A Camping Veteran

Media Day 2008 is in the books and Training Camp is officially underway.

This year’s Media Day on the practice court felt a lot different than last season’s as a rookie. I was more relaxed and more comfortable because I knew what to expect. I still came in with a lot of energy and because I’m so much more accustomed to speaking with the media, I was able to relax a little bit more. Best of all, I wasn’t the butt of all the vets’ jokes like I was last season. This year I was even able to joke around with some of the young guys myself.

Speaking of, this year’s crop of Suns rookies have been asking me a lot of questions. I understand where they’re coming from. It’s tough coming into this league not knowing what to anticipate. I remember last year at Media Day kind of feeling in awe of everything, a bit in shock that I was attending my first NBA function. So I’ve been giving as much advice to the guys as I can, both good and bad. I’ve probably scared them a little bit more than anything else though. [Read more...]

Training Camp: Past and Present

Greetings, Suns fans.  As the new seasons nears and training camp is about to begin I have been asked to go back in time to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the Suns were in their infancy and have a look at how things have changed since that first training camp of mine so many seasons ago.  I am also quite sure this honor has been bestowed upon me as I wore numeral 41 and this is the 41st year for us.  No less an honor for compadre, Mark West, who also wore this number.  We are the only two in team history.  But, I digress.

As they say, ‘back in the day’ here is how it was.  In this first respect, it was the same then as it is now except for the jump off point.   We all met at the Coliseum – you remember the Madhouse on McDowell – and boarded a large bus just as the current Suns edition will do for their drive ‘down’ to Tucson.  Hmm, why is that we refer to Tucson as down there when it is a higher elevation??  Perhaps, the southeasterly direction.  Again, I digress.  After the doors shut and the trip begins, the similarities almost cease until workouts begin. There were no electronic devices for anything – phones, PDA, video games, IPod, laptop, etc. [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...]

Hopes are high during Media Day

Today is the day all Suns fans have been waiting for – Media Day!  Today is the official start of the 2008-2009 season.  It’s the day when the media gets to see the players after a summer off, when all of the questions that have pent up after digesting a coaching change, the addition of several new players through the draft and free agency and the questions that still linger after the first round exit in the playoffs last season.

Today was much more relaxed than last year’s event.  During Media Day last season, the main question was about how Shawn Marion would act after declaring he wanted to be traded.  People were trying to get answers to their questions about the team while trying not to dredge up bad feelings about the Marion situation.  All the reporters felt they had to ask the questions fans wanted to know – while knowing that the players and coaches most likely wouldn’t say anything people didn’t already know.  It was a tense two hours. [Read more...]

Why I Dig Sean Singletary

The Suns acquired rookie point guard Sean Singletary from the Rockets in a trade for D.J. Strawberry. Here’s why I like the addition, reasons listed alphabetically:

A – as in Assists. Sean’s a true point guard, raised in a city known for their great point guards, Philadelphia. He’s been running offenses since he picked up a basketball. He knows how to find guys on the court, and he’s not scared of going to the basket, taking punishment, and dishing off. For all his many gifts, D.J. just wasn’t going to become a real point guard. Now the Suns have real depth at the position, which will come in handy as Goran Dragic learns the NBA way. Yes, Singletary is unproven in the league as well, but he’s played against NBA talent during college and in the off-seasons – and done well.

B – as in Best, as in Singletary played in the best college basketball conference in the country, the ACC (so did D.J., by the way). He ran his team against Duke and North Carolina four times a year. He knows pressure atmospheres and hostile crowds – it doesn’t get any rougher than playing on those teams’ home floors…in college or in the pros. [Read more...]

Tucker Back From Summer League, Ready to Roll

Well I’m fresh off of summer league and already the NBA season is just around the corner. I really can’t believe how fast the offseason has flown by.

The summer league in Las Vegas was a good experience, but as a team I think we could’ve played better. We knew heading in that we were going to have our work cut out for us in terms of finding chemistry. DJ Strawberry and I were the only ones on the team who had played together and when you try to form a ballclub with a bunch of guys that haven’t played with one another, it’s tough. [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...]

First Impresssions

Daniel Banks/Suns.com

Daniel Banks/Suns.com

As I sat perched behind the Suns’ NBA Summer League Head Coach Igor Kokoscov at the scorer’s table, I realized that while this may seem like a working for vacation for myself, there are a lot of people with the Suns whose work-year is well underway.

 

Tell the young players attempting to make the Suns’ roster that the summer is the time for relaxing. Or tell the new coaching staff, who is trying to piece together their first team in the Valley of the Sun. Or how about second-year men DJ Strawberry and Alando Tucker? Both are looking to build upon their rookie seasons and crack a rotation filled with veteran stars.

The same could be said for rookie Robin Lopez, who along with the two veterans, led Phoenix to 98-74 victory over the Spurs on Thursday. After catching the Suns’ first game on TV and watching Lopez in tonight’s contest against San Antonio, it’s already fair to say that the young center has made his presence felt. [Read more...]

Summer in Phoenix Great for Tucker So Far

Noah Graham / Getty Images

DJ and I were at the US Airways Center again today, working on a few things with new assistant coach “Thunder” Dan Majerle. Dan will be our summer league coach in Vegas later this month and has been great to work with. He busts our chops a little bit, but he’s making sure we’re ready and we’ve all just been having a lot of fun on the court together.

I’ve talked to pretty much all the guys on the team, most of who are away doing things with their wives and kids. DJ and I are the youngest so we’ve just stayed here in Phoenix for the most part working on our games. Everybody’s excited though and looking forward to working with new head coach Terry Porter and his staff. I wish the best for Mike D’Antoni in New York, but believe change provides opportunity and that’s what I’m preparing myself for right now. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that this coaching staff has set the bar very high for us and expect nothing but the best results. [Read more...]