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15-Man Roster?

On Wednesday, the Suns cut loose big men Ike Diogu and Solomon Jones, trimming the roster down to the maximum allowed of 15. The word out of Suns HQ today is that there won't be any more cuts, at least not before the season starts.

"Unless something unforeseen happens, yes." Lance Blanks on these being the #Suns 15 roster players as of today.

— Kristofer Habbas(@sbn_khabbas) October 25, 2012

The means point guard Diante Garrett and forward Luke Zeller have both made the team, at least for the moment. This is the first time the Suns have kept a max roster since 2005.

The Suns have had their eye on Garrett for a while. They worked him out before the 2011 NBA Draft where he went undrafted, then brought him back to play for the Summer Suns in Las Vegas this year. Garrett played well enough to earn an invite to training camp, and it appears as if he has turned that invitation into a roster spot.

Garrett is the fourth point guard on the Suns' roster, but general manager Lance Blanks doesn't think that is overkill.

"I see it just based on what the needs of the the team are at any given moment of the season," Blanks said. "We need guys to practice, certainly, that would be here or we might not have everyone healthy so you might need some of them to play."

Blanks also mentioned the versatility that the two bigger guards -- Goran Dragic and Garrett -- provide.

"You could play Kendall at the one and Goran off the ball. You could play Bassy at the one and Diante off the ball," Blanks said. "There are a number of scenarios, things you could use with those guys. I don't see them as pure, traditional point guards."

Zeller, on the other hand, has arrived in Phoenix via the NBA D-League. He is a sharp-shooting big man who can replicate some of what they lost with Channing Frye.

It sounds like Garrett and Zeller were the two players who made best use of the player development staff the Suns offered to them, and that likely was a huge factor in them making the team. They showed they wanted to be there and were willing to do whatever they had to to stick around. Finances also likely played into the decision, as the two that made it are NBA rookies an can be paid as such, while the other two big men were considered veterans and would have made more.

What's Next?

It appears as if the Suns are set to begin the season with all 15 players, but that doesn't mean Garrett and Zeller are guaranteed to keep their jobs. Once upon a time Matt Janning made the team after training camp and the preseason, but when the Suns needed to make a move they had to cut him to make room.

Garrett and Zeller are going to have to earn their contract every day in practice and prove to the Suns they are worth keeping around.

Blanks talked about the versatility Garrett provides, but even so he is unlikely to play very much this year. He was signed as a developmental prospect more than for what he can provide the team on the court now. The versatile 6-foot-5 point guard can do a little of everything on the court, but he still has a lot of work to do.

Zeller, on the other hand, appears to be more of an emergency reserve than a player to stash and develop. He has the size to fill in at either frontcourt spot and has at least one NBA skill: shooting the basketball.

Blanks did not rule out the possibility of sending either player to the D-League for some, well, development. In fact, Blanks said he does see value in doing just that, and doesn't believe the players working with another coaching staff would be a problem.

"I'm not overly concerned because we're not telling them what plays to run or the assistant coach to hire, that we won't reap the benefits of them being in the D-League," Blanks said. "Minutes, and being able to play in a system and a situation during the regular season are a lot more significant than us designing the plays that they run."

Options

Per a press release from the Suns, the team has picked up the option on second year power forward Markieff Morris. Morris went through an up-and-down rookie season, but the talent he showed is undeniable and he was the most productive rookie the Suns have had since Amar'e Stoudemire.

The option is for $2.09 million according to Paul Coro, and will keep Morris under contract through the 2013-14 season.

The Suns also will have to make a decision soon on whether or not to pick up the option on Wesley Johnson's contract. The Suns will have to pay him $5.4 if they want to keep him beyond this year, a steep number for what Johnson has done so far in the NBA. Although, the fact that they didn't pick up his option when they did Morris' could mean they have already made their decision.


Various Suns broadcasters talking about the up-coming season.


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The ghost of the 2007 playoffs will last longer than David Stern's tenure as commissioner of the National Basketball Association, which is now counting down to February 1, 2014.

The NBA Board of Governors will select a new commissioner by then, with the early favorite being Stern's right-hand man for the past 1000 6 years - David Adam Silver.

What exactly will Stern's imminent departure mean to the NBA?

Will lockout cease to exist? Will harmony between players and owners prevail? No likely. Stern was not the warmest person in the nation, but he was often put into position of being the bad guy between two warring entities, and ultimately answerable to the ones with the most money.

Will the silly NBA dress code and 90-second limits on player/player introductions disappear? Not likely.

Will Phoenix Suns fans rejoice in the chance that a new commissioner might see apply context to simple rule enforcements that might change the outcome of the best playoff series of the year? Maybe. And that's all we can hope for.

David Stern oversaw incredible expansion of the NBA brand, and the spawning of more teams and new leagues.

We can only hope that the next commissioner is just as business savvy, while being a little more likable.


Team

We have SB Nation, for sports. We have The Verge (for consumer tech) and now we are rocking the video game world with Polygon!

