The top ten moments of the Seven Seconds or Less era rolls on with no. 7, when Grant Hill taught Jerryd Bayless to respect his elders.
We here at Bright Side of the Sun will be kicking off our summertime Throwback Thursday series a bit early as we pay homage to the great Seven Seconds or Less era of the Phoenix Suns in light of the recent retirement of legendary maestro Steve Nash. Join us every Thursday as we count down the top ten moments of high-octane glory from Nash's return to the desert in 2004 to their final playoff run in 2010.
And yes, the Shaquille O'Neal chapter will properly omitted.
There are some players that get under your skin because, aside from their varying personality disorders, are also extremely good at basketball. James Harden, Manu Ginobili and Russell Westbrook qualify for this category.
Some players are extremely obnoxious because that's how they earn a living in the first place. Guys like Matt Barnes and Bruce Bowen fit the bill here.
Then there is an additional tier of annoying twerps that are somehow even more annoying for the fact that they are just not that good at NBA basketball in the first place, yet somehow this does nothing to dissuade them from pretending to be superstars. The first player to come to mind here is Jerryd Bayless.
He was a combo guard that scored 20 PPG with the Wildcats, but aside from the occasional moderate scoring burst he has offered little value in the NBA and hence has already played for six teams in his seven seasons at the time of this article.
His limitations as a pro were already glaringly obvious during his sophomore season with the Blazers, but that didn't stop him from engaging in such grandstanding behavior as posing after making a three and screaming like a hyena after hitting a layup.
He was in rather dire need of a lesson in humility, and who better to deliver such a lesson than the three-time winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award, 37-year-old Grant Hill.
Following their improbable late-season climb up the standings that culminated in a third seed, the Phoenix Suns began the 2010 playoffs matched up with the sixth-seeded Blazers and a hobbled Brandon Roy.
The Blazers stole a win in a lackluster game one, which prompted the Suns to respond by delivering blowout victories in three of the next four games in the series, with Portland sneaking in another win in game four.
Tempers had flared on a few occasions, as often happens during any 7-game series. The Blazers had to stomach an embarrassing beatdown at home in game three as Jason Richardson went nuclear, dropping 42 points. There was an allegation that Amar'e Stoudemire intentionally bumped the injured shoulder of Nicolas Batum whilst adjusting his goggles (no, really), prompting Batum to give the Apostrophe the ol' Frenchman shove.
The Blazers were a young, sometimes immature team punctuated by the preening, posturing antics of Bayless, who thought himself an important enough player to stare down the Phoenix crowd whenever the possibility arose. The Suns, on the other hand, were a veteran team that had done this plenty of times before and obviously were looking to fry bigger fish than the Blazers.
So the stage was set for game six in Portland with the Blazers facing elimination.
The Blazers trailed the Suns 53-41 as the first half came to a close. The ball was swung to Bayless on the perimeter. Fellow NBA sophomore Goran Dragic executed what might have been the worst closeout of the season and Bayless easily dribbled past the Slovenian and saw nothing but wide-open lane.
One hard dribble and Jerryd took flight.
Grant Hill, always alert on defense, quickly helped off of LaMarcus Aldridge and met Bayless at the summit, swatting the feeble dunk attempt away with his left hand before uncharacteristically offering a few words to the brash youngun'.
(Note: To our newer Suns fans, that thing bringing the ball up the court following the block was called an "Earl Clark")
Bayless responded incredulously, although the block was as clean as they come. As he stood with his palms facing the sky, perhaps it wasn't the referees he was pleading his case to, but God himself, for delivering such a harsh smiting at the hands of His preferred smiter, Grant Hill.
Making matters worse, it wasn't even the first time in that series that Hill had murdered a Bayless shot attempt.
The Suns went on to win the game and the series, 99-90. Jason Richardson continued his torment of Portlandia, pumping in 28 clutch points on 16 shots. Roy and Aldridge combined to go 9/33 from the field. Bayless went 4/12, but learned a valuable lesson.
In a postgame interview with Eddie Johnson, Hill joked that Bayless was "trying to disrespect his elders" and added "I won the Sportsmanship Award [...], I think I said something to him, but the award is already mine so they can't take it back."
Overview: As the 2015 NBA Draft approaches, we’ll be taking a look at the top prospects in this year’s class to gain a sense of what the Phoenix Suns should do with their pick. Today, we’ll be taking...
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The lottery and combine are done so that means it's time for a full first-round mock. Here's my usual disclaimer about this being my own opinion and not predictions for what teams are going to do. Sound good? Let's get into all the post-lottery fun!
