Just two months into the season, what was once a roster full of tradeable assets to obtain future "keepers" may just be a roster already full of those "keepers" without making another move.

Winning 9 of 12, including the last 5 in a row, makes the Phoenix Suns really happy with each other.

Suddenly, all those trabeable veterans who could help a playoff team are needed right here in the valley - to help their current team not only make the playoffs but become a threat once there.

"We are family," guard Goran Dragic said after the win over Golden State on Sunday night. "I know if somebody beats me, I know my teammates have my back."

Dragic was asked specifically about the pundits who predicted the Suns would be lucky to win 15 games this season.

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"We already win 14!" Dragic said in response. "I'm really happy. We don't want to stop here. We want to go up, and try to be a playoff team. We got 60 more games, a long way to go."

"It feels great," he continued. "Now I get back home, I'm smiling. The next day, I can't wait to get to practice and play ball with those guys. When you're having fun, your basketball performance goes way up."

How strong do you feel about the team's playoff chances, Goran?

"Very strong," he said.

Channing Frye, who's been touted by many including myself as a great asset for a playoff team because he's a stretch four who can also defend the middle, is making himself quite at home on this team as well.

"You gotta have fun," Frye said. "We're playing the right way. We play unselfish and guys just want to win and play the right way."

Is this team as good as its going to get? "Heck no, not even close," Frye said. "We’re winning, but we shouldn’t be satisfied with this."

Why am I even talking about trades right now?

Because this tiny stretch between Dec 15 and 19 (Thursday) is likely to spawn at least one big trade if not a few, and the Suns have all the assets that anyone needs. Picks, veterans, playable youth. It's all here.

Other teams are already cranking up the trade rumor mill. Some are looking for that missing piece (Houston needs a stretch four) while others are seriously thinking of tanking the season and acquiring picks for the 2014 draft in exchange for their veterans (Utah, Milwaukee, Chicago, etc.).

Will the Suns get involved in any trades? The bait is out there for Ryan McDonough to pull another Eric Bledsoe type deal with a desperate team. Or for McD to acquire that All-Star type player a team wants to dump before they get too expensive or leave in free agency.

Houston, for one, wants to trade Omer Asik by Thursday, which happens to be the last day any free agents signed this past summer can be acquired and then re-traded before the February deadline. The Suns don't have any of those (unless you count Dionte Christmas), but they do have vets.

Channing Frye would fit in Houston, but he's such a strong part of the Suns' resurgence. There's no need to trade Channing, unless there's a star to be had in return.

Or, do you trade P.J. Tucker? He's another one contributing to this team winning games in a major way.

No, these Suns are playoff contenders as they sit here, and they need veterans like Dragic, Frye and Tucker right here in the valley to compete for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

What about acquiring a star?

Sure, but there's not many out there ready to be traded at this time. Frye and Markieff Morris are producing very well at the PF spot (22 points and 12 rebounds between them). Tucker and Marcus Morris are playing well at SF. Only an All-Star level player is worth trading away these guys, or benching them for a slightly better player.

And certainly, there's no need to upgrade either of the guard positions, either now or in the future. And the center position has players of the present (Miles Plumlee, Channing Frye) and the future (Alex Len).

Based on how much the Suns are winning right now, to break up this team at this time is getting more and more unlikely.

The players believe in themselves and their future, and they think they're only scratching the surface.

What a week, right?

The season is a little over a quarter old for the Phoenix Suns (14-9), not quite the 25 game sample most look for, but enough time has passed to strip some of the general assumptions about the team from the pre-season.

Over the past five games the team has went from 9-9 and going through some of the growing pains of being better than expected too early.

Since then they have been on a roll. It has been two full seasons since the Suns have been on a roll like they are right now winning five games in a row and 9 of the last 12 since a season worst four game losing streak. The team is coming together to play behind the great team oriented basketball behind the dynamic duo of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, more on them below.

Game Recaps

@ Los Angeles Lakers - W (114-108) Full Recap

vs. Sacramento Kings - W (116-107) Full Recap

vs. Golden State Warriors - W (106-102) Full Recap

This week has been momentous for the Suns as they are sweeping through the Pacific Division after a bumpy start against them. One way to get into the playoffs is to take care of the division. As meaningless as divisions are these days the Suns are marching up to the current leaders, the Los Angeles Clippers (16-9), despite not facing off against them yet.

With a fully healthy roster this team is proving to be very tough to match-up with because of the effort on the offensive and defensive end. They are clearly a more athletic group than last year, which can not be talked about enough.

