Who doesn't like a good nonsensical ranking in the pre-season? Well, this is for you...
Carrying on the long standing (three years or so) tradition of #SUNSRANK Bright Side of the Sun has put together the Top 25 faces of the franchise if you will for the 2014-2015 season for the Phoenix Suns. We beefed up the staff so there are more opinions to share and the rankings are more diverse than before when it was basically three men and a baby putting together the rankings.
In these rankings some great names were left out of the Top 25 like Casey Prather, Jamil Wilson, Joe Jackson, Earl Barron, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Alec Brown, the Cheerleaders, and the Hip-Hop Squad. They will not be forgotten.
#SUNSRANK is a compilation of 14 writers here on Bright Side that ranked the most important names and faces of the franchise for this one year. This is not a "future rankings" or some Fox News one-sided account of things. Everyone had their own opinion and the rankings are as the staff deemed fit. There were some wild rankings, but we are not going to leak like a sieve a la the NSA in here. We have some integrity.
Check back daily as well as on Twitter for #SUNSRANK where five more names will be released leading all the way down to No. 1. What do you think about these five listed so far?
No. 25: New Arena Name (23.857)
Profile: Once known as America West Arena, then U.S. Airways Center, and now...
Stats: Hosted one NBA Finals, four Western Conference Finals, and holds many championship banners for the Arizona Rattlers and Phoenix Mercury.
Interesting Fact: University of Phoenix Stadium (Arizona Cardinals) was almost the "Pink Taco Stadium"
Analysis: This might be the most undersold element of the 2014-2015 season for the Phoenix Suns. Seriously. That is how a team is looked at and seen from the lenses of a national audience when on television. The two previous names were attached to large, well known companies, and had an acronym that was fun and easy to use by fans. What happens if the Suns get saddled with another terrible arena name along the lines of the Pelicans (Smoothie King Center), the Kings (Sleep Train Arena), or the Blazers (Moda Center)? The names as of late have been terrible. The Suns need to look for something identifiable to the public, something with a good reputation, and a connection to the city. Here are a few options to consider in respect to a company that can afford a 20 million dollar license agreement and has ties to the city. Banner Health is a unique route that gives the team a good image, connects to the amazing training staff, and has some fun names to play with. The NBA is entrenched in bank names so JP Morgan Chase is an option here. Fry's/Kroger would be great and even better if Channing Frye would have stayed in the valley. rattling off a few more like Boeing, SRP, Home Depot, and for kicks and giggles; Filiberto's. Let's get this done. -- Kris Habbas
Important Question: What will the name be?
No. 24: Shavlik Randolph (22.928)
Profile: 6'10" 240 lbs. Center -- Ninth Year Duke
Stats: (Career) in 8.6 MPG 2.5 PPG 2.6 RPG 47.6% FG
Interesting Fact: Randolph is better than Pistol" Pete Maravich, well, at least in terms of single-game scoring at their high school. Randolph scored 70 points in one game.
Analysis: The old man! Who saw the scrimmage? Randolph has answered our Channing Frye worries!! We have found our stretch big! In all seriousness, it's hard to tell if Randolph has indeed added that sort of range to his game or if he was just goofing around in an instrasquad scrimmage. If he has, then his value to this team has certainly increased and we may see him get some playing time every once in a while. Regardless, Randolph will play an important role as the oldest player on the roster. He's a savvy veteran who has been around the league and hopefully he will be imposing some of his experience on the younger guys to help them develop. If Plumlee or Len goes down, Randolph will have to step in. As we saw last season, we can expect hard work and hustle from the veteran. He's a great guy to have on the end of the bench. -- Garrett Benson
Important Question: Can Randolph give enough serviceable minutes to give this front-court depth?
No. 23: Lon Babby (20.846)
Profile: Attorney (35 years), NBA Agent (16 years), and entering his fourth season in the Suns front-office as the President of Basketball Operations.
Interesting Fact: Represented the Washington Redskins (they could use him now) & the Baltimore Orioles before becoming a player agent.
