The regular season is almost here. In a week, we'll be talking about real Suns games! In the meantime, tonight's game is a very light appetizer. Think of it as bread delivered to your table. Maybe olive oil and balsamic vinegar will be included, or maybe not. But still, bread!
By the last game of preseason, fans aren't much engaged anymore. The novelty of watching our sorta-Suns play has about faded, and we're all ready to start the games that count. Tonight's opponent is the Utah Jazz, who are 5-2 this preseason and boast three former top 5 picks and another two top 10.
The Jazz have been rebuilding, and stockpiling young talent, since they last won a playoff series under Jerry Sloan in 2010, and then traded star Deron Williams in early 2011. Their frontcourt is thick with youngsters in Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, first round choices all.
Last season's Jazz squad was able to win only 25 games in the stacked Western Conference, but with lottery picks year after year, they figure to make progress at some point.
Allowing Jeff Hornacek to leave their coaching staff to come to Phoenix was an unwise move (BTW, thanks a lot for that!), as the Jazz rode with another former Sun Ty Corbin as head coach last year, then fired him in favor of Quin Snyder and his outstanding hair.
Seriously, if I had Snyder's hair, I might rule the world. So, it's probably best for all that I don't. Snyder has paid his dues in working as an assistant coach, and college head coach (Missouri) since 1992.
The current Jazz roster needs player development, and Snyder is the man they've chosen to lead it. Not a bad choice, really. If he can be Hornacek-ish, the Jazz could be an interesting team with all this young talent.
Our Suns are 4-2 this preseason, featuring all that we know they possess: outstanding guard play coupled with iffy big men. This Suns team figures to be what most Suns teams have been, lots of scoring and fun but probably not a real threat unless some of the big men can surprise us.
I'll be covering the game with a radio listener's view, because there is no legal way for me to watch this game while living in California. It's all about some contractual/TV rights blah blah blah. I ranted about this during the Suns first preseason game, and got this nice reply from the Suns official Twitter account.
@EastBayRaymundo Sorry Ray. It all has to do with TV rights deals.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 11, 2014
The TV rights apparently include that people in the US but outside of AZ cannot watch Suns preseason games. I appreciate that the Suns responded to me, and realize it's bigger than the single franchise, but still can't figure out the point, unless the point is to prompt me to become a Warriors fan because of where I live. And, I will never do that!
Tonight's game will be radio broadcast at 6PM AZ time on AZ Sports, 98.7FM.
Joe Montana spent some time with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he will always be a Niner. Same goes for Steve Nash, who will always be a Phoenix Sun.
First, Nash was half-heartedly offered an under-market contract (reportedly 2 years, $12 million), then he was traded to the despised Los Angeles Lakers for a package of draft picks that done nothing to rebuild the franchise.
But even in forum blue and gold, Steve Nash has (unintentionally) continued to cement his legacy as a Phoenix Sun. He signed a fully guaranteed 3 year, $27 million contract to play, taking him through his 41st birthday, and proceeded to be healthy for just 65 of a possible 246 games. Yesterday, he wrote off the last 82 of those 246 by declaring himself "out for the season" after hurting himself this preseason carrying his luggage.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban let Nash go in 2004 due to fears over Nash's back issues. While the back eventually did force Nash into retirement, Cuban was off in his assessment by nearly a decade.
In the meantime, one of the best point guards in the history of the NBA came back to the team that drafted him and went on to win two league MVP awards (2005, 2006). He carried his run-n-gun team to three conference finals in the next six seasons. In his second stint with the team, Steve Nash truly was the Sun around which the team revolved in his eight seasons in the Valley. The Suns were #1 in the league in offensive efficiency for many of those, a darling of the nation's fancy, the face of a franchise. Nash was one of the best shooters off the bounce in league history, regularly posting 50/40/90 seasons like they were easy.
He made a lot of players a lot of money with his beautiful passes. Shawn Marion was a "max" player and multi-time All-Star with Nash around him. Amare Stoudemire was a "max" player and MVP candidate. Tim Thomas went from his couch to $24 million thanks to two short months with Nash. The list goes on.
When you want to describe the Phoenix Suns, you commonly end up describing Steve Nash.
After six brilliant seasons, Nash began his inevitable decline. As he entered his late 30s, his body began to fail him. The Training Staff Mafia kept him mostly upright and on the court, but Suns fans remember that the spring of 2011 and spring of 2012 were unkind to Nash.
He once went an entire half-season with a condition labeled "pubic shearing". A fully descriptive ailment if there ever was one. He once went a month hardly even taking a shot from the field because of the discomfort in his back, legs, abdomen and/or groin. Yet during those times, he ran the team with efficiency, racked up 10 assists per game and nearly willed the undertalented Suns into the playoffs each time.
