The Suns will hold training camp in Flagstaff leading into the 2014-15 season and cap the trip up north by hosting a public scrimmage at noon on Saturday, Oct. 4. The scrimmage will close out a...

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The Phoenix Suns maintain a proud tradition rooted in strong guard play, and exciting, uptempo basketball, from Paul Westphal and Walter Davis to Kevin Johnson and Jeff Hornacek to Steve Nash, and now to Goran Dragic. Frontcourt play hasn't always been up to those same standards. Let's enjoy some gallows humor in profiling 10 of the most disappointing big men in Suns history.

As with any list of this type, it's important we first define our terms. To make this roll call of basketball craptitude, a player had to have the following, uh, "qualities":

  1. "Big man" is a player who played primarily either C or PF.
  2. Must have been acquired by the Suns either through a 1st round draft pick, or a significant trade or free agency signing. To disappoint requires some initial investment and expectations. Sorry, Horacio Llamas and Garret Siler. You don't qualify.
  3. "Disappoint" is a subjective term, but I'll define it as a poor performer who never justified his initial investment due to his play. Injuries don't count. Danny Manning's 1995 knee injury was one of the most disappointing moments in my life as a Suns fan, but it wasn't Manning's fault. He was a great player who only disappointed because his body refused to cooperate. As such, he doesn't deserve to be roasted like Luc Longley.
  4. Bonus disappointment points go to players who cost the Suns a great player in trade (glaring in your direction, Hot Rod Williams!) or who were suspects in violent crimes (rhymes with Bustaf).
Buckle in if you want go on here, because my usual pithiness is unavailable for this task.

Without further ado, my list of horrible, awful, not very good Suns big men through the years, in alphabetical order:

William Bedford - It's appropriate to begin this list with a player who was both bad at basketball after being drafted #6 overall by the Suns in the 1986 NBA Draft, and then also went on to do time in prison. It's as if Bedford focused his energies to make a list like this one. Bravo, William.

The 7'0" Bedford starred in college at Memphis State, scoring 17.3PPG and snagging 8.5RPG as a junior in 85-86. Selecting him at #6 seemed to be a smart choice for a Suns team coming off a 32-50 season featuring the center quartet of an aging Alvan Adams, James Edwards, Rick Robey and raw, unknown Nick Vanos.

Unfortunately, Bedford sucked like a Dyson in his one Suns season, posting only 6.7PPG and 4.9RPG on 39.7% shooting as the Suns limped to a 36-46 record and long-time coach John MacLeod was fired. Then, the Suns shipped him out to Detroit, where even Dennis Rodman thought he was immature.

Rodman was right, and Bedford ended up in prison on drug trafficking charges. If only Bedford were able to demonstrate the emotional intelligence and self-control of Dennis Rodman...

Tom Gugliotta - One could say Googs doesn't qualify because he disappointed due to injury, but I disagree. Googs disappointed me because he was the "Is Pepsi OK?" of Suns players. You know how it is when you're in a restaurant and order a Coke. Then the waitress asks, "Is Pepsi OK?" And you reply, "Yeah, I guess so." Antonio McDyess was Coke, and Googs was Pepsi. And no, it's not OK. I wanted McDyess, dammit!

Luc Longley - I don't know why anyone ever thought Longley was good at basketball, but Godfather of Phoenix professional basketball Jerry Colangelo apparently did. Coming off a season in which they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, the Suns seemed primed to make a splashy acquisition in the tradition of Charles Barkley, Danny Manning and Jason Kidd after the lockout ended in early 1999.

Kidd, Gugliotta and Cliff Robinson clearly needed another piece. My hopes were high, and then...a sign and trade for Luc F-ing Longley, the least integral member of Jordan's Bulls? The Suns traded filler (Mark Bryant, Martin Muursepp and Bubba Wells) and a first round pick (later used for Ron Artest. Wha...?). The Suns also agreed to pay Longley 5 years/$30M.

