Suns Green Light a Summer Blockbuster Starring Mini-LeBron

During the summer, especially in the “dry heat” oven known as Phoenix, going to the movies is a great way to kill time while beating the heat.

If you’re anything like me, since movies have become so expensive that you feel like you’re making a purchase on the New York Stock Exchange, you probably relying heavily on reviews to make sure you’re investing wisely. In the research phase you don’t rely on just anyone to guide your decision either. You turn to the biggest names and not to get honest opinions and treat them like gospel.

It’s those assessments that keep you from seeing Olympus Has Fallen and send you to its slightly funnier and more entertaining twin White House Down. It, and the common sense most people posses starting the day they are born, are what keep you from spending money on Grown Ups 2 when you can see the same film for $1 in Red Box when it was called (insert any Adam Sandler movie title from the last decade here). [Read more...]

For McDonough, Seeing is Believing

In the world of the “information superhighway,” everyone with a keyboard, an internet connection and the ability to spell Wikipedia or YouTube, or at least get it within a few letters, can find information, trivial or otherwise, that they’re looking for in an instant. Everyone, with the touch of a button — or is that a screen now — can feel as if they’re an expert on any subject.

The problem is, in a world where everything is available in an instant, there is still no substitute for actual, real-world experience. Enter Ryan McDonough.

Although only beginning his first season as the man holding the reigns of an NBA basketball operations department, McDonough is no stranger to hard work and even harder scouting of the most obscure talent. For years he has scoured the globe gaining first-hand knowledge of players starting at a young age. [Read more...]

I’ve Seen the Future and It Includes Purple

I’ve seen the future.

As a fan inside the organization you get the opportunity to see things, whether you’re supposed to or not, that other fans don’t necessarily get a chance to. You get a look behind the proverbial curtain that you can only dream about as a child. It’s things like seeing inside the locker room and the training room. Getting to know the players and sitting down to have conversations with the legends of the team. Sometimes you even get a chance to help shape the future of the organization in one way or another. I’ve been privileged to get to do all of those things in my brief time working for the team.

Some fans haven’t been happy as of late. I can understand why. You may feel unlistened to or hurt for one reason or another. You’re entitled to your feelings, but I can tell you this, don’t believe everything you read or see. It may not exactly be true. [Read more...]

Thank You John Paxson?

Time flys by when you’re having fun, or attending a large amount of therapy. Twenty years ago on June 20, 1993 I stopped having a lot of the former and began the latter.

That’s because on that night at the America West Arena (now known as the US Airways Center) the Bulls’ John Paxson hit a 3-pointer to end the 1993 NBA Finals . It also ended the Suns’ best chance at winning a title, at least in my opinion. It’s a moment that I remember frame by frame to this day, although my brain has injected Don Henley’s “The End of the Innocence” blaring on the arena PA system. The song’s refrain kicks in just as Mark West looks up to see the dagger fall through the net. Other than that, it is a completely untainted memory even two decades later. That’s because, at just nine years old, it was my first experience with true heartbreak. [Read more...]

Could Candy Be Steven Adams’ Biggest Flaw?

When dealing with international draft prospects entering the NBA sometimes you just don’t know what you might get. In Steven Adams’ case what you don’t get may have nothing to do with his on the court skills. Even though he played one year in the states after arriving from New Zealand, there are some cultural things he may still have to adjust to in the NBA.

Adams’ has a glaring deficiency that any team that drafts him may have to address quite quickly, and his representatives may have to turn into an endorsement deal. The 19-year-old center who played one year at Pitt made a pretty big confession following his pre-draft workout for the Suns over the weekend.

“What’s a peanut butter cup?,” Adams said to a reporter. “I haven’t even tried those yet.”

Never tried a peanut butter cup? Isn’t that required on American college entrance exams these days? If not, it should at least be expected of a person wanting to enter the NBA.

In a league that includes guys like Lamar Odom who has battled with a well documented candy addiction, even being nicknamed “the Candyman”, Derek Rose who has had stomach issues in the past due to gummy bears that almost made him miss a title game and even Phoenix’s own Michael Beasley who has a love for Skittles, Adams will have to learn to adapt on the fly.

That, and he’s missing out on one of the great joys in life, chocolate combined with peanut butter. Easily the best two-man game outside of Stockton and Malone.

The best part of it all though was the sense of humor Adams showed about the situation. He laughed about the entire situation saying he wouldn’t share his bad habit secrets with the media while also getting in a joke of his own telling the gathered group that for Phoenix, he’d expect the reporters to have better tans. Apparently he doesn’t realize how much time we spend inside waiting to talk to guys like him.

In a process that can tend to feel monotonous, it was nice of Adams to show off his personality. And Steven, wherever you wind up, the first time you’re back in Phoenix the first peanut butter cup is on me. (That is, as long as the league doesn’t look at that as an added incentive.)

A Fan’s Guide to the Suns Offseason

While walking the streets of New York — the city, not the pizza joint — many things run through your head. Most of which start with, “I really hope that half-naked guy isn’t walking in my direction.” But I digress.

A lot of those things seem pretty mundane or second nature at the time, as you’re just trying to navigate the hoards of people in an effort to cross the street without getting hit by one of the many overzealous cabbies more willing to curse at you than a Lakers fan visiting US Airways Center. It’s not until you are a few steps — no pun intended — removed from the situation that you really see there are life lessons to be learned from the concrete jungle that is Manhattan.

As was the case with me. After returning from the NBA Draft Lottery in Times Square and reflecting on the experience, I realized it actually taught me a thing or two about the process the Suns and their fans will be going through to rebuild the franchise. [Read more...]