Analysis: I placed the key front office folks ahead of everyone else based upon the logic that a team is only as good as it's players, and therefore those tasked with choosing the players are more important than the players themselves (at least until we bag a superstar).
As for Babby's importance to the Suns in 2014/15, I think we can all agree that even in the most optimistic of scenarios, the team is still in flux and we have yet to see the finished product. Meaning the phone is still on the hook and there are still moves to be done. Whilst McDonough embodies the ultimate scouting nerd, Babby represents the more aristocratic side of the Suns. His lawyerly, Southern-tinged mannerisms provide a balance to his bourgeois counterpart and allows him to carry the responsibility of being the voice of the Suns' front office, even as McDonough might rightfully represent the brain.
McDonough might be the one to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to player talent, but it will be Babby that coaxes the wheat into signing, presumably on a rickety back porch with a cold whiskey sour, nonchalantly closing the deal as the sunset quietly crescendos before him.
Plus he represented John Hinckley Jr., so no one can ever say that Babs is not up for a challenge. -- Rollin Mason
Important Question: What if anything is there for Babby to do now that everyone is signed?
No. 22: Gorilla (20.5)
Profile: Entering his 35 year with the Suns as their mascot and provocateur.
Stats: Countless flips, jumps, and entertainment with more dunks than the Harlem Globetrotters.
Interesting Fact: Originally, there was no mascot, and the Gorilla was galvanized into the role after showing up as a singing telegram one day. The team liked him. He stayed.
Analysis: What makes the Phoenix Suns supreme among all other local sports options is a history going back over 45 years and the symbol of that tradition is a highly athletic gorilla. THE GORILLA.
I love the players on this Suns team and the coaching staff and even the front office deserve big hairy pats on the back but the reality is those guys are all transients. Some will stay longer than others but in the end only THE Gorilla survives. The OG of sports mascots. The first member of the Mascot Hall of Fame. The face of the franchise and the soul of the city. Without THE GORILLA there is no Phoenix Suns. -- Seth Pollack
Important Question: Can he get on the banana phone and call up Harry & Harrison Gorilla for some appearances? Please.
No. 21: Tyler Ennis (20.285)
Profile: 6'2" 180 lbs. Point Guard -- Rookie Syracuse
Stats: (College) In 35.7 MPG 12.9 PPG 5.5 APG 3.4 RPG 41.1% FG 35.3% 3PT
Interesting Fact: Dropped 42 points in the FIBA U19 tournament in 2013, a single game tournament best.
Analysis: When the Suns drafted Ennis this summer my first thought was, "Trade bait. Is Toronto already on the phone?" Then, when they announced they drafted the Syracuse point guard to keep him there were flashbacks to Kendall Marshall and that awful situation for both the team and Marshall a few years ago. Now when I think about Ennis and the pick it seems that the move was made for another team, just, not another NBA team. The Bakersfield Jam will benefit from the Suns pick being the sole proprietorship of the team with their coaching staff, their management, and now their first round pick running the show. Of course Ennis was hoping to land on a lottery team to start or get significant minutes on a team that needs him. Instead he is sitting behind a five year contract for Eric Bledsoe, a four year contract of Isaiah Thomas, and the impending extension of Goran Dragic. Ennis is an insurance policy. A talent insurance policy that could prove very fruitful in the future, just not necessarily in 2014-2015... -- Kris Habbas
Important Question: What is more valuable to his development; NBA practices and DNP's or running his own D-League team?
Come back tomorrow for 20-16 in the #SUNSRANK series and follow along on Twitter!
Each ranking will also include one write-in ballot from the writers. We have five tremendous write-in's starting with Austin Elmer:
Write In: Mr.Orange
Mr. Orange is at all the Suns home games. He is one of the best fans in the NBA. He paints his body orange, dresses in all orange and is always animatedly cheering for the Suns. Whenever Suns fans are being quiet he tries to get them riled up. At the end of games Mr. Orange always encourages people to stand up. Having Mr. Orange in the arena is like having an extra mascot. -- Austin Elmer