The athleticism is most relative with the two-headed monster that attacks the rim in Bledsoe and Dragic. They create the opportunities for the shooters, Gerald Green, Channing Frye, and the Morrii, completing what is becoming one of the more versatile offenses in the league.

Key Stat

51.0% and 51.1%

What are these percentages you ask?

In the past five games those are the shooting numbers for Dragic and Bledsoe, or as some have dubbed them, Dragon Blade. The duo has been scoring the ball and attacking the other team relentlessly, which makes the efficiency just that much more impressive.

Dragic: 22.8 PPG 3.0 APG 537% FG 54.1% 3PT

Bledsoe: 21.1 PPG 7.8 APG 48.6% FG 47.6% 3PT

Pretty efficient from the two as they are just scratching the surface at just how good they can be playing off of one another in the offense.

Quote of the Week

Biggest surprise this year for me: how well Dragic & Bledsoe have meshed together. A 2-pronged attack night after night, so effective. -- Bill Simmons on the Suns via Twitter

2014 NBA Draft Update

Surrogate Watch continues and the Suns have two first round picks with the current projections, none of which are in the lottery. A slight change of pace from pre-season projections. Here is the update on how the three picks look right now:

Washington Wizards (9-13) -- No. 9 Overall (Pick stays in Washington based on Protections) Someone has to get a lottery pick, right? The Wizards continue to stockpile lottery picks here adding Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh to an already full roster of young prospects.

Minnesota Timberwolves (12-12) -- No. 12 Overall (Pick stays in Minnesota based on Protections) One position the T-Wolves have struggled to fill has always been at the two guard spot, where freshman Wayne Selden of Kansas lands here.

Phoenix Suns (13-9) -- No. 23 Overall (Pick stays in Phoenix based on Protections) The further and further the Suns slip here the higher they move up in the playoff standings. Good, right? Best player available reads as Wisconsin sophomore Sam Dekker.

Indiana Pacers (20-3) -- No. 30 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Best player available mode here as the Suns add Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic to the fold. Might be a draft and stash here to preserve a roster spot, while adding a quality back-up point guard for the future.

Keep following along here to get updates and information on the 2014 NBA Draft Class and more.

News & Notes

  • After early returns the three candidates the Suns have on the All-Star Ballots are not in the running to make the team...
  • Bledsoe notched a career-high 28 points against the Kings...
  • At 14-9 the Suns are off to their best start since the 2009-2010 season...

Previewing the Week Ahead:

Wednesday, December 18th vs. San Antonio Spurs (19-4)

Friday, December 20th @ Denver Nuggets (14-9)

Saturday, December 21st vs. Dallas Mavericks (14-10)

If the winning streak was the Suns statement that they have arrived, then this week will be a test to see how well they can stick around. All three match-ups will be against playoff teams and with two out of three at home they will have that advantage. Winning two out of three puts the Suns at 16-10, 3-0 at 17-9, and worst case if they fall back down to reality either 15-11 or 14-12.

This season the Suns are 0-1 against the Spurs, 1-0 against the Nuggets and have not played the Mavericks to date.

PHOENIX – Like a teenage boy with a cracking voice and wispy hair appearing on his chin, the Phoenix Suns went through an awkward growth period during the first quarter of the 2013-14 season....

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PHOENIX – The best shooting backcourt in the league today is certainly Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but the Phoenix Suns’ duo of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic might be the least...

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The Phoenix Suns led nearly the entire game, but it was a close one all along. Golden State's Splash brothers lost a tight duel to the Suns newly ordained Slash Brothers.

It was a crazy game that felt like a back and forth affair, despite the Suns holding a lead for nearly the entire game. Several times, the Warriors got within a possession until the Suns pulled back out into the lead to finally win 106-102.

Steph Curry made it his business to make the game close, as did Klay Thompson, until P.J. Tucker smothered an iso play by Curry with 20 seconds left to ice the game.

What a game!!!!

The Splash Brothers had a huge second half for the Warriors, putting in 47 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals between them.

But the Slash Brothers played even better, with 45 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds and 7 steals between them. Giving credit to the nightly Slash winner: Bledsoe had 24, 8, 8 and 3 by himself.

WOW.

The Warriors didn't want the Suns to have any easy shots at the rim, twice fouling on breakaways and twice more hard-fouling on alley-oops at the rim. Definitely, the game plan was to try to keep the fans out of the game - a good strategy for the road team to employ.