Alas, while the first six seasons consisted 5 playoff appearances (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010) including 3 conference finals, Nash's last 4 seasons in the valley consisted of only one playoff run (2010), magical as it was, mixed with three disappointing finishes (2009, 2011, 2012).
This article is not to debate was caused the downfall of the franchise. Both the front office's ineptitude and Nash's declining health played their part. We could point fingers for hours, but in the end the Suns let go a 38 year old point guard with a debilitating back issue that was sure to get even worse.
True enough, Nash barely played half his first season in LA. And when he did play, he was hardly a difference-maker. The Lakers didn't play Nash ball. They played Kobe Bryant ball. And sometimes Dwight Howard ball. And sometimes Pau Gasol ball. None of which resembled anything like Nash ball, which had (I repeat) produced a #1 league offense for nearly a decade.
But even if they had played Nash ball, Nash wasn't himself anymore.
In fact, we haven't really seen Steve Nash play since he left the Suns in 2012. Which is why he will always be remembered for his years in the Valley, and the Laker years will always be met with a rueful smile. His Laker time will be remembered like Joe Montana's time with the Chiefs. Or Emmitt Smith's time with the Cardinals. Or Edgerrin James' time with the Cardinals.
Nash was drafted by the Suns in 1996 to play behind Kevin Johnson. Three months later, the team acquired Jason Kidd, who took time from Nash as well. Yes, the 1996-97 Phoenix Suns had two All-Star worthy point guards at the same time, and another PG as a rookie. Imagine that. Nash was eventually traded to the Mavericks for a first round pick that became Shawn Marion. In Dallas, Nash began his ascension to the top of the league's point guards, culminating in two All-Star games and a Conference Finals appearance with Dirk Nowitzki.
But those six Dallas seasons don't compare to his ten total seasons in Phoenix. In Phoenix, Nash was an MVP twice, All-NBA seven times, All-Star six times, Assist leader six times, Player of the Week 8 times, Player of the Month three times, and the list goes on.
Steve Nash is and always will be a Phoenix Sun first, Dallas Maverick second, Santa Clara Bronco third, Mount Douglas Ram fourth... and Laker last. Being the GM of Canada Basketball probably slots into the 2-4 range. You might even slot his time as a soccer player above the Laker years. Heck, a really good Christmas present likely rates higher.
Steve Nash, Phoenix Sun over all else.
I'm surprised you don't already have a Gorilla Fathead.
Definitely a cool item. They'll throw an NBA logo on anything today, and make it look vintage, but here's a throwback you're unlikely to find reproduced. 20 bucks here, and another 4 to ship, though the seller is open to hearing offers. Talk them down and pick it up for a 10 dollar bill.
Why include a planner from more than a decade ago on Suns Swag? Because it can be had for less than 8 bucks, and like we said before, they'll throw a logo on anything. A similar item today will run you considerably more. Jot work notes in this thing and leave no doubt to anyone in the office as to where your allegiances lie.
10 8x10s here, featuring the 1972 Suns, each with two poses. The 1972-73 Suns went just 38-44, coached by Butch Van Breda Kolff and then Jerry Colangelo. Charlie Scott and Neal Walk, both included in this set, averaged 25.3 and 20.2 points per game, respectively. The set is yours for $40, another $4 to ship.
A pair of coins here with different numbers, otherwise identical. Someone with a different skill set than I could likely tell you how much the silver is worth. The coins commemorate the Suns 1993 Western Conference Championship. Bidding starts at $70, buy it now is $95, and shipping is $7.
Do you know how the 1993 NBA Finals ended? It appears this seller does not. You can rewrite history for $22, or make an offer for less that.
A interesting collection here. I've got a couple of cheap frames containing newspaper clippings of my favorite teams myself. If you're a fan of other teams, the seller has multiple collections available for sale. 12 clippings for 10 bucks, they look good on the wall in the man cave.
First things first. If you're one of those people that starts celebrating Christmas, like, now, then stop it. Christmas is to be celebrated from December 20th through the end of the year. Off soapbox. The seller has a lot of ornaments available, I just picked my favorite. Pretty smoking deal to celebrate the holidays with Tom Chambers, 13 bucks, all in.
Like other items, the seller has a lot of these for sale. For the female Suns fan in your life (or you, I don't judge) is this Suns bottlecap hair bow. The seller can make these in a variety of colors, and you can pick them up for 6 dollars if not less.
These ads look to be in fantastic condition and feature 12 players from the for the 1981-82 team. That squad won 50 games and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals before falling to the Lakers in four games. The complete set is $60 plus $3 to ship.
Forget what I said earlier. Skip the 8x10s, and skip the newspaper clippings. Scoop up this officially licensed Gorilla Fathead. The item comes rolled in a tube with instructions and can be had for 50 dollars plus another 12 in shipping.