Towns is the best prospect in this draft and is a better fit for Minnesota than Okafor so this is a pretty easy decision for the Timberwolves. Towns can stretch the floor and allow for Andrew Wiggins to slash with ease. Don't forget about Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad's efficiency in the post either. Towns is going to be a fantastic defender and the range on his jumper should have him be useful enough on offense while the rest of his game develops.
Towns beating out Okafor over the course of the college basketball season made some people forget how good of a prospect Okafor is. He's an extremely pure post player who has the deep understanding, footwork, and ball-handling skills to dominate the block for a decade. He doesn't project as a good to great defender, but I don't think that matters much with how good he is down low. The Lakers have found themselves another franchise player right when they needed it. I wonder if that's ever happened before?
The Sixers had the worst offense in the NBA last year and love to shoot threes so that makes Russell a perfect fit. He's a dynamic offensive player who can change the game with his playmaking, shooting, and scoring. He is a tremendous passer who really understands the geometry of the court and that is really going to help out Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. I think Russell is going to be a star and he gets his own offense to run right from the get-go. Great fit.
I'm not sure the Knicks should take a point guard here given their free agency power and the depth of the position. They are going to go hard at some of the big name wings in free agency this year, but Winslow could easily play the 2. He's a wonderful defensive player who can change the game on that end with his great motor that racks him up rebounds and steals. He is much further away on offense than people think, but hitting jumpers right away is going to be huge for him.
Winslow to the Magic is my favorite fit in the draft, but they miss out in this scenario and will have to settle for the very good Porzingis. They really need athleticism and rim protection down low and the hope is that Porzingis can bring that. I see him as more of a run and gun ball-handling stretch four who can shoot, but if he develops the strength and wherewithal he can be a great two-way player. Channing Frye can teach him the tricks of the trade.
I never saw Mudiay falling out of the top five, but here we are. The Kings get the prime point guard talent they have been searching for and can fill in the blanks around a great one-two of Cousins and Mudiay. Mudiay is the dream point guard prospect for some with his height, athleticism, IQ, and ease in the pick-and-roll. Keep an eye on how hard he plays on both ends as he tends to commit some silly turnovers and take some plays off on defense. He's still an excellent prospect though.
The Nuggets already have Jusuf Nurkic, but they need talent and WTCS is a tier up over the rest of the prospects left in my opinion. He's the best defensive player in the draft who can legitimately guard five positions. That's a dream for all the ball screen action we see and he will excel at covering it. I like the idea of the Nuggets trading one spot up here for Mudiay and the Kings getting WTCS next to Cousins.
When you have Andre Drummond and (potentially) Greg Monroe down low you should try to surround them with shooters and Hezonja is the best one on the board. He would easily be in the last tier of players if it wasn't for the massive rumblings of chemistry concerns with him. He's such a skilled player who could be really good really fast.
The Hornets really need shooting and luckily for them Johnson was hitting his jumper last season and he should continue to get better at it. He's the best perimeter defender in the lottery when he's fully locked in, an incredible rebounder for his position, and can actually do some things off of the bounce on offense. He really needs to work on his decision-making and slowing it down with the ball, but a ball-dominant point guard like Kemba Walker would help him there.
The Heat just need to take the best young talent on the board and move on. That's Turner, who has the potential to be a two-way monster. He's a great shot blocker and has deep range on his jumper for a seven footer. He's not going to be a best down low for you, but that overlooks how solid he is in the post. The Heat need young talent and Turner is one of the best of them in the draft.
I absolutely love this fit. Portis is a tough and aggressive post player who has range on his jumper and is going to be a good defender. Sound familiar? David West and Roy Hibbert are nearing the end of their time in Indiana and this allows them to smoothly transition to at least one good post player. West and Hibbert will teach Portis so much about how to adapt to the NBA without great athleticism down low. I think this is a perfect example of getting drafted by the right team.
The Jazz are in a glorious position where they can just take the best talent on the board with all the great talent and cap room they already have. It's Oubre, Looney, or Lyles and I'm going with Lyles here. He is really smooth for being such a big guy and how much he can add to his game beyond his jumper is going to determine how good he gets. I think he has the basketball IQ to develop into a really good role player behind Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.
In my opinion the ideal situation for the Suns is Johnson or Tuner falling and the failsafe is Portis. All three of those guys are gone so now I think you take the best prospect available and he happens to fill a need. Booker is much more than just a terrific shooter. He will be a good defender in the NBA and is smart enough on the court to adapt his game in other areas. He can replace Gerald Green off the bench and taking the best asset talent available always works for McDonough.
