Time to recap the week that was with quotes, stats, a 2014 NBA Draft Update, a preview of the week ahead, and much more as we get to the Center of the Sun...
Over the past few weeks I have been on a bit of a hiatus from attending the live events and on here with you Bright Siders. I apologize for that and will be back on track soon. Like the Phoenix Suns (26-18) getting back on track with a signature win and playing pretty well sans Eric Bledsoe for now.
@ Philadelphia 76ers - W (124-113) Full Recap
The Suns deserve a lot of credit for the way they played last week going 2-1 in a week that could have easily been the start of a decline from their current playoff position. The Pacers are a top tier team and the Wizards are formidable as we all found out.
Even the Cavaliers have 2-3 All-Star caliber players with quality talent around them.
Since dropping three games in a row on the road the team is 4-2 with impressive wins over the Pacers and Nuggets. Coach Jeff Hornacek is getting the best out of this bunch despite being short-handed minus Bledsoe. Now that the team has figured out the style and rotation for the most part they are a tough match-up for any team, because they are unpredictable.
That is a double-edged sword though for the team.
It is good because opponents do not know what to expect outside of the fast pace style and tempo. Teams are knocked back on their heels and the Suns have the potential to push them completely over throughout a game as we have seen. Then again it is a curse because on any given night Coach Hornacek does not know which team is going to show up. Such an odd dynamic that, to this point, has worked for the Suns over the past six games.
Against the Pacers everything went right and it was the biggest win of the season to date for the Suns. This team has so many barometers that saying that three point shooting is "the" barometer is unfair, because it is not. Energy, rebounding, the Morri performance, and other factors play into this teams success. The three point shooting has to be near or at the top of the list though. One game they can go 11-16 and then the next 7-22 and shoot themselves right out of a game. Overall the team is different, more efficient, and better when they shoot under 20 threes a night and close (or over) 40% collectively.
When they don't... Bad things happen.
Quote of the Week
I thought they played hard, we made eleven threes - which we needed to make shots against this team, but we only took 16. It wasn't like we were just jacking them up, we took good shots. Against a good team you have to take the good shots, you can't take any crazy ones. They played for all 48 minutes." -- Coach Hornacek after the Indiana win.
2014 NBA Draft Update
Surrogate Watch continues and the Suns have three 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:
Minnesota Timberwolves (21-22) -- No. 12 Overall (Pick stays in Minnesota based on Protections) James Young, Freshman Wing Kentucky - Sharp shooter that will help the Wolves spread the floor between Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.
Washington Wizards (21-22) -- No. 17 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Dario Saric, Forward Croatia - I feel like we have discussed Saric for a while on here and he is still tall, versatile, and a very talented prospect.
Phoenix Suns (25-18) -- No. 22 Overall (Pick stays in Phoenix based on Protections) Jabari Bird, Freshman Wing California - Athletic, two-way wing, that is just scratching the surface of his abilities as a freshman at Cal right now.
Indiana Pacers (34-9) -- No. 30 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Jordan Clarkson, Junior Point Guard Missouri - The Suns have done a great job with athletic point guards in this system and the potential loss of of Eric Bledsoe (and Ish Smith) adding a talent like Clarkson can fill the void.
Keep following along here to get updates and information on the 2014 NBA Draft Class and more.
News & Notes
- Leandro Barbosa was signed for the rest of the season this week
- Archie Goodwin scored 32 points (15/18 free-throws) and 27 points in two games with the Bakersfield Jam, both losses
Suns History Lesson
This week in Suns History: January 27th, 1998 -- Hot Rod Williams fouled out in the first half against the Charlotte Hornets.
This week in Suns History: January 27th, 1989 -- Kevin Johnson started Suns record streak of 57 consecutive made free-throws that lasted until February 9th of that year.
Previewing the Week Ahead:
Monday, January 27th @ Philadelphia 76ers (14-30)
Wednesday, January 29th @ Milwaukee Bucks (8-35)
Thursday, January 30th @ Indiana Pacers (34-9)
Saturday, February 1st vs. Charlotte Bobcats (19-27)
Back on the road again, but with some very winnable games this week for the Suns who are keeping pace, surprisingly, with the middle of the Western Conference standings. So far this year the Suns are 4-0 against the teams they are playing this week with the most impressive win coming against the Indiana Pacers last week. The Bucks have lost 11/12, the 76ers 9/11, and the Bobcats 7/11 as the Suns have to be like a shark that smells blood with these teams.
How about a 3-1 week and a 28-19 record?