Let's hear what John Paxson-leaving-open-er and then-Suns head coach Danny Ainge had to say:
"Everybody thought he rode the coattails of Michael (Jordan) and Scottie (Pippen)," Suns coach Danny Ainge said, "and obviously he doesn't have all those rings if Michael and Scottie aren't on his team. But at the same time, I think he would have been a lot more effective without Scottie and Michael on the court."
Um, no? Actually, Longley could coast because he was surrounded by great players on a championship team in Chicago. He played two seasons with the Suns, and was just sorta...there, not making any difference at all. He didn't exceed 9 PPG or 6 RPG in his Suns career.

Had this blog been around at the time, I have no doubt fans would have called for Longley to be bitten by a shark. Longley even joked about it. While he was never actually bitten by a shark, Longley was stung by a scorpion while sorting his CDs at home as a member of the Suns.

As far as I can tell, I'd probably like Luc Longley as a person. I'd enjoy body surfing with him, then going through his CDs to find just the right music to listen to as we discussed said body surfing session. But, Longley as a Suns player? I take the side of the scorpion.

In this 3:45 career highlight video, about 0:15 are dedicated to his time in Phoenix. I have nothing to add to that.


Oliver Miller - As part of the 1992-93 NBA Western Conference Champion Suns team, who was only the 22nd overall pick in the draft and made great contributions as a rookie on that team, Miller almost doesn't belong on this list. Miller averaged an impressive 12.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.2 blocks/36 minutes in the 1993 playoffs, followed that up with a great 1993-94 regular season, but then his weight problems started catching up to him.

The Suns let Miller leave as a free agent in the summer of 1994, and the mid-90s Suns continued to be plagued by poor center play. This led to the awful trade of Dan Majerle for Hot Rod Williams, which in part led to Charles Barkley's dissatisfaction and trade demand.

Had the Really, Really Big O been able to control his weight, uber-athletic forward Richard Dumas beaten his drug addiction, and each lived up to potential, there's no doubt in my mind the Suns would have brought home a title.

Jerrod Mustaf - The only player on this list to be suspected in a murder investigation, Mustaf should win a prize for a special type of disappointment. A #17 pick of the New York Knicks acquired by the Suns when they dealt Xavier McDaniel, the 6'10", 240 lb PF allegedly had decent upside as a player. He had been an 18.5PPG, 7.7 RPG player as a sophomore at Maryland, but Mustaf never accomplished anything of note in a Suns uniform.

But forget all that. Mustaf was a suspect after his pregnant girlfriend was shot in the back of the head. As the theory went, Mustaf had another man kill her after she refused to have an abortion.

It did not take investigators long, according to Maricopa County court records, to develop a theory. They alleged that Mustaf had Hayes killed because she refused to have an abortion. Court records say the victim, who was three months pregnant, contacted a lawyer about seeking child support from Mustaf.

The victim's family and friends told authorities that Hayes, 27, said Mustaf was the father and that the former University of Maryland star offered her $5,000 to get an abortion.

When she refused, police allege Mustaf flew his cousin LeVonnie Wooten from Maryland to Arizona to kill her. Afterward, Wooten's girlfriend, who had accompanied him to Arizona, testified that while driving Wooten to California, she saw him dismantle and discard a gun piece by piece in the boundless desert.

Authorities were never able to gather enough evidence to charge Mustaf, so maybe he was innocent. Or maybe he got away with murder. In any case, snorting coke or eating one's way off the team don't sound so bad in comparison, do they?

Ed Pinckney - Pinckney was a decent player selected by the Suns from the surprising NCAA Champion Villanova Wildcats (they defeated Patrick Ewing's Georgetown team in one of the greatest upsets in NCAA Tournament history) with the 10th pick of the 1985 draft. He fit the Suns profile perfectly as a smart player and solid citizen. After playing two OK seasons in Phoenix, he was traded for the quality yield of Eddie Johnson, then went on to play another 10 seasons as an NBA role player.

