Get jovial.

Get in the weight room. Increased expectations are heavy for Goran Dragic.

But it's entirely too early to predict how the season will go for The Dragon, so why are we even talking about it?

Regardless, the three guard lineup will be endlessly entertaining to watch all season long.

The key to success for the trio? Floor spacing.

Robert Sarver had some time to think about his October 16th incident where he publicly called out San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich for failing to make the trip to Phoenix for a preseason game. Several players were also absent. After having time to reflect, he feels the same way.

In case you haven't seen this, it's a fun watch. Dragic had some fun pranking his teammates on Halloween.

The paint belongs to Alex Len. Well, he's a "difference-maker" at least.

2014-15 NBA and Phoenix Suns predictions from Arizona Sports in case you missed it.

But do our fans think that we have a playoff team?

Here's four fun things you may have missed from Saturday's Jazz-Suns game. Don't worry, it includes no actual game action.

Are the Jazz the Phoenix Suns of a season ago? Quin Snyder wants you to shut your damn mouth with that comparison.

Check out how Kobe Bryant politely says, "Don't ask me stupid questions."

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a long road ahead of them with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook sidelined by injury.

Pacific Division contract news. Golden State and Klay Thompson agree long term.

Even more thrilling contract news. Ricky Rubio re-ups with the Timberwolves.

Do the Suns need Miles Plumlee to be better for them to have any shot for the playoffs? Kevin Zimmerman: Absolutely. Alex Len has sort of masked how poorly Plumlee has looked on both ends. The...

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The Bakersfield Jam announced their training camp roster today. The roster, featuring 16 players, will be winnowed down to 10 before the start of the season.

The Bakersfield Jam were quick to consolidate their training camp roster following this weekend's D-League Draft, sending out camp invites to 16 players on Monday.

The roster is an eclectic mix of returning players, drafted players, players cut from the Suns training camp roster, and guys who were selected through a local tryout. Compared to other rosters, the Jam seem to have included a strikingly large number of older guys - 7 guys will be 27 or older before the start of the season - but this may be because the players likely to be optioned down this year (Ennis, Goodwin, and potentially TJ Warren) are all young and might benefit from a more hardscrabble group of veterans.

Name Pos Ht Wt DOB College/Country Status
Ricardo Barbosa G 6-3 202 4/19/94 Brazil Draft (7th Rd)
Earl Barron C 7-0 250 8/14/81 Memphis Affiliate
Bill Clark G 6-5 205 4/15/88 Duquesne Draft (6th Rd)
Markeith Cummings F 6-6 240 12/21/88 Kennesaw State Returning
Kyle Fuller G 6-1 200 1/27/92 Vanderbilt Tryout
Joe Jackson G 6-0 167 2/8/92 Memphis Affiliate
Travele Jones F 6-8 205 11/19/88 Texas Southern Tryout
Mac Koshwal F 6-10 255 10/19/87 DePaul Returning
Renaldo Major F 6-6 210 5/7/82 Fresno State Returning
Elijah Millsap G 6-6 215 8/12/87 UAB Trade
Xavier Munford G 6-2 180 7/1/92 Rhode Island Trade
Casey Prather F 6-6 212 5/29/91 Florida Affiliate
Mohamed Tangara F 6-8 248 8/11/84 Arizona Draft (6th Rd)
Adrian Thomas F 6-7 224 4/30/87 Miami Returning
Robert Vaden G 6-5 220 3/3/85 UAB Draft (1st Rd)
Jamil Wilson F 6-7 230 11/20/90 Marquette Affiliate

Credit: Bakersfield Jam Announcement

The guys drafted were covered in a previous article, so here we'll only provide a brief introduction to the players who weren't discussed there and that did not feature on the Suns' training camp roster.

Markeith Cummings

Cummings is a returning player who is a D-League veteran. Cummings was a 5 year player at Kennesaw State, where for his career as a four year starter he averaged 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists per game. After college, he spent 2012-13 in the Philippines, where over 9 games he averaged 29 points, 20 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. Cummings played in 24 games for the Jam last season, averaging 12 minutes a game along with 6 points and 1.5 rebounds.

