Recapping the week that was, reviewing the news & notes, taking a look at Suns history, updating the 2014 NBA Draft Watch, and previewing the week ahead... Welcome to the Center of the Sun.
This week Sreeker Jashti, formerly known as Richard Parker, got to write the headline "Love Conquers All" and it seemed like the beginning of the end of the Miracle Phoenix Suns (34-24) season. Then, Goran Dragic caused a scene at U.S. Airways Center that created a chant that the WWE would appreciate.
Dragic went from loveable reserve. not unlike the resent ascension of Daniel Bryan in the WWE, but instead of chants of "YES! YES! YES!" Dragic is earning local chants of "MVP! MVP!! MVP!!!"
The 40 points were great for Dragic individually and fueled a Suns win to end a two game losing streak. That is something that gets lost in the narrative of the season, Dragic as an MVP Candidate, and the Suns as a team overall. When a good team falls down on their luck typically they turn to their star, if they have one, and ride them to get back on track. When the Suns do that with Dragic it is a "nice moment and a career-high" for the former dynamic reserve getting to start here because Steve Nash left.
Although Dragic may not be LeBron James or Kevin Durant, he is one of the best guards in the game today having a career year. Not a career night every now and then. A career year.
Without Dragic playing at this level the Suns could easily be a lottery team. They would be the team everyone predicted and expected in the pre-season. Instead he has risen his game to an All-NBA Level which has also helped elevate Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe, and Channing Frye this year. He is impacting the game in every way and can take his game to the next level when need be.
That is a star player ladies and gentlemen.
Two losses to begin the week: 93.5 points per game.
Two wins to end the week: 122.5 points per game.
Nuff said... Cue the MVP Chants, please.
Quote of the Week
"It was great. I never imagined they would cheer that for me. I heard that when I was here with Steve and they were cheering that for Steve. It is a great feeling especially with those last four free throws when the whole crowd stood up and cheered. It is something special in my career that I will remember my whole life. Great memories." -- Dragic on the MVP Chants
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 (28-29) -- No. 13 Overall (Pick stays in Minnesota based on Protections) Kentucky Freshman Wing, James Young --
Washington Wizards (31-28) -- No. 18 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Arizona Freshman Wing, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson -- Adding a young athletic wing to the roster that can defend and has shown flashes of being a good scorer around the rim. RHJ has a lot of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, minus the broken jump-shot.
Phoenix Suns (35-24) -- No. 21 Overall (Pick stays in Phoenix based on Protections) Swiss Forward, Clint Capela -- Along theme of athleticism, the Swiss forward is built like Kevin Durant and has shown flashes of being a quality inside-out player on both ends of the floor.
Indiana Pacers (46-13) -- No. 30 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Michigan Sophomore Forward, Glenn Robinson III -- With two projects added in the draft already this is an opportunity to add a role player that can step in and play pretty much right away. GR3 has the potential to shoot the ball, rebound, and play both forward spots at the next level.
Keep following along here to get updates and information on the 2014 NBA Draft Class and more.
News & Notes
- Records: 79 first half points (NBA 2014 Season Record), 29 assists (Suns Season High), 129 points (Suns Season High), and 15 made three-pointers (Suns Season High, Tied)
- Goran Dragic sets another career-high with 40 points
- No update on Eric Bledsoe
Previewing the Week Ahead:
Tuesday, March 4th vs. Los Angeles Clippers (41-20)
Thursday, March 6th vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (45-15)
Sunday, March 9th @ Golden State Warriors (36-24)
Well, the Suns did the best they could against four teams under .500 with their star missing one game, but this week it is time to run the gauntlet.
Having said that the Suns are 3-2 on the season collectively against their future playoff foes.
Early in the season the Thunder gave the Suns their first loss of the season behind 54 points from the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. That duo will not be on the court together this time, but that is not something get excited for considering the way that Durant has been playing this season. Dragic is in the conversation as an MVP Candidate, but that conversation begins with Durant and goes on for a few hours before you get to The Dragon.
Having a night off before hosting both the Clippers and Thunder should allow the Suns to rest up and get ready. This week is going to be a challenge. If the Suns struggle and drop all three games or even go 1-2 they could watch the Memphis Grizzlies, four games against fringe .500 teams, pass them in the standings.
I see a 2-1 week from the Suns splitting the home games, somehow, and then knocking off the Warriors on the road.