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.
This year everything seemed different. Players came down to the practice court in groups after getting their pre-season physicals. Most of them went through the same several “stations” on the court – each player got pictures taken for the team, the NBA and a few media outlets. Then they move onto individual interviews, the Suns.com Media Day webcast, maybe a press conference and lunch.
The pictures and interview parts were the same as last year, but the attitude and general feeling in the room was completely different. You had Steve Nash jokingly telling reporters to be nice and take turns during his press conference, Shaquille O’Neal coming into the room and immediately making the reporters laugh, Dragic, Barbosa and Diaw taking a picture together and not being able to stop laughing – and then heckling Coach Porter while he had his picure taken. Most of the players stayed on the practice court for quite a long time talking to each other. And when a reporter wanted to interview them, the players seemed excited to answer questions about the season.
I don’t know what will happen this season regarding wins and losses. With a new coach, several new players and most likely a new system to be installed during pre-season, bumps are probably a given during the season. But if the attitude I saw today is anything like what will prevail during the regular season, I think the Suns have a pretty good chance of not only getting to the playoffs, but making an improvement over last season’s results.
What are your predictions for training camp and the regular season?