Phoenix native and famed streetballer G Smith offers his take on the Phoenix Suns' 2014/15 season.

Although Eric Bledsoe did not make himself particularly accessible during this past off-season, he kept plenty busy while home in Birmingham besides just staying in shape and driving Suns fans mad with impatience. For one, he and NBA legend Gilbert Arenas coached the Birmingham All-Stars in a matchup with the Ball Up All-Stars.

Ball Up is a professional streetball team that tours the country and makes a living by embarrassing local talent. For those unaware, streetball is a form of basketball that emphasizes flashy plays and encourages showmanship. Think of what guys like Allen Iverson and Nick Young would do on a basketball court if coaches didn't exist. It's pure, unbridled b-ball talent. No filler.

On July 26, Ball Up rolled into Birmingham and suffered the first loss in the four-year history of their summer tour, 84-83. Might the Man Of Few Words find himself in a coaching position some day?Bledsoe_w-team2.0.jpg

While the Ball Up All-Stars featured legendary streetball personalities such as The Professor, AO, Air Up There and more, Phoenix natives might be most familiar with their 6'6 dunking dynamo, G Smith.g-smith

Gary "G" Smith cut his teeth at Independence High School in Glendale, AZ, located in the far west of Phoenix and just a small hop over Grand Avenue from where your humble narrator grew up. Not exactly a hotbed of basketball talent, but that didn't stop G from making a name for himself.

At 23 years old, after a collegiate detour through Minnesota and eventually Tucson, G was the winner of Fox Sports' reality series, "Ball Up Streetball", which earned him a multi-year contract with Ball Up. Since then, Smith has earned a name for himself with vicious posterizations, and is often referred to as "The Greatest In-Game Dunker".


After spending some time up-close with our own $70 million man, G was willing to give his two cents on the 2014/15 season for your Phoenix Suns. Here's what he had to say to BSOTS.

1) Did you have any idea that the Phoenix Suns would play so well last year, finishing just a game short of the playoffs after many national outlets predicted a rough season?

G: Looking at the Phoenix Suns roster last year I was very confident in the team's ability to have a winning season. The team's player personnel suited the Phoenix Suns well established up and down playing style. Therefore, the lack of expectations expressed by many media outlets never deterred my opinion on the team's future.

2) Do you think 6'3" Goran Dragic and 6'1" Eric Bledsoe are a long-term answer as a starting back court in the NBA? What are their strengths and weaknesses as a starting pair?

G: I do believe that Dragic and Bledsoe are the answers long term as a starting backcourt. They both possess the skill set to shoot the outside shot, or insert the defense and finish strong at the rim. As for a weakness, I only see injury preventing these two from performing at the high level they're capable of.

3) Do you think the rest of the Suns team, including Isaiah Thomas and the Morris brothers, can help carry the Suns into the playoffs with a back court of Bledsoe and Dragic?

G: Absolutely, having Thomas only inclines the guard position with even more consistent contribution. Also having the Morris brothers interior and exterior play drastically improves all levels of the team performance. In conclusion with Dragic and Bledsoe running the show I believe the playoffs are definitely obtainable.

4) This summer, did you interact with Eric Bledsoe at all when he guest-coached the Birmingham All-Stars? How much have you followed Bledsoe's career, and how good can he be in the NBA?

G: Yes I did interact with Eric Bledsoe this summer as he was a guest coach of the Birmingham All-Stars. Eric is an awesome person and over these last couple years we've built a great mutual respect for one another. I do follow his career in hopes to see him in continued success. I believe Eric can be as good as he wants to be, he has tremendous ability, therefore I see him becoming an NBA All-Star.

5) Who do you think will win the NBA Finals, and why?

G: I predict the Phoenix Suns versus the Cleveland Cavaliers in this year's NBA finals. I chose the Suns out of the Western Conference due to their fast pace basketball and hunger for success! Coming out the eastern conference I went with the Cavaliers. With the additions of Lebron James and Kevin Love I feel they're the most complete in the Eastern Conference.

