Since the Phoenix Suns are once again sitting out the NBA Finals, and the entire playoffs for that matter, we here at Bright Side thought we'd revisit that glorious Finals run twenty years ago, game by game. Take a walk through yesteryear with us to watch the Suns come thisclose to winning an NBA Championship.
After taking a 2-0 lead in the 1993 NBA Finals, you can imagine why the Bulls might take a night off. Why they might lose their edge a bit. But this Bulls team didn't. Michael Jordan poured in 44 points and Scottie Pippen came up one assist shy of a triple-double while the Bulls put up 121 loss in a loss.
The Phoenix Suns just came out a tiny bit scrappier, desperate for a win and a reprieve in the Finals. They took an 11 point lead in the fourth, only to see Chicago tie it up. It took three overtimes to close out the Bulls, but the Suns squeaked out a 129-121 win.
Charles Barkley collected 24 points and 19 rebounds, while Dan Majerle hit a then-Finals-record 6 three-pointers on the way to 28 points. This game makes you wonder what could have been for Richard Dumas, who put up 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals as a rookie. Too bad that was aided by illicit drugs that eventually killed his NBA career (admitted by Dumas).
After hosting 50 players in 8 days before taking the next few days to re-assess and re-evaluate, the Phoenix Suns announced yesterday that they will hold two more NBA Draft prospect workouts in the coming days. Players will come to the Valley on Saturday and Tuesday, with names being announced just as the workouts starts.
The Phoenix Suns still hold the #5, #30 and #57 picks in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Despite hosting so many players already, there were some notable omissions. I will be very curious to see if McDonough is using these last two workouts to fill in those blanks, or to bring back some players for a second look.
NOTE: The Suns brought in 50+ players already. For the sake of brevity, I am only noting the first-round prospects here. Lots of second-rounders hit the Suns practice floor as well.
Visited: Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, C.J. McCollum (candidates for #5 pick), Shane Larkin (mid-first), Ray McCallum, Erick Green, Nate Wolters (candidates for #30)
NOT Visited: Dennis Schroeder
Schroeder is the only PG prospect not to walk through that door at US Airways Arena this month. He worked out for a few teams late in June and then suddenly returned to Germany to wait out the draft. Rumor has it he got a promise in the late lottery.
Note that the Suns have seen every PG they can see, despite having Dragic and Marshall already on the roster.
Visited: Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore, Shabazz Muhammad (candidates for #5 pick), Reggie Bullock, Archie Goodwin, Ricky Ledo (candidates for #30 pick)
NOT Visited: Jamaal Franklin, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Allen Crabbe
Franklin, a candidate in the 10-20 range, had an injury keeping him from working out for any teams until this week. Pope is also a 10-20 range guy. If the Suns bring them in, then you know they are still considering adding another first-round pick because they will be gone by #30. If the #5 pick turns out to be a C, then Franklin or Pope would be a nice consolation prize at the SG position in that scenario. Crabbe is a late-first, early second guy. Not sure why he hasn't visited yet.
Visited: Muhammad (candidate for #5 pick), Tony Snell (candidate for #30)
NOT Visited: Otto Porter (candidate for #5 pick), Sergey Karasev, Dario Saric, Giannis Antetokounpo
Porter has refused to visit any team lower than #3, fueling speculation that he has assurances he won't drop further. Karasev reportedly got a mid-first promise and returned to Europe. Saric returned to Europe without a promise, and will definitely not play in the NBA in 2013-14. He may pull from the draft entirely. The Greek kid is playing in Europe, and was scouted by new Asst GM Pat Connolly this week. All these guys will likely be gone by #30.
Visited: Anthony Bennett (candidate for #5 pick), Tony Mitchell, Jackie Carmichael, C.J. Leslie, Dwayne Davis (candidates for #30)
NOT Visited: Livio Jean-Charles (on the first round bubble)
Not much to see here. The power forward depth this year is weak, though you could argue that Nerlens Noel and Mason Plumlee could play PF in the NBA.
Visited: Alex Len (candidate for top-5 pick), Rudy Gobert, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee (all in the 7-20 range)
NOT Visited: Nerlens Noel, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk, Jeff Withey, Gorgui Dieng, Lucas Nogueira, Mike Muscala
Noel refuses, so far, to visit anyone outside the top two, though the Suns have been inquiring. Noguiera was scouted over in Europe in the past week by Pat Connolly. Not a whiff on the others.
Looks like the Suns are picking and choosing their favorites here, more than any other position. Those who have visited are athletically gifted players who can protect the rim and/or rebound at a high rate. Three of the four have a ceiling as quality NBA starting center, while the fourth (Plumlee) profiles as a rotation-type PF/C. Those not invited are more traditional backup center prospects with limited upside.
Unless more centers are brought in this weekend, it appears that if the Suns draft a shooting guard at #5 AND acquire another lottery pick their only big-man targets are Plumlee, Zeller, Gobert and possibly Nogueira.
If they draft a center at #5 AND acquire a second lottery pick, it appears their only lotto-range "small" target is a point guard, Shabazz Muhammad or possibly the Greek kid Giannis Antetokounpo.
But again, there are more workouts scheduled, on Saturday and Tuesday. Look for the Suns to bring in more mid-first wing prospects for a look-see, and possibly more mid-to-late-first center prospects.
Clearly, Noel and Porter are the biggest no-shows, since they are projected in the top-5 of a Draft that the Suns hold that 5th pick. It's possible they will visit Phoenix in the next 13 days, but only if they believe their stock is dropping far enough.
Other than those two, it's interesting that the Suns have seen Gobert and Plumlee but not Steven Adams or any other C prospect in the same range.