Before the team gets on a plane to head to the Pacific Northwest I was able to get the news, the notes, and the quotes from USAC...
Today at practice I got a chance to see the quartet of hoops at U.S. Airways Center and it was a sight to behold. With a former shooter as the coach, having four hoops makes some sense, right?
The practice ran long and the team is heading out to the airport this afternoon for a game against the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night.
Here is what we learned today:
There is no ego. No superstar. And no matter how well an individual is playing, they will defer to the mantra that the teams' success is the most important thing right now to them. That was evident the other night after the win over New Orleans and punctuated with Markieff Morris reaction to being the Western Conference Player of the Week.
"No, our record means more than that," Morris on if the award means anything to him. "I thought they would give it to Kevin Love, 30 and 15 and all of that, but it happens."
Even more clear when asked about his bench role after starting the better half of two seasons:
"It is always more important to close and winning is more important than starting, than coming off the bench, or who is in at the end. Winning is most important."
This has been a theme all season for the Suns players. Everyone has the same message and the same ideology; team is more important than the individual. Winning is everything.
His son was born Monday morning, Mateo Dragic, at 7 pounds and 6.9 ounces. The family is healthy and Dragic is a proud father now. The baby dragon should be released from the hospital soon where Goran could join the team tonight or tomorrow afternoon in Portland.
"He wants to play. He is a competitor and like he said, "I want to get out there and play for my new son." That excitement. It is a big thrill to have your first child."
Quote on Markieff Morris finding his calling off the bench:
"For now, it is working for us. There might be a time where we say the best thing is to get him in the starting line-up, but right now that group that is coming off the bench is giving us a big lift and that is always great to have."
More Coach Hornacek on any special emphasis this week:
"We just have to continue what we are doing. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves in terms of putting a lot of new stuff in there. We just want to re-emphasis all of the stuff we have put in over the past month and a half of time."
On Slava getting some time in at center:
"I don't know how to explain it. He looks like he is slow and everything is methodical, I guess that is the best way to put it, but he gets it done. He had a couple of great blocks in practice today, some nice moves. I am not sure it is raw, it is methodical, and when we see practices like that it gives us that if we need to put him in we can do that."
Who would have thought a month ago that this would be relevant? Well it is and on these Practice Reports instead of looking at the NBA Draft we are going to dive into the standings.
As of today the Suns are the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference as the Division leader in the Pacific.
Suns: 5-2 (Won their last two games and face two potential playoff teams this week which will test their staying power here)
Clippers: 5-3 (Won their last two and face off against four playoff teams from last year in the next five games, next three games at home)
Kings: 1-5 (They have lost five in a row and look like a perpetual lottery team, again)