It's hard to dislike Ed Pinckney, and I don't. However, there was just one problem. The Suns selected him at #10 in that draft as a PF, passing on another PF who ended up being one of the greatest of all-time at the position: Karl Malone. On his own, Pinckney was a fine pick. Not great, not terrible. When figuring into the equation what was missed, sorry, EZ-Ed. I'm let down.

Rick Robey - Two of our final four disappointing former Suns big men were acquired in exchange for great players. In Robey's case, the Suns inexplicably traded 4-time NBA All-Star, 1-time Finals MVP, and 5-time NBA All-Defensive Team member Dennis Johnson to the Boston Celtics for career backup center Robey. The Suns also managed to surrender a first round pick in this 1983 deal.

There really wasn't much reason to expect a lot out of Robey. He had been a solid backup, but nothing more. What was Jerry Colangelo thinking? That the Suns needed to bolster their front line after a first round exit in the previous season's playoffs. Unfortunately, minus DJ and plus Robey, the Suns declined from a 53 win team to a 41 game winner.

They were able to surprise in the playoffs, and make it all the way to the WCF. It would be hard to give Robey, with his Jarron Collins-ian 1.8 points and 1.0 rebounds per game in the postseason much credit for that, however. Robey went on to play 50 more games for the Suns before being released in 1986.

DJ's Celtics career? He went on to play 7 seasons for them, make another All-Star game, win two more NBA Championships, and make four more NBA All-Defensive teams. I give the Celtics the slight edge in that trade.

Leonard "Truck" Robinson - Truck was another who was a pretty good player, just never quite lived up to expectations. He even made an All-Star team for the Suns in 1981, after being acquired from the New Orleans Jazz for two bit players (Ron Lee and Marty Byrnes) and two first round picks in early 1979. As you might expect for a player with the nickname "Truck," Robinson was a stout, low post PF.

He produced well on a 50-win Phoenix team, averging 16.0PPG. and 8.7RPG on 51% FG shooting. While the Suns went on to appear in the 1979 Western Conference Finals, losing in 7 games to the eventual champion Seattle SuperSonics, Robinson saw his playoff production decline across the board. Soon, Truck found himself labeled a playoff choker. The 48% career shooter put up averages of only 40%, 38% and 35% shooting from the field in his first three postseasons in Phoenix.

Again, not a bad player, and had moments of real greatness, but Truck disappointed as the supposedly final piece to put a contending, talented Suns team (Walter Davis, Paul Westphal, Alvan Adams) over the top. He was finally traded to the Knicks for PF Maurice Lucas in the summer of 1982. Lucas nearly qualified for this list himself.

John "Hot Rod" Williams - Dennis Johnson and Dan Majerle were roughly equivalent players, so trading Majerle for Hot Rod seems about on par as trading DJ for Robey. When you include that Hot Rod had actually been an effective starting NBA center while Robey hadn't, one would say the DJ/Robey deal was worse for the Suns.

But Suns fans had such a deeper affinity for Majerle. He was a star personality with his own restaurant, clothing line (for a bit) and awesome nickname of "Thunder Dan." For the Suns to give up Majerle before the 1995-96 season felt like the spectacular Suns era, which had started with the trade for KJ, emergence of Hornacek, free agent signing of Chambers, and draft of Majerle in 1988, had ended.

Of course, the Suns' intent was that adding a legitimate center to replace the infamous Joe Kleine/Danny Schayes "Schleine" combo would help finally put the Suns over the top, after two heartbreaking playoff series losses to Hakeem Olajuwon's Rockets. Olajuwon had his way with the Suns big men in both the 1994 and 1995 playoff series between the teams.

It worked out nothing like that. In trying to deal a strength to improve a weakness, the Suns weakened their entire team. Williams suffered through injury problems, coach Paul Westphal was fired, Charles Barkley publicly groused about the direction of the team, and the team dropped by 28 wins from the previous season.