Kyle Fuller

Fuller is one of the few players who managed to turn a tryout invite into a camp invite, and he's hoping to be one of the few to get a roster spot. Fuller is a rookie out of Vanderbilt, where he was a two year starter at PG. Last season for Vandy he averaged 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game.

Travele Jones

Travele Jones is the other tryout player on the training camp roster, and he comes with more experience than Fuller. Jones transferred to Texas Southern after two years at Los Angeles City College. As a two year starter at PF, Jones averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds 2 assist and 2 steals per game. Despite a particularly impressive 2011 season, where Jones was named the SWAC Player of the Year, Jones went undrafted and was not invited to any Summer League teams. In 2011, Jones played in Switzerland, where he averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals per game. In 2012, Jones appeared briefly in the Belgian league before settling in to play for the Sendai 89ers in Japan for the 2013 season.

Mac Koshwal

Koshwal is a returning member of the Jam, having played in all but 1 game last season and getting 16 starts and averaging 20 minutes per game. Koshwal has lingered around the NBA for a while after coming out of DePaul in 2011. Koshwal, despite playing on a pretty bad DePaul team, was often in the running for All-ACC awards. In his final season in 2010, Koshwal averaged a double-double, putting up 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. After going undrafted, Koshwal spent time in Spain in 2010-2011, but didn't see playing time. He received Summer League invites from Detroit in 2010 and New Orleans in 2012, but these never turned into a roster spot. In 2013 the 76ers invited him to training camp, and he played in three pre-season games before being cut and signed by the Jam. For the season last year Koshwal averaged 7 points and 6 rebounds per game.

Renaldo Major

Major is one of the veterans of the team, and one of the few with experience in the NBA. In 2006-07, Major appeared in a game for Golden State after receiving a 10 day contract. Since then, Major has been a D-League lifer, playing in each of the last 6 seasons, including the last three in Bakersfield. For his D-League career he has averaged 14 points, 4.5 rebounds and an assist per game. Last season Major was activated for only 11 games. However, in 17 games in Finland he averaged 11 points and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes per game. Major is considered a defensive specialist, having won the 2007 D-League DPOY Award.

Xavier Munford

Munford was drafted by the Maine Red Claws in the 3rd round of the D-League Draft, but the Jam acquired him for the rights of John Petrucelii, their 8th round pick, as well as the rights to returning player Jake O'Brien. Munford was a two year starter for Rhode Island, where he averaged 17 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1 steal per game for his career.

Adrian Thomas

Thomas is a veteran D-League player who's rights are controlled by the Jam. He played big minutes for the Jam in 2011-2012 and 2012-13, but does not seem to have appeared at all in the 2013-14 campaign. He was a sometimes starter for Miami as a college player. In 80 career games for the Jam, Thomas has averaged 6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. He has been something of a sharpshooter on previous Jam teams, with the vast majority of his shot attempts coming from behind the arc.

Jamil Wilson (because I don't think we ever really covered him before)

Wilson was a 5 year college player, which explains his somewhat advanced age in this year's draft. After beginning his career with Oregon, where he started 14 games as a freshman, Wilson transferred to Marquette. He played sporadic minutes for Marquette until his senior season, when he started all 32 games for the Golden Eagles. In his senior season, he averaged 12 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Wilson was a participant in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he averaged 18 points and 6 rebounds on 52% shooting, and was a member of the 2014 Wooden Legacy All-Tournament Team. He was a member of Washington's Summer League team, where he appeared in all 6 games. He averaged 7 points, 3 rebounds and an assist. Wilson played only about 9 minutes total for the Suns during the pre-season before being cut.

The Bakersfield Jam finalized their training camp roster on Sunday, following the NBA D-League Draft. This year, the Jam’s roster is made up of players from all over the world, and it features a...

