Christmas has come and gone, but we are still in the midst of the holiday season. And what is the holiday season other than a time of giving (and receiving)?

The Suns under General Manager Ryan McDonough have been in an especially giving mood. Since he's taken over, the Suns have given away, in one form or another, 10 players from the 2012-13 roster. Some of these players were let go after their contracts expired, some of them were cut and some of them were traded.

How are these players doing? Well, most of them are doing pretty well.


McDonough's first big move was giving away Jared Dudley, a Suns fan-favorite who had done a lot for the team since arriving in the Valley, along with a second round pick. The Clippers got Dudley, who - along with J.J. Redick who they acquired from Milwaukee in the deal - was meant to upgrade the perimeter shooting of the team and provide all-important floor spacing.

However, things haven't gone quite as the Clippers had hoped. Redick has missed a lot of time with an injury, Dudley has been struggling with his shot and the Clippers are only up one game in the loss column on the upstart Suns.

Dudley is averaging 8.7 points on 43.9 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from 3-point land and 70.3 percent from the free-throw line on the season, and his numbers across the board have been about as low as they have been in his career. Even Dudley himself admitted how much he was struggling on Twitter.

I just have to apologize to all clipper fans by my play this season! I been playing like s****. It's been downright embarrassing!

— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) December 13, 2013

I will continue to stay in the gym and make the necessary adjustments.. I will play better, just going through a tough stretch.

— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) December 13, 2013

Well, to Dudley's credit, he has been true to his word. In the seven games since his apology, Dudley is averaging 11.1 points on 49.2 percent from the field, 42.4 percent from deep and 80 percent from the line with three rebounds and 1.1 steals per game and is sporting an 11-6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Dudley is a good player, and good players help teams win. Redick will get healthy, Dudley will continue to rediscover his shooting touch and the Clippers are going to be a playoff team. Despite the early returns, this was a good gift from the Suns to the Clippers.


McDonough had a last-second gift for the Washington Wizards as well, as he gave them a starting center in The Polish [insert noun here] Marcin Gortat.

The Wizards' shiny new toy has been huge for them this season. Gortat is averaging 12.8 points and 9.0 rebounds and is second only to John Wall on the team in on/off court differential. Even more importantly for an injury-wracked squad, Gortat is the only player on the team other than Wall who has played in all 25 games this year.

The Wizards wanted to make the playoffs this year, and to do that they knew they needed a center. McDonough was generous enough to help them out, and now the Wizards are sitting in the sixth spot in the (awful, awful) Eastern Conference.

McDonough also sent Kendall Marshall and Shannon Brown to the Warriors, but he had the foresight to send the receipts with in case the Wizards - who already had a full roster - wanted to return them. And return them they did, as both players were cut immediately after the deal went down. Brown has yet to find a team, but Kendall Marshall recently got picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers. He has appeared in two games for the Lakers and is putting up terrific numbers with 10.8 points, 0.0 assists and 14.4 turnovers per 36 minutes.


Luis Scola had a productive 2012-13 season for the Suns after the team picked him up off the amnesty waiver wire, but there really wasn't any reason for him to stick around for this season. So McDonough regifted him to a team that needed him more: the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers featured a strong starting five a year ago, but their bench was exposed in the playoffs. Scola, along with C.J. Watson, were brought in to give them a little more punch off the pine, and Scola has been terrific in that role.

Scola is averaging 8.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 18 minutes per game. In fact, per 36 he is posting nearly identical numbers as he did last year with the Suns. The difference is he's doing it much more efficiently, as he is shooting 53.3 percent from the field.

The Pacers have the best record in the Eastern conference at this point in the season, and Scola has been a big part of that. McDonough got them exactly what they wanted.

White Elephant Gifts

The remaining players weren't nearly as expensive or significant. In fact, they were more gag gifts than anything. However, some of them actually worked out.