Hot Rod managed to start 58 games through his injuries, and the 33-year old averaged a paltry 7.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Disappointment, your name is "Hot Rod." He played two more bleh seasons in Phoenix before being released in the summer of 1998.

Iakovos "Big Jake" Tsakalidis - Big Jake was only the 25th overall pick of the 2000 Draft, so it's not as if expectations should have been terribly high. Maybe it was the international intrigue. Few, if any of us, had seen him play, and there was the big question of whether the Suns could get him out of his Greek league contract. Suns' brass also piqued our interest with statements such as:
"He has a tremendous upside because he hasn't played basketball very long. He's very mobile for a big man and can play some defense. We didn't think he'd be around (at No. 25 overall). The only reason he dropped was because of the contract situation."
"Very mobile," eh? Jake was huge at 7'2", 285, and seemed to be making progress at first, after the Suns legal wrangling extricated him from his overseas contract. But "very mobile" was never an accurate term to use for the lumbering center. From my memory, he was as slow and methodical in his movements as possible.

In his three Phoenix seasons, Big Jake never shot better than .475 from the field, scored more than 7.3PPG or snagged more than 5.6RPG. All the contract haggling with his Greek team for that?

Those of you still left, thanks for reading! Feel free to share your memories in the comments.

Like every year, the Phoenix Suns will kick off their season by running the media gauntlet for a couple of hours. Each player moves from a group interview with all the local media to uncomfortable photo shoots to ad hoc interviews.

This year's Media Day is Monday, September 29 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, after which all the players and coaches will hop a bus for Flagstaff.

These couple hours are a vitally important cool way to catch up with the players after several months off from having to talk to us. Usually, the talk is full of platitudes and optimism about the season and their personal chances to succeed. And this year will be no different.

Yet, there are some interesting story lines that could emerge with a well-timed and well-worded question.

Eric Bledsoe

Let's assume for the moment that he shows up. Since Media Day is two days before his contract deadline (October 1), he just might sit this one out and meet the team in Flagstaff after last minute negotiations.

But let's assume for frowns that he signs the qualifying offer sometime before September 29 and shows up in Phoenix for Media Day.

Here's how I imagine the group interview session will go.

"Eric, can you give us some insight on how negotiations broke down over the summer?"

"You'll have to talk to my agent about that. I'm just looking forward to the season and playing really well and letting all that stuff work itself out next summer."

"Were you offended at the Suns initial offer?"

"Man, I just want to play basketball. I want to play really well and focus on the season."

"Do you like playing for the Suns?"

"I just want to play basketball. I don't care where I play."

"Do you feel like the Suns treated you fairly last year during your injury and this summer during contract negotiations?"

"You'll have to talk to my agent about that."

"Do you want to be traded from the Suns?"

"I want to play where I play. I'm here with the Suns now."

"You have veto power over any trade. Do you have any destinations in mind?"

"I just want to play basketball."

"Your agent wouldn't come down at all from the maximum contract demand. Was that your way of trying to get traded."

"You'll have to talk to my agent. I'm just here to play basketball."

And so on, and so on....

I. Can't. Wait.

Zoran Dragic?

On the opposite end of the "fun spectrum", I can't imagine how happy Goran will be at Media Day showing off his brother if Zoran ends up signing with Phoenix.

I think it's a long shot, unless Zoran is okay sitting the bench like Dionte Christmas most of the year. He's got a stacked depth chart head of him, barring any Gortat-like trades before the season starts.

The Suns could always make room if they need to, and Zoran would be a great way to make sure Goran has just one more reason to re-up with the Suns next summer.

I don't know how good Zoran's english is, but I've heard he has a good sense of humor so I hope it's passable.

The Morrii

Few people are talking about these two, but the most important season of their entire careers begins now. That's why they've been in Phoenix all summer. They are each restricted free agents next summer, and a good season could spell the difference of millions of dollars per year on their next contract.

