First game gives both questions and answers

In the wake of the coaching merry-go-round that spun Coach Mike off to New York, both General Manager Steve Kerr and Coach Terry Porter vowed these Suns would be different.  And one of the few things we could get out of last night’s game was that that promise is being kept.

These Suns are indeed “different”. [Read more...]

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...]

Nash hopes to play beyond current contract

So I just returned from two days in Tucson and here are some early impressions of training camp:

  • Terry Porter has instantly placed his imprint on this team with a no-nonsense approach which will make this a tougher team mentally and physically.
  • Terry is drilling the team on defensive fundamentals and even putting the guys through defensive slide drills!  (You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Shaq do the same drills we all did back in high school!)
  • Matt Barnes was the offensive star of the scrimmage last night at St. Gregory’s High School. He has a very quick release and showed off his accuracy from faraway. [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...]

Barnes' Blog Debut

Training camp is here and I can’t wait to get things started. There is a lot of anxiety and tension as we figure out what this team has to offer, but everyone is ready to implement the new system and see what we’ve got.

The first day of camp was a lot of pictures, a lot of talking to reporters and getting everyone’s opinion on how the season is going to go. I was asked a lot of questions about how excited I am to be here and how I think I’ll fit into the system. As I’ve told everyone, I think it will be pretty easy to go from Golden State to Phoenix. They were the two highest scoring teams last season, so hopefully it will be a smooth transition. [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...]

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...]