Hamed Haddadi was given away to some basketball team not in the NBA. Diante Garrett was given away and later picked up by the Utah Jazz, where he has been pretty much the same player as he was with the Suns (capable of putting up some points and assists but struggling to make shots. After a year with the Phoenix training staff to revitalize his career, Jermaine O'Neal was given away to a team poised to make a playoff run in the Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately for them, Phoenix didn't send Aaron Nelson along with him and he's been hurt most of the year.

Wesley Johnson was picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers after the Suns let him go. He's still doing Wesley Johnson things, but he's at least been doing them a little bit better. Finally, Ryan McDonough gave himself, the organization and the entire fan base a present by cutting Michael Beasley, Surprisingly, Beasley has been a fairly useful player for the Heat this season.

Not Just a Giver

Ryan McDonough has been awfully generous this season, and good things come to those that do good by others. Fr everything he's given, he's gotten something of equal or greater value back. Eric Bledsoe, Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green and a couple draft picks turned out to be a pretty nice haul, and it's paying off in a big way for the Suns.

Ryan McDonough has showed a great propensity for working out trades that benefit everyone involved, and that bodes well for the future as the Suns continue to get better and better.

Merry Christmas every one. The holiday season truly is one of the best times of the year.

The Phoenix Suns have added another nationally-televised game to their schedule, according to multiple media outlets. On top of the single ESPN-televised game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb....

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The Suns are in the midst of a three game win streak, and are well rested after a three day break over the Christmas holiday. Will the Suns have what it takes to win against the Warriors on the road tonight?

What: Phoenix Suns At Golden State Warriors

Where: Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA

When: 8:30 p.m. (AZ)

Watch: FSAZ (Locally) , NBA League Pass

The Phoenix Suns (17-10) are in the midst of a three-game winning streak, and also three full days of rest after dismantling the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night . Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors (17-13) are coming off an impressive. hard-fought win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas night.

Both the Suns and the Warriors are teams competing for the playoffs, and one could make an argument for either team that they boast the best back court tandem in the NBA. In their last meeting on December 15th, the Suns got the better of the Warriors, winning 106-102 . However, that was a home game for Phoenix, and it was also playing a Warriors' team who was missing one of their best players, Andre Iguodala, who will be active tonight.



FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Eric Bledsoe 21 34.2 6.6 13.3 49.5 1.3 3.6 36.0 4.5 5.6 80.3 0.5 4.0 4.5 6.3 3.4 1.5 0.3 2.4 18.9
Goran Dragic 24 35.0 6.4 13.3 48.0 1.2 3.5 33.7 4.5 5.7 79.4 0.7 2.3 3.0 6.0 2.5 1.1 0.3 2.3 18.4
Gerald Green 27 26.6 4.6 10.3 44.1 2.6 6.6 39.0 1.6 2.0 81.1 0.4 2.4 2.8 1.4 1.7 0.6 0.6 2.8 13.3
Markieff Morris 26 25.8 4.7 9.5 49.4 0.3 0.9 34.8 3.0 3.9 77.5 1.8 4.2 6.1 1.7 1.8 1.0 0.5 2.4 12.7
Channing Frye 27 27.0 4.2 9.0 46.5 2.0 4.7 42.1 0.8 1.0 80.8 0.9 4.5 5.4 0.9 1.1 0.9 0.8 3.1 11.1
Marcus Morris 27 23.0 4.0 8.4 46.9 1.5 3.4 45.1 1.5 2.0 77.4 1.0 3.6 4.6 1.0 1.2 0.9 0.3 2.1 11.0
Miles Plumlee 27 28.2 4.4 8.5 51.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 2.3 44.3 2.8 6.3 9.1 0.6 1.4 0.6 1.8 2.7 9.7
P.J. Tucker 27 30.6 3.1 7.7 40.7 1.1 2.5 46.3 1.5 2.1 71.4 2.0 3.2 5.3 1.7 1.4 1.3 0.3 2.4 8.9
Archie Goodwin 26 10.9 1.5 3.6 41.5 0.1 1.0 12.0 0.5 0.7 63.2 0.3 1.4 1.7 0.3 1.0 0.4 0.3 0.8 3.6
Ish Smith 16 10.5 1.1 3.3 32.7 0.1 0.6 11.1 0.2 0.2 100.0 0.2 1.0 1.2 1.8 0.9 0.7 0.2 0.7 2.4
Dionte Christmas 15 6.7 0.7 1.9 37.9 0.3 0.9 28.6 0.2 0.3 75.0 0.3 0.9 1.1 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.6 1.9
Alex Len 4 7.8 0.8 1.8 42.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.5 50.0 1.3 0.5 1.8 0.3 0.8 0.5 0.5 2.0 1.8
Viacheslav Kravtsov 12 2.8 0.3 0.5 50.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.3 50.0 0.4 0.3 0.8 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.7


