As the Phoenix Suns (3-2) got up shots and ran through the gameplan for tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets (1-3), two special guests decided to fly by. Literally. Two birds broke into the arena and were flying around.
One time they even got bold enough to fly low near the court and by the watching media contingent.
That was the highlight of practice today, but for more on the Suns and what happened today in practice here is the full Practice Report:
Both Goran Dragic and Coach Hornacek seemed positive about the injury recovery. It has only been four days, but after getting some shots up and running a lot (with varied speeds, stops, and motions) he is getting back to being Goran.
"It is probably not 100%, but he is a tough kid," Coach Hornacek said after practice. "Most likely if he is going I will probably start him."
This injury happened once before in pre-season as well, with an ironic return against the Denver Nuggets, the same team that is in town tonight. This injury is unrelated and Goran does not feel he came back too soon, "I was feeling fine, no pain."
What caused the injury? "New shoes. I did it twice (injured his ankle) in black shoes. I don't know if I don't know how to walk, but it didn't happen in the past so that is why I changed my shoes." New, white shoes in toe hopefully this is the last of ankle injuries. Come on Adidas, time for the Crazy Dragons!
Without Goran the Suns went 1-1 averaging 100 points per game and giving up 98.5 on the defensive end. In replacing Goran over the past two games Gerald Green has stepped up with 16.5 points per game making NINE total three-point shots.
...and more. Goran Dragic is expecting his first child in eight days, in that span the Suns play four games and he would be home for the birth in a perfect world before heading on the road to face the Sacramento Kings.
The last one off the court at today's shoot-a-round... Archie Goodwin. These are generally lite walkthroughs with points of emphasis on the game. No matter the context it was nice to see the rookie remain on the court as the coaching staff, players, and media all left, with a shooting coach or two hanging around to catch rebounds of course.
His shot is still a work in progress, but with the assistance of shooting coaches and assistants he is beginning to remove the hitch from his jumper.
It is also getting clearer and clearer when he is going to make a shot and when he reverts back to the inconsistent release with an aggressive hitch. The staff is getting the ball back over his head and not off to the side which is a positive as well.
For those that that Archie GODwin was going to come out this season and make an immediate impact as a Rookie of the Year candidate, that was a little premature, but he has progressed since Training Camp.
Strength and physicality is still a major concern for him as he transitions to the NBA. It is easy to describe Archie, he is an 18 year old. Physically, mentally, and all around, he is an 18 year old. That is not a bad thing, in fact it is a positive, and because that means all of his best moments are still to come.
The teams' performance without one of their captain's, Goran Dragic:
"When Goran went down I thought we were in big trouble, but I have always told our guys to be ready. You never know what is going to happen and guys stepped up. We feel we have guys across the board that if somebody does go down we can pick it up for them."
More Coach Hornacek on the team running enough:
"For me, unless we are scoring 140 we are not pushing it. I think sometimes we are settling. Some groups are running groups and with Channing (Frye), we still should be a running group, with him trailing the play. When Goran went out that seemed to slow it at least for the starting group."
On Markieff Morris playing more like a power forward lately:
"We always want our opposite big to roll to the basket. If you are setting a screen, roll to the basket, if you are the other guy work yourself down there so you can get offensive rebounds, put-backs, and that is when you get fouled. We need to get more free-throws. It is good to get three-pointers, but when we don't get those threes we have to get to the basket"
There is nothing locked in right now, but after each team has played ten or more games you can take this more seriously. The Suns own four potential first round picks through various sources and they are being looked after by three other teams at the moment. How are the surrogates doing?
Washington Wizards (1-3): T-No. 3 Overall With that the pick would remain in the Nation's Capital.
Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2): T-No. 19 Overall
Phoenix Suns (3-2): T-No. 19 Overall
Indiana Pacers (5-0): No. 30th Overall
This scenario gives the team three first round picks, none in the lottery, and most important -- none in the Top 2 of the 2014 NBA Draft. Check out NBA Draft Insider for more on the upcoming draft, profiles, rankings, and notes as the season progresses. Once the NBA has hit the collective 10 game mark then look for more individual prospect info on this section.