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Lensanity has begun. Alex Len, the Suns first top five pick since Armon Gilliam went #2 overall in 1987, rightfully had a lot of expectations and pressure on him to be the next step forward for the Suns. Little did Len and the Suns know that Len would be the second in line at the center position and be needed for a playoff race.

Unfortunately, a couple of injuries kept Len out for most of last season and not looking right on the floor when he did play. Len missed summer league last season and entered this summer in Vegas with something to prove, only to pick up a finger injury that would see him only make one appearance. Well, now at least Len would make his preseason debut in year two right? Wrong. Len would pick up the same sort of finger injury in practice and would miss most of his chance to grow in the offseason.

The setup in narrative here is important because you could feel (some) Suns fans expectations getting lower and lower and wondering if their big man of the future would ever even be healthy enough to prove his potential. As it turns out, those fans have gotten just that. Len was terrific on Friday night against his childhood idol Tim Duncan and showed so much to his defensive game that has so many people excited.

This is the part of the film study where I would blabber on some stats to prove my point, but we are only three games into the season. That's not really important here, as Len has shown so much to us already in his play to prove his worth. I'm going to be using almost all of the clips here against the Spurs because I feel those are so much more valuable than clips against the Lakers or the Jazz. Now it's time for us to come together and get even more excited if that was possible.


This is going to be a defensive showcase here, so if you're not a fan of that I am sorry. Len had two blocks in his first two games and both were very impressive in showing what he can do as a defensive force down low.

Example 1

Here is Kobe Bryant sizing up Marcus Morris and planning out where he can take his contested fadeaway. Len is keeping an eye on the action because he is responsible for rim protection.

Kobe tried one little move and Morris stayed with him, but Len still finds himself making his space known. Kobe sees this and backs it up for a second. That means missing Wayne Ellington wide open on the other corner. This is a slight overrotation by Len and Markieff Morris will come over and tell Len to slide back a bit.

Len is back where he should be and Kobe gets by Marcus as he should. Markieff is the man to keep an eye on here as he actually comes over for the closeout and leaves Kobe with two passes to choose from.

Kobe goes for the simple handoff and all is left is Ed Davis against Len. Len slides over and gets ready to jump because he knows Davis will capitalize on the space right away.

If you are going to take anything away from reading this, it should be that Len is really freaking long. All Len does here is go straight up and he still gets the block. That's how long he is. Good solid defense. Now, everyone wave bye bye to the very bad Lakers and let's move on to some real competition. Bye Kobe!

Example 2

The Spurs run a really cool double screen set for Manu rolling to the left. Eric Bledsoe is really fast, but even he can't get through this. Len is left with the responsibility of stopping Ginobli.

Bledsoe has just gotten around the screens so now it's all up to Len. He steps up and makes himself known. The thing you really need to remember is that Len is 7'1". Guys this tall are not supposed to be able to move like this and be confident in their ability to stop a dribbling guard at the elbow. Len's agility for his size allows for this to happen.

Manu sees a floater in his future and I see PAIN. LOTS AND LOTS OF PAIN.

Manu usually has enough space and quickness in his release to get this off, but Len is so long and agile himself that he rises quickly and blocks the shot.

Overall Defense

Example 1

Former Suns great Shaquille O' Neal has been known to let the world know that when a big man has some easy buckets that it is barbecue chicken. Tim Duncan on basically a rookie should be that and it quite honestly was on a couple of possessions, but Len had a nice possession here.

Duncan squares up here with the ball and Len prepares himself against a hall of famer. Len does a great job of moving his hands with the ball to create as little space as possible for Duncan if he wants to try to bank in his signature shot.

Now Duncan decides to back the youngin down to create space. Two attempts yield little result so the handoff to Manu is the plan B.

Manu gets off a really weird twisting lefy floater that even Len can't get out to in time. Another thing you notice about Len is that he realizes his range when it comes to challenges like this. If he can't get there to block or severely alter the shot, he's going to keep his rebounding position inside.

Ginobli misses, Len goes up strong, swings those elbows and his body around in a 180 spin, and gets the ball to Goran Dragic to start the fast break. It's the little things sometimes.