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Stephen Curry 27 37.3 8.1 18.1 45.0 3.3 7.9 41.6 4.0 4.5 87.7 0.6 3.7 4.2 9.3 3.9 1.9 0.3 2.7 23.6
Klay Thompson 30 38.2 7.3 16.2 44.9 3.0 7.2 41.9 2.0 2.7 76.2 0.6 2.7 3.3 2.7 2.1 1.0 0.5 3.2 19.6
David Lee 30 34.3 7.2 14.5 49.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.0 4.9 82.2 2.9 7.1 10.0 2.0 2.4 0.6 0.3 2.8 18.3
Harrison Barnes 26 32.1 4.7 10.6 44.4 0.9 2.3 40.0 1.9 2.7 69.0 0.6 3.4 4.0 1.7 1.5 1.0 0.2 2.2 12.2
Andre Iguodala 18 34.4 4.1 7.7 52.5 1.6 3.4 45.9 1.4 2.5 57.8 0.7 3.3 4.0 5.2 2.4 1.7 0.3 1.9 11.1
Andrew Bogut 29 28.0 3.6 5.9 60.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 1.5 39.5 2.9 7.8 10.7 1.6 1.7 0.8 1.8 3.1 7.8
Jermaine O`Neal 17 18.6 2.2 4.6 48.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.8 2.4 75.0 1.4 3.2 4.5 0.3 1.4 0.5 0.8 2.4 6.2
Marreese Speights 30 11.5 2.0 5.1 38.6 0.1 0.4 30.8 1.0 1.3 79.5 1.3 2.0 3.3 0.4 0.7 0.1 0.3 1.6 5.1
Draymond Green 30 19.8 1.7 4.4 38.9 0.8 2.2 36.9 0.6 1.1 52.9 0.7 3.4 4.1 1.5 1.2 0.9 0.7 2.4 4.8
Toney Douglas 16 11.8 1.5 3.9 38.1 1.1 2.7 39.5 0.2 0.3 75.0 0.3 1.0 1.3 0.9 0.8 0.3 0.1 1.6 4.3
Kent Bazemore 25 6.3 0.8 2.1 39.6 0.3 0.8 35.0 0.5 0.9 54.5 0.1 0.9 1.0 0.4 0.7 0.2 0.1 1.2 2.4
Nemanja Nedovic 20 6.4 0.4 1.6 21.9 0.1 0.8 13.3 0.3 0.3 83.3 0.1 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.0 0.1 0.7 1.1
Ognjen Kuzmic 10 4.0 0.2 0.7 28.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.3 33.3 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.0 0.8 0.0 0.4 1.1 0.5
Hilton Armstrong 6 3.3 0.2 0.3 50.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.0 0.8 1.2 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.3


Bledsoe (18.9)
Curry (23.6)
Plumlee (9.1)
Bogut (10.7)
Bledsoe (6.3)
Curry (9.3)
Plumlee (1.8)
Bogut (1.8)
Bledsoe (1.5)
Curry (1.9)

Team Stats:

17-10 (2nd in Division)
17-13, 3rd in Division)
103.8 (7th)
102.6 (11th)
100.4 (17th)
99.2 (10th)
108.9 (5th)
105.2 (14th)
105.4 (17th)
101.7 (6th)