The Thunder need help at the two-guard and the Suns just took the ideal fit so Hunter will have to do. There is no exaggeration for how good of a shooter Hunter is and we all know how valuable the three-point shot is goink to continue to be. I don't have a ton of faith in what Hunter can do besides shoot, but that's fine when you have Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, and Enes Kanter.
DeMarre Carroll is going to get paid and that leaves the Hawks with a hole at small forward. Oubre is a huge risk, but on the right team he could turn into a really good player. This is the type of system and group of players that would help him develop as a two-way player. Oubre has all the tools to be a fantastic DTA guy, but he needs to put them together.
The Celtics have it all except a first, second, and third best player and Looney has the potential to be one of those three. He's gifted when it comes to his inside-outside game and his rebounding. He has really worked at becoming a better shooter and that along with his passing could make him incredible on the perimeter.
Dekker's a great athlete who needs to continue to develop when he gets on the move with the ball because his shooting is very inconsistent. The grit he plays with will be welcome in Milwaukee and I think he's good enough to be a secondary playmaker from the wing. We talk about his shooting a ton, but I think he's pretty good with his handle and that's where he could help the Bucks.
I'm not a huge fan of Kaminsky and this is why he falls this far. He can really shoot the ball and the versatility he has handling the ball would be awesome in Houston with how Morey ball works. I think he's going to be brutal defensively and on the glass, but his offense really works in Houston. I know they have a ton of bigs, but Houston is known to take the BPA and Kaminsky qualifies.
Nene is fading away and the Wizards need to stop playing Drew Gooden. Enter my favorite player in the draft who eats glass and brings the exact type of energy a contender like this wants. Montrezl is a warrior who will die for you on the boards and tries to dunk on everyone every time he touches the ball. He's a great athlete who had a big win at the combine with his monstrous wingspan. I'm not sure how aware people are of how close he is on offense to being a legitimate weapon. Keep an eye on him...
Wood is an explosive rebounder and shotblocker who surprised scouts with how much his talent could impact the game. He's super raw, but the Raptors will need help up front if Tyler Hansbrough and Amir Johnson are gone.
The Mavericks will have a crater at guard if Monta Ellis leaves and that makes Payne a good fit. He's a smart point guard who is really winning over scouts with his balance of shooting and playmaking. If he's as smart and good of a shooter as he looks this is a steal.
Kirk Hinrich and Tom Thibeadeou's mancrush on him are entering free agency along with Aaron Brooks so Derrick Rose needs a backup and a potential heir. Grant can do just that with his scary two-way potential. He has scouts drooling over his playmaking and floor vision. I'm not sure his great defense completely translates, but a heady backup point guard who has the potential to be a starter is a great get at 22.
This is a reach, but the Trail Blazers will really really need bigs if free agency doesn't go well for them. Mickey might be the best shot blocker in the draft and he proved at the combine that he's got some skill on offense as well.
Every year there's a late first-round prospect who profiles well for a contender and this year it's Anderson. He's a great defender who understands how basketball works. I'm not sure he's going to be a lights out shooter, but he's going to be good enough and can run the floor with his athleticism and that's what you need alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
I lied in the earlier picks when I said that was my favorite pick because this is the clear winner. Hollis-Jefferson is the best perimeter defender in the draft and is going to be locking guys up for the next ten years. He has an infectious personality and that's going to gel so well with all the guys in Memphis. All of this is already fun and the cherry on top is Tony Allen mentoring him. Where do I sign?
Let's just let the Spurs figure out what to do with Vaughn. He has the scoring talent to be the steal of the draft here, but I'm not sure he's good enough everywhere else on the floor to warrant a higher selection. Danny Green might be gone so here's the best shooting guard left on the board.
27. Los Angeles Lakers- Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
This is way too low for Jones and I hate myself for having him go to the Lakers. He's a pure point guard who always had his best scoring nights when Duke needed him the most. From the sound of it he made himself a lot of money at the combine because of his interviews. Teams think he's a natural leader and I agree.
28. Boston Celtics- Robert Upshaw, C, Washington
The Celtics really need rim protection and Upshaw could be the best at it in the draft. There are off the court concerns when it comes to Upshaw, but this seems like the kind of situation where he could make it work.
Deron Williams is getting near the end of his contract and I think Delon Wright is really good at basketball. He's not going to develop much more, but he has everything you could want from your point guard in 2015 besides great athleticism and shooting. That's why he's available at 29, but he's a steal here.
This is another example of taking a guy with major question marks and putting faith in a great situation to fix a couple of things. Rozier doesn't really know how to play point guard and is too small to play the two guard, but he has NBA skills all over the floor and has great potential as a defender. He's another candidate for being a steal.