All the blogger NBA previews for the Central and Northwest divisions.

Central Division

Chicago Bulls: Blog a Bull
Cleveland Cavaliers: Fear the Sword | Waiting For Next Year
Detroit Pistons: Detroit Bad Boys
Indiana Pacers: Indy Cornrows
Milwaukee Bucks: Brew Hoop

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets: Denver Stiffs
Minnesota Timberwolves: Canis Hoopus
Oklahoma City Thunder: Welcome to Loud City
Portland Trail Blazers: Blazer's Edge
Utah Jazz: SLC Dunk

Index of all SBNation Previews

Additional Preview Features from Sonics Rising.

Time: 7:00 MST TV: FSA Suns fans, basketball is finally back. The Phoenix Suns open up their preseason slate with a home game against Flamengo, a Brazilian professional team. No, this is not an NBA...

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Who doesn't like a good nonsensical ranking in the pre-season? Well, this is for you...

The calm before the storm is here. The almost Top 10 and a reveal of who and what will be the most important factors to the Phoenix Suns here in the 2014-2015 NBA season. Getting antsy?

We knocked out 25-16 on here for #SUNSRANK for the 2014-2015 Phoenix Suns season with some big names and other faces that will have a say in how the season goes overall. Go back and check out the lists from this week if you missed them, but lets continue to march forward.

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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25-21 << 20-16 << 15-11 << 10-6 << 5-1

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No. 15: T.J. Warren (14.857)

Profile: 6'8" 215 lbs. Small Forward -- Rookie N.C. State

Stats (College): In 35.3 MPG 24.9 PPG 7.1 RPG 1.8 SPG 54.5% FG 26.7% 3PT

Interesting Fact: Warren was the first player in 23 years (Kenny Anderson) to score 40+ points in back-to-back games in N.C. State history.

Analysis: The three biggest needs for the Suns this off-season (in my opinion) were 1) Addressing the back-up point guard spot 2) Wing scoring and play-making and 3) Interior depth... Warren fills in nicely for the second need there as one of the more prolific amateur scorers in the 2014 NBA Draft. Now, he may not get a chance to shine bright in NBA games very often this season with Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris, Archie Goodwin, and the plethora of point guards in front of him, but he is in a great spot. Having someone that moves without the ball like Warren does scoring inside the three-point line with his craft, intelligence, and use of angles is valuable with a ball-dominant point guard trio. When he gets on the court in traditional line-ups he will be a nice weapon for Coach Hornacek and company. This was a nice building block piece rather than an immediate impact one like some other draft picks could have been. Great fit and when he gets some time you will see why. -- Kris Habbas

Important Question: Over/Under on percentage of time spent in the D-League -- 50.5%

No. 14: Archie Goodwin (14.769)

Profile: 6'5" 198 lbs. Guard -- Second Year Kentucky

Stats (Last Year): In 10.3 MPG 3.7 PPG 1.7 RPG 45.5% FG 13.9% 3PT

Interesting Fact: Goodwin was John Calipari's 12th first round pick in four years with the Kentucky Wildcats. That's a lot.

Analysis: It might surprise some to see Archie Goodwin ranked so high on this list. But some lack imagination, vision, scouting ability, and faith. When I first saw Archie play I knew he was going to be a special player. His place in the Ring of Honor is only a matter of time. The debates comparing Archie vs. Kobe will come. It's OK if you don't see it now. You also probably called Goran "Tragic". You probably don't even have the patience to let your leftover pizza fully warm in the microwave before you take it out and chow down.


Don't eat cold pizza. Don't be in such a hurry to fill your belly. Sit back and enjoy watching the early years of this future star and you can tell your grandchildren that you might not have been first on the bandwagon but you weren't last. You're welcome. -- Seth Pollack

Important Question: Can Archie crack the rotation?

No. 13: Anthony Tolliver (14.571)


Profile: 6'8" 240 lbs. Center -- Seventh Year Creighton

Stats (Last Year): In 20.3 MPG 6.1 PPG 2.6 RPG 42.0% FG 41.3% 3PT

Interesting Fact: He played for a team called "Eisbaren Bremerhaven" in Germany before joining the NBA. That translates to "Polar Bears Bremerhaven."

Analysis: You know, that Frye guy? Yeah, I still think his spacing and shooting were (to my mind) invaluable to the way the Suns offense functioned last season and it will not be so easy to replace. Morris will probably start as a stretch four but he will need some help off the bench, and Tolliver has shown he can hit the three on an open look. So yeah, He will not be instrumental in winning games (well, too early to say at this point) but if he hits a couple of wide open threes, he will definitely add to the spacing (even if it is the second unit) so his contribution will be important. -- Matija

Important Question: Not can Tolliver replace the shooting Frye took with him to Orlando, but, can he make-up the loss of Markieff off the bench?

No. 12: Marcus Morris (13.071)

Profile: 6'9" 235 lbs. Forward -- Fourth Year Kansas

Stats (Last Year): In 22.0 MPG 9.7 PPG 3.9 RPG 1.1 APG 44.2% FG 38.1% 3PT

Interesting Fact: The Morrii were the second pair of brothers selected back-to-back, and, in the exact same slots (13, 14) as Dick and Tom Van Arsdale.