Ed: LeBron versus the Slash Triplets matchup in the Finals? I think I could muster up some excitement for that.

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If you bet the over on wins for the Phoenix Suns last season you were able to cash in on January 15th. That's three full months before the end of the regular season. Vegas whiffed. This season they have nearly doubled the Suns wins figure, but is it still too low?


That's the number slated the Suns at last season. Phoenix just barely squeaked past that number with a 48-34 record.

Vegas was Samsonite way off.

Obviously the lines aren't always set at the win totals the teams are expected to achieve. These aren't predictions. They're lines set to encourage betting on both sides of the number.

Still... 21.5?


I'll own it.

Even if I didn't mention it I know that the puppet gallery would. When I decided to write this I told Dave it was probably apropos that it came from me considering my role of doom merchant last season. I thought the team would get off to an abhorrent start and a fire sale would ensure, stripping the team of any remaining short term assets before the trade deadline. With the prospect of the season unraveling I went with the worst case scenario, which actually had a silver lining.

Despite my pessimistic broadcast for the season, I also augured that the Suns would strike lottery gold and gain their first ever #1 overall pick. Basically, I always look for the good out of every bad situation. It's kind of my thing.

My prognosticative prowess was sorely lacking. I should have listened to everybody who thought the Suns were easily a 40+ win team that would fight for a playoff spot. Or at least everybody who had them winning 20-something games. I could have avoided some good-natured (I think?) ridicule.

Instead I went with 16-66. The reason I picked that exact number? Because it was the team's record in it's inaugural campaign... a season of misery that it seemed would be appropriately matched. I thought the Suns were going to hit rock bottom.

I was wrong.


That's the new over/under on the Phoenix Suns for the 2014-15 season.

Being the eternal optimist that I am, the first thing that occurred to me was this seemed a little bit low. I'll save my final laughably incoherent prediction for right before the season, a lot of things can change between now and then, but to be candid... a two digit number with a 5 in the left hand column had been tumbling around my head.

I can definitely see a scenario unfold where the team improves on its record from last season. The team made a big upgrade in the backcourt. Chemistry and camaraderie seem to be huge strengths. There's a very familial atmosphere enveloping the team, probably because damn near everyone is related now, unlike the noxious miasma from a couple years ago. Hornacek has had a chance to cut his teeth (or insert your favorite Babbyism). Nearly all of the main components are in or entering their prime.

If the team can stay relatively healthy, why couldn't they leave this new number in the dust? The new campaign will hopefully bring a whole lot more Eric Bledsoe and Alex Len than last season. Plus, the suggestions of salient improvement from the Suns bigs don't really seem like platitudes or white noise after those same types of remarks were all validated last year.

Really? A .500 team? Bordering on being in the 30's?

I'm taking the over.


That's how many teams Vegas has ahead of the Suns.

1. Oklahoma City Thunder 57.5

2. San Antonio Spurs 56.5

3. Los Angeles Clippers 55.5

4. Golden St. Warriors 50.5

5. Dallas Mavericks 49.5

6. Houston Rockets 49.5

7. Memphis Grizzlies 48.5

8. Portland Trail Blazers 48.5

Shockingly, they are the exact same eight that finished ahead of the Suns last season. Way to think outside the box.

I'll be previewing these teams in depth before the regular season begins, so at that point I'll give some more insight into which of these teams might actually be vulnerable. For now I'll just offer that it seems like pretty specious logic to just gift the same teams all eight spots. Almost surely, at least one of those teams will slip behind an improving team climbing into the picture. Yes, they're betting lines, not necessarily predictions, but do all of those teams really look 6+ wins better than the Suns?

What are your thoughts? High? Low? About right?

Get them in below. It's not time to hold anyone to predictions quite yet, but it's about time to start mulling over this topic... if you're into this type of thing.

Also, I think this qualifies as an optimistic post... which means I get nine the other way to dispense at my discretion.

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