all the shopping is done, next comes making all the gifts presentable. The presents are great, but it’s the wrapping paper and bow that creates anticipation. It’s the finishing touch you make before you give the gift, and it’s one of the most important aspects of the gift giving process.
The wrapping process for the Suns will begin on December 10 with training camp. The new comers will need it to become as presentable as possible before the start of the season. Building chemistry during practices and becoming acclimated with the system is the paper and bow that will make the new-addition look their best before their big unveiling.
Opening the gifts
All the preparation, shopping and anticipation leads up to the big day. Sure, a few gifts may get opened early, but it’s that one big day when a majority of the gifts get unwrapped and you get to see if everything was worth the hassle and the effort.
For the Suns, their two preseason games against the Denver Nuggets on December 20 and 22 will give fans and the front office a preview of the team and their new additions. Although, it won’t be until the first game of the regular season that the 2011-12 Suns will truly be unveiled.
What will the gift look like when it’s unwrapped? We don’t know, but what we do know is this: there are a lot of big things to come for the Suns over the next few weeks. The question is, Suns fans, are you ready for the fun to start? ‘Tis the NBA season and that’s a beautiful gift in and of itself.