Draft Lottery: Calling it a Draw with Fate and a Fortune Teller

At some point in my life someone once said, “Fate is a fickle mistress, my friend. You never know when she’ll turn on you.” On second thought, I don’t know anyone that wise or eloquent, so I must have read it somewhere.

It’s a quote I didn’t fully comprehend until coming to New York for Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery. As I’ve chronicled on this blog over the last few days, I was in search of my own luck for the Suns in the Big Apple. I wasn’t alone in my crusade either.

As I walked alongside President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby and President of Business Operations Jason Rowley towards the home of the NBA Draft Lottery, ABC’s Times Square studios, the two decided to make an impromptu and unique stop. [Read more...]

Draft Lottery: Signs and Exorcising Decades Old Demons

New York City. The Big Apple. The concrete jungle. Also, the place I finally got to tell one of the Suns’ greatest nemesis of the last two decades just how much he’s hurt me and the rest of the Phoenix faithful.

Let me take a step back though. This entire trip to New York City has become an exercise in luck (and also an exercise physically with all the walking you have to do). Since my arrival yesterday, I’ve wandered the city in hopes of finding signs that tonight could be a special night for the Suns franchise. Within minutes of walking into Times Square, mere feet from the studio the entire draft lottery will take place at, I found a pair of new purple-and-orange Charles Barkley shoes. And if they weren’t $235, I’d be wearing them with my suit as we speak. Coincidence? Quite possibly. But these were shoes that I hadn’t found in any Valley area store over the last week while actively looking for them.

If that wasn’t sign enough, when I looked up, the window of the ABC studio had lottery ball graphics in it. Staring me straight in the face, above the street entertainers dressed as Iron Man, Spider-man and Teletubbies, was the Suns’ logo. Okay, so that one is kind of a stretch seeing as every team, including ones not in the lottery, were represented in the graphic. But, I’ll take what I can get and it is not bad for my first hour in the city. [Read more...]

NBA Draft Lottery: Fate, Luck and Star Trek

Captain’s log, May 20th 7:17 a.m. Phoenix time…

Sorry about that, guess I still have Star Trek: Into Darkness still on my mind. And apparently so does the rest of North America, as the movie brought in more than $84 million over the weekend.

We’re not here to talk about movies, though. We’re here to talk about young men who could make box office millions themselves over the next several years in the NBA. During the next two days this will be your ticket to an inside look at what it’s like to travel to the NBA Draft Lottery in New York City. Call it a “humble brag,” if you must, but I am lucky enough to be one of the few members of the Phoenix Suns’ organization to make the trip. I thought it’d only be fair to share my journey with you. Here is the first installment.

Fate is a funny thing. That is, if you believe in it. It is an ideology that is based on the concept that you have little to no control over the outcome of your own life. For me, I don’t feel that any more than when I’m 30,000 feet above the ground in a metal tube like I am right now, as I head to the Big Apple.

It’s also an idea that is at the core of the NBA Draft Lottery — that is unless you’re like the guy on the street corner screaming about this or that and believe in league-wide conspiracy theories. The destiny of a group of franchises rests in the hands of a bunch of white plastic ping pong balls that provide a seemingly random four-digit number.

Get the right combination and your team’s fortunes can turn around faster than Robert Downey Jr.’s career. Come up short, and you could be left at the drawing board heading into the draft.

On this trip, however, I’ve decided not to leave things to fate. In an effort to stack the deck in the Suns’ favor, I brought along some lucky charms suggested by fans. Yes, I realize these items probably have about as much chance of working as the seat I’m sitting on in this plane does of acting as a flotation device in the case of an emergency water landing (which is just the nice way of saying a crash), but that won’t stop me from being optimistic.

With the percentages just as likely that the team moves down from its No. 4 pre-lottery slot as it does up, it can’t hurt to provide a little help regardless of how improbable it is. With me, I brought an autographed Cotton Fitzsimmons ticket stub I’ve had since I was a kid. If the Irish are lucky, why not have something that connects this draft lottery to the most famous Irishman in franchise history (sorry Shaquille O’Neal, you didn’t make the cut).

One item isn’t enough, though. We’re trying to combat a 44-year-old streak of no luck (I refuse to call it bad, because it’s been such a fun ride). With that in mind, I decided to go back to the source of the issue in many fans’ minds. The last time the Suns had a legitimate chance at the No. 1 pick: the 1969 coin toss. The fans told the team to call heads, and when that silver Kennedy half-dollar was flipped, it came up tails and Lew Alcindor went to Milwaukee. The Suns have never had the first pick since.

Thanks to a commenter on my blog post last week, I purchased a double-sided Kennedy half-dollar to bring with me. Both sides? Heads of course. If only it had been used on that fateful day in 1969, there might be a championship banner hanging from the rafters in Phoenix.

Both items will be tucked securely in my suit pocket as I sit in the ABC Times Square studios to watch the drama unfold Tuesday night. Maybe they won’t change whatever the fate of the Suns’ pick is; much like nothing myself or my fellow passengers do can change anything about our flight. But in either situation, it can’t hurt to have a little faith. Oh, and a little luck never hurt anyone either.

You Are Fan-tastic

Regardless of wins and losses there is one thing that constantly puts the Suns at the of or near the top of the league. Something that has the passion and heart that very few NBA teams have. It’s the fans of course.

The true lifeblood of the organization, Suns fans continually support the team through thick and thin (and we’re not just talking about the different versions of Charles Barkley since he retired). No, they have found a passion for Arizona’s first professional sports franchise that has spanned 45 years. While the names on the roster have changed, their desire to don the purple and orange and cheer as loud as possible has never wavered. [Read more...]