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?

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25-211 << 20-16 << 15-11 << 10-6 << 5-1

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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.

Stats: Tim Duncan (204 million), Ray Allen (158 Million), Grant Hill (133 million)...

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!

Ohhh....

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

Contributor Evan Wendt got some great video of the scrimmage on Saturday. Check out the highlights here.

If the rumors are true, the Phoenix Suns are in good position as league revenues for TV broadcasts triple in the next two years.

According to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, the NBA will announce a tripling of revenue in its broadcast TV rights beginning in the 2016-17 season.

TV-deal-tweet

If the broadcast rights for televising NBA games on ESPN and TNT triple as reported, the NBA salary cap will rise as well. Broadcast rights are part of the overall Basketball Related Income (BRI) that the players are guaranteed to split with the owners, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

While it is unknown exactly what portion of BRI is the current TV deal, earlier this summer Zach Lowe of Grantland guessed at the 30% increase to the salary cap if the TV doubled.

Now that the TV deal triples, does that mean a 50% increase in the salary cap?

Since the number of players on each team will remain at 15, logic dictates that player salaries could rise 50% as well.

So how does the NBA roll in a 50% rise in the salary cap in just TWO years? Certainly, the players union won't allow the NBA to phase in the increases. And neither will the CBA. The CBA mandates a certain split, so that split will happen.

Likely, with half (or more) of the league under guaranteed contracts before the big rise, teams won't be able to "spend" the increased cap immediately. But that just means they split the difference with their current players because each team must spend at least 90% of the cap on its players each year.

How does this affect the Suns?

Who knows.

But we do know that the Suns this summer locked up Eric Bledsoe, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris and Isaiah Thomas through at least the first two years of that new, higher salary cap at what now might be considered huge bargain deals.

"It does have a significant impact," Ryan McDonough said last week after the press conferences for Bledsoe and the Morrii. "We are projecting a cap that is going to escalate pretty sharply here over the next couple of years. That’s not the only reason we did the deal with Eric and the extensions with the Morris twins, but it is a factor."

suns-salaries-future-better

Ok, so I totally guessed at a lot of numbers but I wanted something for us to chew on. I wanted us to see that the Suns have several players - both veteran and youth - under contract now at reasonable prices as that the new world emerges.

The new world could include mid-level veterans like Swaggy P costing $9-10 million per year.

FLAGSTAFF — The Suns finished training camp up north with a scrimmage Saturday that drew thousands to Northern Arizona University’s campus to see the team ramp up for the regular season. Coming...

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All the coverage of the Suns scrimmage

The Phoenix Suns will host a free scrimmage today in Flagstaff to close out their five day training camp in the pines of Flagstaff, Arizona.

The game will start at noon and probably won't last more than an hour. These scrimmages generally feature a running clock and 10-minute quarters, though this season they will employ referees to make sure no one kills each other.

After the game, every player and the coach will be made available for an autograph session. The Suns will also set up a makeshift pro shop so you can swag out this season as the Suns try to take over the valley again like the old days.

Covering the game for you will be Jim Coughenour, Sean Sullivan and myself, with videographer Evan Wendt taking some footage for a highlight reel and behind the scenes look at the scrimmage.

Anthony Tolliver (hand) won't play, but everyone else is set to suit up. Isaiah Thomas (shooting wrist) has been limited but made it through the whole camp.

I'm sure some BSotS fans will be at the game. Anyone who wants to join us for lunch, the BSotS crew will be stopping for some wings at an old standby right off campus after the game. Tune in to twitter and/or the gamethread for time and place toward the end of the game.

For those not going to the scrimmage, it will be streamed live on suns.com.

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