Probable Starting Line-Ups:


G - Eric Bledsoe

G - Goran Dragic

F - P.J. Tucker

F - Channing Frye

C - Miles Plumlee


G - Stephan Curry

G - Klay Thompson

F - Andre Iguodala

F - David Lee

C - Andrew Bogut



Alex Len - Out (sore ankle)


Festus Ezeli - Out (knee)

Ognjen Kuzmic - Out (hand)

Jermaine O'Neal - Out (wrist)

Jordan Hamilton - One game suspension

Keys to the Game:

  • Slash Bros. Vs. Splash Bros: Bledsoe and Dragic are averaging 37 points per game, and are the only two guards, besides Dwayne Wade, who are averaging over 18 points per game while shooting over 48% from the field. Meanwhile, the Splash Bros are averaging 43.8 points per game combined, and are ranked one (Thompson) and two (Curry) overall in the league for number of three point shots taken...and they are both ranked in the top 12 in percentage made as well. The Slash Bros. may or may not win the scoring match-up tonight, but their defense along with their combined assists, rebounds, and steals will all be just as, if not more important in deciding which team comes out on top.
  • Getting Iggy With It: The last time the Suns won, they faced a Warriors team without Iguodala. This time, they will not be as fortunate. Iguodala has been a do it all player for the Warriors this season, averaging 11.1 points, 5.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. Iggy is also shooting very efficiently from the field at 52.5% overall, and 45.9% from three. Tucker will have his hands full with Andre tonight, and if he can minimize his overall impact, it will be a huge boost for the Suns.
  • Box Out! The Suns are facing the #1 rebounding team in the league tonight, thanks in great part to Bogut who is averaging 10.7 rebounds per game, and David Lee who is averaging 10.0. The Suns, on the other hand, are the 19th best rebounding team in the league, and it will take more than just Plumlee to keep the Warriors off the glass. Channing Frye will have his work cut out for him tonight against Lee, and the Suns as a whole will need to incorporate a serious "rebounding by committee" attitude tonight if they are going to be successful in mitigating this area of weakness.
Time: 8:30 p.m. MST TV: FSA The Phoenix Suns return from the Christmas break as one of the hotter teams in the league and winning eight of their last ten games, including a 106-102 win over these...

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A look at Suns-related news floating around the internet from the last week. Also an open thread to discuss anything and everything.

In the final Solar Flares of 2013, let's take a look back at a week that saw the Phoenix Suns winning three games against Western Conference opponents.

After a well-fought but disappointing home loss to the Spurs on Dec. 18, the Suns bounced back with an impressive come-from-behind road victory against the Denver Nuggets. Phoenix followed that with an offensive outburst against the Mavericks at home the very next night, and capped off a strong week with an absolute drubbing of a depleted Lakers team on Monday.

Overall, this was one of the best weeks of the season for the Suns, featuring strong performances from a plethora of players and three impressive victories of different kinds. Happy holidays, indeed!

The Suns face a tough road test against the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night. Phoenix was able to beat this team at home earlier this month, but Oracle Arena in Oakland is not an easy place to play for a visiting team. Fortunately, I'll be at the game and my support will obviously guide them to a win. I've been told that I'm the master of starting "VIACHESLAV KRAVTSOV" chants.

Let's now take a look at some random Suns-related content that floated around various parts of the internet this last week.

Power Rankings

CBS Sports (Dec. 23) - #7:

They are so consistent and fundamentally sound. Steve Clifford, Terry Stotts, both great choices but my pick for Coach of the Year early on, Non-Pop Division? Jeff Hornacek.

Sports Illustrated (Dec. 23) - #6:

(awarding Christmas gifts to each team) A camera. To capture this moment right now. With a roster in flux, a first-year head coach calling the shots and a team that traded its starting center a day before the start of the season, the Suns are currently playoff-bound and the talk of the league.

