Gearing up for the season

Barry Gossage / NBAE Photos

Barry Gossage / NBAE Photos

The Suns had an all-employee meeting this morning in the Casino Arizona Pavilion at US Airways Center.  It’s something they usually do a few weeks before the season starts.  With employees spread out through the entire arena, it’s hard to fathom how many people actually work for the team.  But when we are all there together, you realize how many people it takes to keep an arena, 3 teams and many other events going on a daily basis.

Team President, Rick Welts, usually speaks to the employees and lets them know how the business is going, what the goals for the upcoming season are, etc.  That still happened and it was great to hear his vision of the next year.  After Welts spoke, we had several other people talk about the upcoming season including the All-Star Game that is coming to Phoenix in February 2009.  We had some discussion of what that would bring to Phoenix and to US Airways Center.  Then because of all of the changes that happened in the off-season, we also had some special guests. [Read more...]

Suns vs Suns: 2008 Edition

It’s 4:30pm in Tucson and I’m sitting at the very top of the McKale Center, listening to Steve Koek and Adam Beechen start the annual podcast of the Phoenix Suns scrimmage.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, this is my second time at the scrimmage and it’s really different this time.  At the first scrimmage, I had the privilege of driving Al McCoy to the arena.  I was surprised at how easy it was to get in when I was tagging along with Al.  No one questioned me at all.  I just followed Al and everything was ok.

This time was a little different.  With the scrimmage starting at 5:00, we had to leave for the arena mid-afternoon to get here on time and make sure we got everything set up.  Unfortunately, Suns.com’s Daniel Banks and I didn’t follow the example of our fearless leader, Jeramie McPeek, and we left a half hour later than he did.  That put us right in the middle of early Friday rush hour traffic in Tucson.  Not a good time.

After dropping Banks off at the arena to get started on setting everything up (and almost hitting Suns owner Robert Sarver with my car in my hurry to get to the parking garage – sorry, Mr. Sarver!), I found parking and was able to get inside.  I was nervous that it wouldn’t be so easy to get in this time without Al as my escort.  But the arena staff was very accommodating and helped me get in and find where I needed to be. [Read more...]

Welcome to Suns 101. Now take your seats…

School was in session Tuesday at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Admittedly, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. It is a college, after all.

But the only classroom the Suns were concerned with was situated on the McKale Center hardwood, where the team officially tipped off training camp.

With their first test slated for their season opener in San Antonio on October 29, that gives Phoenix just under a month to gear up for the new NBA year.

That’s not to say the Suns need a ton of instruction (remember, they have had some level of success over the last few years), but they do need to be brought up to speed on the Terry Porter way. While a lot of preseason pundits have predicted a new focus on defense this upcoming season, consider this. After the team’s initial “1-2-3 Suns” chant to break practice Tuesday, the new Suns head coach prompted a verbal addendum, “1-2-3 Defense.” [Read more...]

Suns chances good this season

“Who can look into the seeds of time and see which will grow and which will not?” Shakespeare complained in one of his crankier moods.

Well, sports bloggers, that’s who!

So, without further ado, the seeds envelope please.

Well, okay, a little more ado. A year ago at this time the word to the wise for the excited citizenry of Planet Orange was, “Calm down.” This year it’s “Cheer up.” [Read more...]

Yo STATta STATta!

Courtesy: YoGabbaGabba.com

Courtesy: YoGabbaGabba.com

I used to be frightened by the TeleTubbies. Well, frightened and somewhat intrigued at the same time. I’m still convinced there was some sort of subliminal messaging going on there, especially whenever that sun with the baby face would rise over the bunny farm and start to laugh. I have no idea what that was all about. I think it was laughing at the audience.

But this new hit kids show, Yo Gabba Gabba! disturbs me in an all-new way. I can’t tell you why exactly, because I loved Sesame Street as a kid and enjoyed watching Bear & the Big Blue House with my son when he was little. But there’s just something about giant furry creatures bouncing around with a dude in an orange jumpsuit that weirds me out.