Through the first quarter, the Suns fought through by making their jumpers and keeping their cool. It helps when you're 5-7 from the three-point line, and shooting 57% overall from the field.

Andrew Bogut was a focal point of the Warriors offense more than usual, scoring on all four possessions in which he was focused. He rebounded and put back his only miss.

But the Suns had a good 33-27 lead after one, thanks to the shooting.

The Warriors are a very talented team, and a young one like the Suns. Their second quarter lineup began sans Curry, but still boasted David Lee, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson as they tried to get back into the game. Dragic and the backups held them off though - even including Archie Goodwin thanks to the fast pace of the game. Archie played tight defense on Tony Douglas, giving Eric Bledsoe a rest while Curry was out.

One of my biggest keys to this game was the rebounding battle. Warriors are 7th in the NBA, while the Suns are near the bottom in total rebounds and last in second-chance points allowed. Somehow, the Suns kept up at 8-point lead despite getting worked on the boards by 5 at the midpoint of the second Q. That lead won't last if the Suns hot shooting (54% on threes, 51% overall).

And just as I write that, the Suns close the rebounding gap by just a bit and take a 12-point lead on some really nice drives by Bledsoe and shots by guys like Channing Frye.

By the 2:31 mark of the second, neither Curry nor Thompson had attempted a three-point field goal and the Warriors as a team had taken only 7. Their season averages for a half are 8 and 14, respectively.

The Suns had a 13-point lead, but then Curry scored 5 quick points and assisted on another, while Eric Bledsoe came up short on two bunnies in the lane. Bledsoe had played so hard that first half, holding Curry in check while putting up 11 and 5 with 2 steals of his own that, on that last play, hung his head before driving for the easy shot only to come up short. It's like Bledsoe's clock stopped a minute before the game clock did.

At the half, the Warriors were down only 6 in a game that shouldn't have been that close.

Marks:

  • Bledsoe with 11, 5 and 3 steals
  • Dragic with 11, 3 and 2 steals
  • Frye was on fire with 14 points on 5 shots from the field
  • Plumlee had 4 points and 6 rebounds against the bigger Bogut
  • Bogut and David Lee combined for 19 points, 17 rebounds in the half
  • Curry and Thompson only had 14 points and 7 assists between them

The second half didn't start the way the Suns wanted, with Frye missing a contested three while Thompson made a wide open one to cut the Suns lead to three.

But then the Suns dialed in again and built the lead back to 9 on typical Suns plays. A little helter skelter, but always fun to watch.

When the Warriors pulled it again to 4, Goran Dragic took over and made a nifty layup between Curry and Bogut, followed by a corner three. He followed the corner three by yelling something at the Warrior bench and pumping his fist. Lead back to 9.

The Warriors managed to crawl back into the game, though, on some inspired play by Stephen Curry, who had only scored 5 points in the game's first 13 minutes, but then poured in 14 over the next 10 to pull the Warriors within 1. The Warriors tied it a couple minutes later on Speights three before the Suns closed out the quarter with a free throw.

End of three: Suns by only 1.

Can the Suns hold off the Warriors in the fourth? It will take some strong defense against Curry, who enters the quarter with 21 points.

The Warriors came back to win earlier this year after being down by 27, so the second-quarter Suns lead of 13 seems quite small and turned out that way.

The Suns opened with an 8-2 run with Bledsoe running point, before "the play" happened. Bogut blocked himself on a drive to the rim, only to get a phantom foul call. That turned into a 4-point play after he made the first FT, but then David Lee grabbed the o--board and Klay Thompson banged a three.

The Suns could have folded there, but Marcus Morris scored on three straight possessions (two midrange shots, and a FT) to help the Suns keep the lead despite a sick three by Curry.

Steph Curry played the entire second half, while the Suns had the luxury of resting Dragic for half the fourth while they kept the lead.

With five minutes left, the Warriors were only down one thanks to six more offensive rebounds than the Suns (11-5). Curry and Thompson had put them team on their backs, combining for 30 second half points by the 4-minute mark.

Bledsoe made a big three, and then assisted Frye on a big one to pull the Suns lead out to 7 a minute later.

Both teams were terrible on free throws, the Warriors missing 10 and the Suns missing 11, but were much better one threes (Suns 13-27 vs. Warriors 10-21), through the three minute mark.

The game got loose after that. I mean literally, with a lot of loose balls, and the game got back to a one possession game in between a lot of turnovers for both sides.

Steph Curry hit a crazy three to cut it to two but then Bledsoe and Frye hit big shots to seal the deal.

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