Analysis: Marcus Morris needs to earn his contract this season.  He's making almost the exact same amount of money as the guy in front of him (P.J. Tucker), but no one is clamoring for Morris to take Tucker's place in the starting starting line-up.  When Mook is on, he earns his nickname as "Melo" Morris hitting a dazzling array of mid-range jumpers as well as knocking down 3-pointers at an excellent clip.  When he's off, however, he does nothing on the court to make up for his offensive inefficiency.  His rebounding is mediocre and his defense is sub-par.  He's got a chance to be an integral part of one of the best second units in the NBA along with Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green, Anthony Tolliver and Alex Len.  But without taking a similar step forward in his game to the one Markieff Morris took last season, Mook could end up being a weak link on a strong bench. - Mike Lisboa

Important Question: What else will Marcus contribute outside of three-point shooting?

No. 11: P.J. Tucker (11.071)

Profile: 6'5" 225 lbs. Small Forward -- Fourth Year Texas

Stats (Last Year): In 30.7 MPG 9.4 PPG 6.5 RPG 1.4 SPG 43.1% FG 38.7% 3PT

Interesting Fact: Tucker and his teammate (Marcus Morris) were both Big 12 Player of The Year in college. Two years ago they had three B12 POY's on the roster including Michael Beasley.

Analysis: P.J. Tucker is another very unique player on the Suns.  Phoenix has a lot of athletes, great shooters, slashers, and passers...but they only have one lock down defender that can guard anyone from the two to the four.  Tucker is that guy.  P.J. would earn his money simply by being that lock down defender and an energy/hustle guy that rips rebounds away from taller players, while also out-hustling/out-muscling just about any other player in the NBA.  However, the fact that he has added an effective and consistent corner three-point shot to his offensive game is a huge bonus that gives the Suns another weapon on the floor. Tucker also brings a kind of toughness and attitude to the Suns that seems to rub off on the rest of the team when he's on the court. Tucker is a one-of-a-kind player whose impact simply can't be replicated by anyone else on the roster. -- Sean Sullivan

Important Question: Will Tucker's shooting and rebounding be consistent enough to play him at the four big minutes?

Come back tomorrow for 10-6 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 Jim's:

Write In: The Los Angeles Lakers

I'm going to go Goldilocks and the Three Bears here. The Suns don't want the porridge (the Lakers draft pick) to be too hot (11-14), or too cold (1-5), but just right (6-10). Of course in this scenario the Suns won't actually be the ones doing the tasting, since Kobe Bryant is Goldilocks (for obvious reasons).


Basically, Suns fans should be cheering for the Lakers to suck just the right amount. Following the Lakers' lottery position should be an interesting subplot as the season lumbers along. With all the positive movement the Suns have made in the last year and a half they still seem to be a little bit short of entering the fray of legitimate title contenders. A quality lottery pick (swindled from their nemesis) next summer would be another useful asset to help trampoline the team into that realm.


Plus, any chance to take a perverse sense of satisfaction out of the Lakers' misfortune is reason for celebration.  -- Jim Coughenhour

Lakers Funny

Finally, the Phoenix Suns get to play someone else. It's not an NBA team, but at least it's a group of guys not wearing Suns colors.

Tonight's preseason game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona for all to see - a rarity for Suns preseason basketball. Coverage starts at 7:00pm, with tipoff at 7:12.

The Opponent - Clube de Regatas do Flamengo

Flamengo kicks off a three-game tour of NBA preseason against the Phoenix Suns, followed by the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies.

Flamengo is the Brazilian National League winner for the past two seasons. They recently warmed up by splitting a couple of games against fellow NBA-fodder Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Flamengo player, and Brazilian national, Marquinhos Vieira his foot in the NBA pool for New Orleans and Memphis, but has been with Flamengo since 2012. He was last year's second leading scorer (15.2) for the league champion team.

This year, the club added former NBA prospect Walter Hermann (Detroit) and Derrick Caracter (Lakers).

The Suns

The Suns will be without Alex Len today (and for the next couple of weeks, at least) because he rebroke his pinkie finger. This time it was from getting slapped by Tyler Ennis on a play under the basket. If I see him tonight, I'll ask him if he should become the team's next "Four Fingered Assassin". If Gerald can do it, why not Alex?

Anthony Tolliver won't play either. He injured his hand last week as well, getting caught in a teammate's jersey during training camp. Tolliver tore the webbing between two fingers, and will get the stitches out on Thursday.

Tough question: Should the Suns just tape all their fingers together and play the game like lobsters?

Otherwise, the team appears to be healthy. Isaiah Thomas, T.J. Warren, Tyler Ennis and Zoran Dragic should all be making their Suns debut in this game. Expect the kids to get a lot of run.

The Stats

None

The lineups

Expect the usual starting lineup for the Suns, with Markieff Morris taking Frye's old spot. Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, P.J. Tucker and Miles Plumlee will all start the game.

Key Matchup

Seriously?

The pick

These types of games never go well for the visiting team. The Suns get a chance to sweat on their game jerseys for the first time since April.

The primary starters likely won't see more than 20 minutes of action, and likely won't play that hard. It's an exhibition, so don't expect to take a whole lot away from this game.

Just enjoy the game for what it is: a chance watch the Suns play basketball.

The discussion links back the lesser of a starting guard on a team that probably doesn’t fall in the top-5 of the discussion. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters responded a bit too...

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