Keef is likely looking at between $3 million per year (on a bad season) to more than $10 million per year (if he blows up, becomes a 15/8 or 17/8 starter). Mook is looking on a smaller scale, but no less important to his future.

Both will have to start fielding questions about their next stop, and whether they'd be willing to split up depending on the offers or trade scenarios.

Gerald Green

Guys like Marcin Gortat owned Media Day the last couple of years. He took the most interesting shots - both in the camera and in the microphone. Without him, the interesting interview might be dead.

But then there's Gerald Green. You might have forgotten about him because he hasn't been seen in Phoenix since the end of the season, but he's still a Phoenix Sun. While Eric Bledsoe gets hate, partially because he skipped town in April and hasn't been back, your friendly neighborhood Green Monster hasn't been seen either. According to Coro, he's still not around even now. But he's a veteran and under contract. I'm sure he'll show up next week.

And assuming he does, here's hoping Gerald gives a colorful recap of his summer and has a lot of bravado for the upcoming season.

He won't shy away from Eric Bledsoe questions, or questions about where he's going to play this season - be it shooting guard or small forward. If we can get his team platitudes out of the way ("I'll play where ever coach wants me to play") it's possible we can get some insight into where he thinks this season is going. All we have to do is shut up and let him talk.

There's no obvious starting position for him, or even 6th or 7th man. And he's got to fend off rookie T.J. Warren for small forward minutes all season. At the start, I'm sure Gerald will get good minutes but he'll have to earn them after November.

It will be interesting to see what he has to say about his free agency next year, as well. He loved Phoenix last season and thought playing for Hornacek was great. Will he vow to stay in the Valley? Likely not. You just don't do that a year ahead of free agency. But it's still worth asking the question.

Isaiah Thomas

Quick question: who is the ONLY rotation player under fully guaranteed contract for more than the next two seasons, at the moment?

You guessed it.

Media Day will be a blast for this kid. He'll say all the right things, and we will eat it up because he'll be one of the few who have the combination of eloquence and pedigree to talk about a long term future with the rising Suns. With a four-year contract in hand, he can afford to say he doesn't mind playing off the bench this season. We'll get a lot of quotes like this one: "It's all about winning. I want to win a lot of games and I think I can do it here."

The Dragon

After all the misinterpreted comments out of Slovenia lately, you can be sure Goran Dragic will be asked to clarify his comments and those of others about his future.

Will he say "I guarantee I'll stay with the Suns"? No way. But will he be more forthright on his desire to work something out in the Valley? I would think so. Dragic has never been one to hide his feelings about something, and doesn't just stick to the script his agent might have given him.

The players you never see again

I'm sure I will talk to at least three, maybe five players who won't play a minute in 2015 for the Suns. It always happens. There are trades and releases still to be done.

But at least this year, they might head down to Bakersfield and stay with the organization all season rather than just disappear. Guys like Casey Prather, Joe Jackson and Earl Barron will have to ticket to Cali if they want it.

The overlooked players

Last year, there definitely wasn't a big media scrum around Gerald Green who had just been the salary throw-in that summer in the Luis Scola trade. No one expected much from him. And Miles Plumlee got no more run at Media Day than Slava Kravtsov. The two went on to be major rotation players for a 48-win team. We whiffed on those two.

Who will we overlook this year? Probably one of the kids. Maybe Anthony Tolliver? Someone among that group will step up this year, but we don't know who yet.

Bogdan Bogdanovic on fire! (via @AvangardaForum) http://t.co/ISW4tylWK4 — Sportando (@sportando) September 10, 2014 Somebody made a funny little addition to this video of Bogdan Bogdanovic doing the...

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Last year, Dionte Christmas finally got his first invite that settled him with an NBA team for a regular season. Christmas didn’t get much time on the court with the Phoenix Suns in 2013-14,...

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