What’s this have to do with our beloved Phoenix Suns, you ask?

[Read more...]

Nash leading by example

Following a scrimmage game on the Suns practice court at the US Airways Center this week, several players stopped for a quick Gatorade break on the sideline. After a few moments they returned, with the exception of one player – two-time MVP Steve Nash. It wasn’t because Steve was tired and thankfully it wasn’t because he had pulled anything. It was simply because he had never left.

In fact, at no point in between the four or five scrimmage games the team ran did Nash stop and take a break. He stayed on the court and just kept on shooting. I’m not telling this story because I necessarily recommend it from a health standpoint, but simply to set up the point I’m hopefully going to make.

[Read more...]

The Doggiest of Dog Days

 

Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos

Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos

Shouldn’t baseball be over by now? I’m tired of pennant races that don’t involve actual pennants. I’m bored with hearing about the Yankees and the Red Sox as if they were the US and Russia during the Cold War and not a single other team – or country – matters. I’m sick of the speculation over whether this will finally be the year the Cubs win a World Series…Long streaks of championship futility only matter to me if we’re talking about the Suns finally bringing home the big trophy. I’m exhausted by trade deadlines and endless commentary over whether or not the acquisition of this middle reliever/fifth inning specialist will make the difference for Houston, trying to climb from fourth place to third, or whatever.

Isn’t it time to wrap up football as well? I say a final decision on whatever it is Brett Favre is going through should just be declared the Super Bowl for the year, the winner is either Favre or the Packers, and we all just forget the season and move right along. Honestly, I haven’t seen this many people so excited over the start of camp since my classmates hit the last day of school in fifth grade. [Read more...]

Welcome, Matt!

Josh Greene / Suns.com Photos

 

When last season ended with that loss to San Antonio, and Mike D’Antoni departed for Gotham, it was hard to be optimistic.

All the talk was about the Suns’ aging core, the “failure” of the trade for Shaquille O’Neal, and the futility of the run-and-gun system in the playoffs. Sourpusses (like me) predicted a downturn in fortune and some years of rebuilding. After all, how much could the team change?

Well.

Step One, hire Terry Porter as Head Coach. A pro’s pro as a player, he’s got the respect of everyone on the team. Heck, after all the times he tortured the Suns in the playoffs as a member of the Portland Trailblazers, I certainly respect him. He knows defense, he knows offense. He can teach. And he’s committed to playing a deep rotation. [Read more...]

Kerr Discusses the 2008 Phoenix Suns Draft

 Steve Kerr enjoys the moment after Robin Lopez was drafted by the Suns. (Jeramie McPeek/Suns.com)

First of all, we are thrilled with what transpired yesterday in the draft. Everything turned out exactly as we’d hoped. After contemplating various scenarios in which we might have added a pick or moved up in the first round, we felt strongly that we were best off keeping our team intact and simply adding our first and second round choices. We felt that if things played out for us, we might be able to add two players who could help us accomplish our goal going into yesterday: to find players who can help us sustain our recent success, but who can also be building blocks for the future. Only time will tell, of course, but we’re confident we have two new players who will help us make a successful transition to a new era.

Robin Lopez is someone who will help us right away. It’s rare to find an active 7 footer who can run and defend, so we felt fortunate that he fell to us at 15. Robin will provide something we don’t have – a versatile big guy who can get out on the perimeter to defend screen and rolls, but who also has the size and mentality to protect the rim. He’s still raw offensively, but he has a decent touch on a 15 foot jump shot and he is very good at keeping balls alive and scoring on offensive rebounds. Robin will complement Shaq and Amare nicely because he plays away from the ball, preferring to do a lot of dirty work. Terry Porter expects him to contribute right away, so our depth will be greatly enhanced. Robin told us a month ago when we worked him out that he was dying to come to Phoenix, so he got his wish – as did we. This is going to be a great fit. [Read more...]