Example 2

Pick and roll defense is pretty important for a big man. Here is Parker coming off of the screen and Len asserts himself at the free throw line. It's key to look at the line at the bottom and see that Len is doing this in super crunch time against the defending champs.

These two slides here show the presence that Len can bring to the floor. Parker is a smart man and I assume that he remembers Manu's floater being blocked earlier. Len's presence here on the two slides give Parker nowhere to try to pull up for a jumper and the defense traps him at the elbow.

Now the possession has ended in a contested three pointer by Manu. Len has this really creative and nifty trick on box outs where he doesn't gamble on the half second it takes to turn around and box out, and instead he just shoves himself into his opposition to deny them space. It's not exactly perfect for all siutations, but when the Spurs only have one true offensive rebounder on the floor in Duncan it works. He keeps Duncan away from the play but...

It goes wrong. A long rebound occurs here and Markieff gets a piece of it, but the ball is going out of bounds. Remember. Seven. Foot. One. Len attempts to save the ball.

In one motion, Len hustles to the ball, grabs the rebound, jumps, turns, and throws the pass to Isaiah Thomas. It's not an amazing play or anything, but the kid continues to show how athletic he is for his size.

The Alex Len Three Part Extravaganza That Probably Won The Suns The Game

Part 1

Look at the time. This is a giant possession. Len starts on Duncan by pulling a man in the wild move of just asserting his complete size by putting both hands up and challenging Duncan in any way possible. Once again, not a big deal for most, but Len's length is another story and it makes Duncan do a little bit more here.

Eventually, this possession ends on a miss and look who is there for the rebound. Len does this cool play with his length when he knows he's going to be able to reach the ball. He runs his body into the opposition to create more space for himself and deny them any chance of getting the ball. He did it twice last night and it's a cool move.

Part 2

On the way down the Suns are looking to begin closing this game out. It's important to note where Len is right now because some big men would just end their possession there. Len stays active though and keeps himself involved.

He creeps towards the basket and a missed Markieff fadeaway here puts this rebound into Duncan's hands most likely. However, Len stays active and looks to disrupt.

Duncan misreads the ball a little bit and all of a sudden there is Len pulling a Tyson Chandler and batting the ball out to the backcourt. Len was in the right place at the right time a TON last night, and eventually you've just got to put that past luck and the guy just having a nose for the ball.

Part 3

Fresh possession. You know what comes next. Pick and roll with Bledsoe. Len rolls.

Len takes two giant steps and Duncan being his age forces Kawhi Leonard to come over to help. Once again, this is a massive man pulling this off. In one fluid motion...

Len swoops around Kawhi and Duncan and feeds Markieff. Look at the second slide. Look at where Kawhi and Duncan are. They are frozen. Len's got a lot of offensive potential and a little pass like this helps the Suns pull out a win and has the Suns possibly looking at a future center who could get some assists.


What we can conclude from three games of Lensanity is that he is starting to bring promise to all of the potential he has. Len struggled with foul trouble Saturday night against the Jazz, but he still had 4 blocks and was the only source of interior defense the entire night. Some of us speculated in the offseason that Len could eventually challenge for the starting center spot before the season was over, but I don't think any of us thought it could come before the end of November.

Len is on his way to that spot and there's no reason to think he won't get it besides his health history so far in the NBA. He gives the Suns much more on the interior defensively and that's not even presenting how much better he could be offensively than Miles Plumlee. Plumlee's post ups are one of the most confusing and inefficient sets the Suns run and his 0.5 assists per game don't help out either. It's very early, but Len just seems flat out better on both ends in three games this season.

The main thing to take away from the beginning of Lensanity is the Suns will have improvement at the center position. Len brings good play on both ends and will continue to challenge Plumlee for the starting position. At the very least, the Suns are going to have their bench play be even better with Len joining the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green, and Marcus Morris. At its highest potential, Len can have a significant impact defensively while making enough plays offensively to be a game changer like he was against the Spurs on Friday night. We won't know where Len lands on that spectrum for a while, but this is the start of finding out.

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