I know a lot of you play video games. I know most of you read. Ergo, you should bookmark Polygon for all your reading about video game needs.

Check out their NBA 2k13 section which includes latest news, reviews, forums and galleries!

Read more about Polygon (and Vox) in this Forbes story.


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With the (so far) keeping of Luke Zeller on the Phoenix Suns roster, that makes no less than six "brothers" signed to play for the Suns in the several years. Apparently, the Phoenix Suns put extra weight on the unique life experienced by families with multiple world-class athletes playing the same sport at the same time.

The Zeller Family

Luke Zeller is the oldest of three NBA-quality brothers between the ages of 19 and 25. Middle brother Tyler was drafted by the Cavaliers this spring while Cody Zeller is projected to be a top-5 draft pick next spring. All are nearly 7 feet tall, though their skill sets vary. Luke is an outside threat, Tyler plays closer to the basket and Cody is the most well-rounded of the three. As a freshman last year, Cody led the Indiana Hoosiers in scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals and free throws.

Each was Mr. Indiana Basketball - Luke in 2005, Tyler in 2008 and Cody in 2011 - and a McDonald's All-American. Each led Washington (Ind.) High to at least one Indiana state championship. Each finished first, second or third in his high school class academically.

Luke is the least heralded of the crew, but is known as a leader. He was captain of his Notre Dame team despite averaging few points and rebounds throughout his career, and is the most outgoing of the three.

"He could probably be mayor of town," mother Lorri Zeller said in an excellent article on the brothers last year.

The Morris Family

The Suns already have Markieff Morris on the current squad, twin brother to Marcus. Both starred at Kansas, and both were drafted in the first round a year ago (Markieff at 13 to Phoenix, Marcus at 14 to Houston).

There's twins, and then there's TWINS. These boys look exactly alike, right down to facial expressions and body movements. But their games are different. Marcus is a tweener SF/PF while Markieff is a pure PF. In college, Marcus was the more offensively gifted of the two while Markieff covered the defense and the boards.

Once they hit the NBA, though, their paths have diverged. Marcus is buried on the depth chart of a team that employs no less than half-dozen tweener forwards fighting for minutes, while Markieff has a clear set of responsibilities and substantial minutes with the Phoenix Suns.

Still, their motto is #TEAM FOE (Family Over Everything). They talk every day and spent the entire summer together - mostly working out at the Suns facilities to further develop their skills.

The Lopez Family

Robin and Brook Lopez are a taller, clunkier, version of the Morris brothers. Both went to college together (Stanford), both were drafted in the first round of the same 2008 draft. Brook went 10th to New Jersey and Robin went 15th to the Suns. Both have suffered with health issues since 2008 (Brook's feet; Robin's back, foot and knee).

This one didn't go the Suns' way, though. Brook flashed enough to earn a maximum-salary extension over the summer with NJ, while Robin was shipped to New Orleans and signed a kinda-good but largely non-guaranteed contract with the lowly Hornets. Robin just never developed into a regular player because he never provided game to game consistency. One night, he'd look like a real NBA starter, then the next night he'd look like a dud.

The Griffin Family

Here's another case of the Suns giving so much credit to "genes" that they drafted uber-talented Blake Griffin's brother, Taylor, in the second round of the same draft that Blake went #1 overall.

Taylor was athletic, for sure, but never caught onto the NBA game because he wasn't quick enough to play the perimeter or big enough to bang underneath. He hung on with the Suns for a cup of coffee before moving his game overseas.

The Collins Family

Twin brothers Jason and Jarron Collins also went to Stanford (like the Lopez twins) and moved onto the NBA as first round picks. Neither became a stat machine in the NBA, but each was a valuable defensive rotation player for teams that valued their impact on the win column more than the stat column.

Jarron famously (for Suns fans) filled in for Robin Lopez in the spring of 2010 to provide a defensive anchor for the surging Suns during their magical playoff run to the Conference Finals. He was the subject of a lot of Sun fan boasting that spring: "We're so good, we can beat you with Jarron Collins at center. So there!"

The Van Arsdale Family

The Phoenix Suns history with brother tandems dates all the way back to 1960s. After college careers at Indiana, Dick starred for the expansion Phoenix Suns after a 3-year stint in New York while twin brother Tom played for several NBA teams throughout his 12-year NBA career. Both were 3-time all-stars and both made the All-Rookie team in 1966.

The brothers finally got to play together in the 1976-77 season on the Phoenix Suns - the only time the Suns have had both brothers of a twin tandem at the same time. Surely, the Suns wouldn't mind doing that again, with say the Griffin brothers.

Dick stayed with the Suns organization for the rest of his life - spending time as coach, GM, VP and broadcaster, and recently suffered from and recovered from a severe stroke that sapped his strength. Tom lives in Phoenix as well, and yes they both still look exactly alike.

--The Iconic Families series is brought to you by New York Life. At New York Life, everything we do is to help Keep Good Going. Find out how to keep the good in your life going at newyorklife.com


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