ESPN (Dec. 23) - #7:

Can you really win in the NBA by riding two great guards and surrounding them with young, exuberant, athletic role players whose shooting won't seem to cool off? Can you believe we've been asking this question for almost 30 games? Hornacek & Co. keep winning with that exact mix.

USA Today (Dec. 22) - #7:

The strangest thing about their success is that it actually is starting to make sense.

NBC Sports (Dec. 23) - #7

The Goran Dragic/Eric Bledsoe pairing is driving the offense most nights, but when Gerald Green gets rolling like he did against the Mavericks over the weekend (and the Suns are draining threes) they are especially dangerous.

Fox Sports (Dec. 24) - #8

The Suns are on pace to win 50 games this season, which would be double their wins last season and far more than people expected out of the team that was supposed to finish in the West’s cellar. This pace is a gift, but the real treasure would be keeping it.

That's a composite power ranking of #7. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2013-14 Phoenix Suns are currently about the 7th best team in the NBA. Raise your hand if you called this before the season began. Now put down your hand and go buy a lottery ticket.

Preposterously Premature Playoff Picture


The Suns are 8-2 in their last 10 games and are currently the 6th seed - if the playoffs were to begin today, they'd face a historically unfamiliar postseason opponent in the 3rd-seeded Spurs.

Links of the Week

Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a piece on the Suns' surprising success this year, including some great quotes from owner Robert Sarver on a change in philosophy.

Meanwhile, USA Today's Sam Amick also wrote about Phoenix's success, focusing on the back-court duo of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe and how it all came together.

Videos of the Week

Miles Plumlee's powerful alley-oop slam off Eric Bledsoe's lob:

Plumlee's monster block on Jodie Meeks:

"DragonBlade" highlights from the first two months of the season:

Dionte Christmas, Ish Smith, Alex Len & Archie Goodwin spread the holiday spirit. If you've ever wanted to see Archie Goodwin do the dougie in a Santa costume (and let's be honest - who hasn't?), you must watch this:

Tweets of the Week

Jeff Hornacek is an instant top 5 coach interview for me. He was phenomenal. Such cool ideas in such a laid back approach.

— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) December 20, 2013

Hornacek has been taking shot clock down to 13 seconds in practice to reinforce running offense. @Suns

— Matt Petersen (@TheMattPetersen) December 24, 2013

I love how the Suns organization, from the top down, refuses to feed the narrative about Dragic + Bledsoe being great together as a surprise

— charlie widdoes (@charliewiddoes) December 24, 2013

Top 3 most efficient ISO players in the NBA according to Synergy (min. 50 possessions): 1. Eric Bledsoe 2. Kemba Walker 3. Damian Lillard

— Lucas Shapiro (@lucashapiro) December 24, 2013

RT @JonesOnTheNBA: @JaredDudley619 man, how did you deal with @AminESPN? ( once lance got there he wasn't aloud to talk! Lol)

— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) December 23, 2013

Bright Sider of the Week

In the spirit of holiday kindness, we have a three-way tie for this week's Bright Sider award - pece, haremoor, and Mike Lisboa (our first two-time winner) all take home the (non-existant) trophy for their awesome respective contributions in the past week:

1. pece: for translating a fantastic recent interview Goran Dragic had with Slovenian magazine. pece does a phenomenal job of consistently sharing things that the rest of us Bright Siders wouldn't find otherwise. Thank you, pece!

2. haremoor: resident optimist delivered an awesome holiday poem on the night before Christmas...aptly titled, "Twas the Night Before (Dionte) Christmas..." Thank you, haremoor!

3. Mike Lisboa: Mike also spread the Christmas spirit by leaving a gift under the Bright Side Christmas tree in the form of his own Suns-styled "Night Before Christmas" poem. And it was fantastic. Thank you, Mike!


Any other news you'd like to share? Any suggestions for what else you'd like me to do/include in these weekly segments (I'm open to anything!)? As always, feel free to discuss below.

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