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The Sacramento Kings come into Phoenix tonight on a high note. They just finished off the mighty (on paper) Los Angeles Lakers last night on a 10-0 game-ending run in the final 2 minutes against the entire projected Laker starting lineup. Kobe Bryant missed a couple of hero shots and Nash missed a floater in the lane while the Kings pounded the ball inside on the back of DeMarcus Cousins.

The Kings are now 5-1 in preseason, with one of those wins coming against the Suns in Sacramento. They are outscoring their opponent by 5 points per game, currently 5th overall in preseason scoring at 101.80 points per game. Yet despite their seemingly obvious advantage on the boards, the Kings are only 21st in rebounds per game (compared to the Suns' 11th-ranked rate of 43.25).

The Suns are 2-2 themselves, already matching the most preseason wins they've had in years after only four games (2-6 in 2010 and 0-2 in 2011). In addition to rebounding, the Suns are scoring well (8th overall) at 99.25 ppg, outshooting and out-assisting their opponents on average each night.

Sure, it's only preseason. The Suns and Kings will both face tougher competition once the season starts for real. But winning is winning. It builds confidence, especially on a roster with more new players than incumbents.

We don't know yet what Alvin Gentry has in store for distribution of minutes tonight. On one hand, it's only game 5 of preseason and he still has to decide which backup big man to keep among Ike Diogu, Luke Zeller and Solomon Jones.

On the other hand, it's a home game and you always want to please the crowd who paid good money to watch their team. I'm rooting for the latter.

BSotS' own Dave King will be at the game tonight, so watch twitter and BSotS for pregame notes, in-game notes and a late-night indepth postgame recap replete with quotes from Gentry and the guys.

Let's hope they're all in a good mood after a Suns win!


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The Phoenix Suns all-star forward/center was involved in many NBA trade rumors leading up to his eventual departure as a free agent in 2010. This report comes straight from Ray Allen who claims he was part of deal that would have moved him and point guard Rajon Rondo to the Suns in return for Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa and the Suns 14th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

The story does not specify why the deal didn't happen.

Green doesn’t matter to Miami Heat’s Ray Allen - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com

Allen sat down for three separate one-on-one interviews — with The Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post — on Thursday to clear the air well before the season opener. He said the friction with Rondo began in 2009 when Rivers and Celtics president Danny Ainge proposed a trade that would have sent Allen and Rondo to Phoenix for Amare Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa and the 14th overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Stoudemire was also almost dealt in a trade involving the Boston Celtics in 2007. That move would have brought Kevin Garnett to the Suns from Minnesota with Stoudemire going to Atlanta and Shawn Marion to the Celtics. The deal was reportedly nixed when Marion refused to give Boston assurances that he would sign an extension to remain a Celtic.


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Scouts are always an interesting source of outside perspective on your team. They are paid to watch and assess basketball and therefor generally should be regarded as dudes with something to say that you might want to listen to (aka DWSTSTYMWTLT).

This scout dude had some very interesting things to say about the Suns when he spoke to Fox Sports Arizona's Randy Hill. The mystery scout, who for obvious reasons didn't share his name with us, agrees with Alvin Gentry's approach for revising the offense. He confirmed what we've been seeing regarding Michael Beasley's unselfish play; discussed how the Corner offense is a good fit for Goran Dragic; and talked about Marcin Gortat's role in this system.

Perhaps most interesting, however, was scout dude's assessment of Markieff Morris. He noted Morris' increased confidence and aggressiveness but worries that it might go too far.

Scout: Suns are 'who we thought they were'

"To be fair," the scout said, "I’ve seen him not convert some relatively easy chances after making a couple of really nice moves in the lane. You don’t want to discourage him from expanding his game ... but if you’re the Suns, you don’t want experimentation to hurt their plus-minus when he’s in the game."

Give this entire story a read.

My take: Morris should be aggressive. I'd rather have him taking those shots in the paint than Wesley Johnson jacking up excessive threes or Shannon Brown going to his "Kobe mode". But, at the same time, if Morris is going to continue shooting at a 7-28 rate then he will obviously need to dial it back.

Of course, shooting percentages and shot selection in the preseason aren't necessarily indicative of what will happen when the games start counting for reals. Guys often are playing on dead legs in the preseason since morning shootarounds can be more like full-on practices this time of the year. Morris is a smart guy, he's not going to suddenly turn into Monta Ellis. But scout dude gave us something else to keep an eye on...so we will.

Poll
Are you concerned about Markieff Morris being too aggressive?

  172 votes | Results


We learned over the summer that many NBA analysts don’t believe in the Suns, as Phoenix ranked 14th in ESPN’s Summer Forecast with a 30-52 record predicted by the aggregation of 100...

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The 2012-2013 NBA Season will definitely be the most difficult task that Alvin Gentry has faced as the coach of the Phoenix Suns. Not only is he coaching a completely different team than the one of the previous season, but he is also doing it without the best assistant coach he had, Steve Nash. There is a new lineup, the captain is gone and the competition in the Pacific Division has only gotten better.

My question is: Are these reasons to grant Alvin Gentry leniency? Or should we expect success as if were any other season?

To gauge the season, let us first take a look at the presumed starting five.

PG: Goran Dragic

SG: Jared Dudley

SF: Michael Beasley

PF: Luis Scola

C: Marcin Gortat

Key bench players: Shannon Brown, Wesley Johnson, Sebastian Telfair/Kendall Marshall, Markieff Morris and Jermaine O'Neal

With this lineup, Yahoo! Sports contributor Mark Hawkins predicted the Suns to finish with a record of 25-57. Even with factoring in everything that has previously been said, that record is horrendous. I don't think that their record will be this bad -- I am guessing something closer to .500 -- but that may just be optimism trickling down from Dave. Hypothetically, let's say the Suns do finish below 30 wins. Does that mean that Gentry is gone? It would make it three years since the Suns reached the playoffs and I can't think the Suns front office would be thrilled about this.

My prediction: The Suns fail to reach the playoffs, but show competitiveness in important match-ups and their chemistry progresses as the season goes on. Gentry keeps his job for at least one more season. If Mark Hawkins' "Season Prediction of Doom" (that is what I'm calling it) is close to correct, I would not be surprised if Gentry ends up on that dreaded hot seat.

What does BSotS think? Is the pressure on or does Gentry get this season to begin the rebuilding process?

Poll
Is head coach Alvin Gentry on the hot seat?

  133 votes | Results


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