Suns One On One: Rivalries and is #BeatLA Petty

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Fan Take: Welcome to the Eric Bledsoe Era

There’s a light at the end of this rebuilding tunnel, Suns fans. It’s the light from the engine of the Eric Bledsoe train, and it’s coming fast.

I, along with my friends Dave, Kini and Guy, have a partial season ticket pass to Los Angeles Clipper games. Before you judge me too harshly, let me clarify. The package is called the Big Game package, and when we first invested in tickets, the Clippers were not the Clippers you see today. Rather, they were sort of a stage comedy punctuated by moments of competent basketball. With the Big Game package, however, we get to see the best teams of a particular season visit Staples Center, and the Suns, during this period, were a Big Game for everyone. So it was a way for me to see the Purple Gang, as well as other marquee teams, all while hanging out with pals. [Read more...]

Monsoon Season Extended Through April in Phoenix

The Monsoon season in Phoenix may extend through April this year for the first time in the city’s history.

No, I’m not a meteorologist nor do I play Weather Guy on TV — although some people in the comment section have compared me to Brick Tamland in the past — but I do know a thing or two about the Sun(s’) affect on Phoenix.

The Monsoon is my nickname for Suns rookie Archie Goodwin that began to come into focus during July’s Vegas Summer League. Off the court, like the time before a monsoon strikes, it was obvious that he is calm and a mild mannered kid trying to learn the ins and outs of his new found fame and fortune. When he steps on the court it’s an instant change, like a storm rolling into Phoenix on a muggy summer afternoon — he is as quick as lightning and finishes stronger than thunder around the rim. He has an explosiveness to his game that can destroy a defense in a matter of seconds and leave people watching in awe by his power and grace. [Read more...]

Day 6: Onuaku is West, West is Onuaku?

Day 6

If you spend as much time as I have with the team in Las Vegas, you’re bound to see double. It just comes with the territory. The Strip has that kind of affect on people.

In my case it has nothing to do with late nights or any of the other trappings of the city founded on sin. It has everything to do with what’s going on, on the court. And no, I’m not talking about the Morri (aka the Morris brothers).

There is a member of the Summer Suns who has evoked memories of another former member of the franchise, one who now happens to be on the bench as a coach. That player is Arinze Onuaku, the D-League All-Star who played his college ball at Syracuse. [Read more...]

Day 4: Family and Shoes Above Everything

Day 4

It’s no secret Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek is a family man. He ended his NBA career while he still had more than a few miles left on the tires to watch his kids grow, and postponed his second career in coaching so he could see them through high school.

In a generation where the words “husband” and “father” conjure up images of less than stellar examples such as Homer Simpson, Walter White, Peter Griffin and Don Draper, Hornacek is cut from a much different cloth. Think of the television fathers of the ‘80s and ‘90s like Dr. Cliff Huxtable, Danny Tanner, Steven Keaton and Jason Seaver, and you’ll have something closer to the Suns’ coach’s approach. [Read more...]

Day 2: Mr. Irrelevant and Captain Jack Sparrow

Day 2

I saw the Suns play their first game of Vegas Summer League last night. I also saw the return of a familiar name. Familiar in the way that deja vu or Lady Gaga is. (I mean really, isn’t she just a cheap Madonna knock off?)

The name is Dwayne Collins and if it doesn’t ring a bell right away, give it a few seconds. You’ll probably get that feeling that you’ve heard it before, but just can’t place where.

That’s because he was the 60th and final pick in the 2010 NBA Draft also known as “Mr. Irrelevant.” A nickname that Collins embraced by having it tattooed on his hand. It also meant his journey in professional basketball would be about as easy as trying to figure out how Jay Z is qualified to be an agent. [Read more...]

Day 1: Head West Young Men

Day 1:

Day 1 of Las Vegas Summer League was an interesting one. Aside from flying out in the middle of a massive haboob — yes, it’s ok if you snicker at that — and navigating a city filled with Kardashian clones while in search of a decent meal, there were some positive things related to basketball, as well.

If you are a believer in the universe sending signs, the Suns should be in for some good luck in Vegas this week. As the team walked onto their commercial Southwest Airlines flight, a man walked down the jetway behind them. It was the pilot and it was obvious he recognized the players. Before boarding the plane, he stopped to say something.

What he had to say was simple, he was a 25-year Suns season ticket holder and he was honored to have the team as his passengers. It was a unique and unexpected moment. It wasn’t all he did, though.

As we made our final descent into Sin City — which sounds more ominous than it really is — the pilot came over the in-flight intercom to announce the Suns Summer League team was on the flight. He wished them luck and then announced to all 200 people on the plane, including the poor woman who had to be wedged between the Morris brothers, that he had the utmost faith in new Head Coach Jeff Hornacek. In a completely organic moment, the passengers transformed into a sell-out crowd all applauding and cheering for the team.

It was just a reminder of the fact that Phoenix always has been and always will be a Suns town.

Right on the Mark

There were some encouraging results on the court, as well. During practice I spent my time focusing on a long-time fan favorite, who was embarking on a new journey.

Mark West will officially coach in his first organized game as a member of an NBA staff this year. After a 17-year playing career and time as vice present of player programs, he decided this offseason that it was time to take on a new challenge and join his former teammate on the bench.

One may wonder how he’ll make the transition. I’d say to them, easily.

On the court, he is a natural directing drills for the Suns’ big men, like he’s been doing it for years. Like his playing days, there is a quiet confidence to what he does. He has an obvious belief in his abilities and an apparent dependability to his style.

Off the court, he is just as prepared and he’s ready to mentor the younger players on the roster. It is quite clear he wants to help them grow from boys to men — and I’m not talking about the R&B group — by dispensing the wisdom only a long career in the league could provide.

This was most apparent in his interactions with 6-9 forward Dwayne Collins on Friday. He is a player whose game mimics West’s, minus the two-inch height difference that is. The elder Sun relied on his defense, rebounding and intelligence to have longevity in his pro career. He preached these tenets to his younger clone after practice in hopes of making an impact.

Just like his game, West kept pounding away on his protégé, dispensing an impressive amount of knowledge to Collins. The second-round draft pick soaked it up like a sponge, although he did say he’d have to go back and watch film of West’s game just to verify his pedigree.

If he does, he’ll see one of the hardest working guys in the franchise’s history. Although, he shouldn’t need to. West’s performance on the court as a coach so far demands respect without any verification

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...]