The good news is that Eric Bledsoe is returning soon for the Phoenix Suns, barring setbacks. But should the Suns stop there? Why not sign Danny Granger for some playoff experience and offense off the bench?

The latest developments in the NBA have varying ties to the Suns.

Eric Bledsoe goes 3-on-3

All the details are on Coro's blog, but it appears that Bledsoe is making major progress toward a return to action in the next week or two as long as there are no setbacks.

"I didn't think I was going to be that fast or that quick coming back," Bledsoe said. "When I continue to progress, I think it's going to be a whole lot better."

His return would certainly boost the Suns play on both ends of the court, and it cannot come soon enough. Bledsoe would eat up all of Barbosa's minutes and most of Smith's, but he's a better players and proved that in November and December of this season when the Suns went 16-8 with him in the lineup.

Danny Granger

A report came out today the Danny Granger will be released/bought out by the Sixers after they acquired him for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen at the deadline. The Sixers never wanted Granger to play for them - they really only wanted to remove the specter of Evan Turner's qualifying offer and Lavoy Allen's contract from their books. No one really knows what the Sixers will do with the cap space this summer, but they have more of it now.

Danny Granger is a 30-year old 6'8" small forward who once made an All-Star game and averaged 25 points per game for the Pacers. He's contributed to a playoff team three times in his career, twice as a starter and once going into the second round.

But then his knee busted and he's never been the same since. By the time he returned, Paul George had become an MVP candidate and Lance Stephenson had become a nightly triple-double threat.

Granger is not the player he once was, as we recently saw in two wins over the Pacers last month. He is shooting just 36% from the field, 33% on three-pointers and contributing half the points-per-minute of his career apex.

Yet, he's talented and playoff-proven.

Should the Suns find room for Granger on a minimum deal? He would take minutes from P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green as well as Marcus Morris. Especially once Eric Bledsoe comes back.

A couple of national media think Granger would be good in Phoenix.


Matt Moore (the HP guy) has a closet love affair with the Suns, ranking them 5th in the NBA today for cbssports,com. Matt thinks Granger would be good in the Phoenix offense.

So does Marc Stein, another long-time softie for the Suns who ranked them #11 on his Power Rankings today.

Phoenix is an interesting option for a Granger buyout if you believe in the mystical powers of the Suns' athletic training stuff and what they might be able to do to get Granger's body right.

What say you, Suns fans?

Should the Suns add Granger even with Bledsoe coming back?

  1666 votes | Results

Take a look at my experience in New Orleans for All Star Weekend.

Bright Side of the Sun wants to thank the team at Crown Royal for a magnificent weekend in New Orleans for the 2014 All-Star Game. What a treat to be whiskeyed (we drank responsibly!) and dined like a VIP for the entire weekend.

Along the way, I met some great bloggers from around the country and even got a chance to meet a living legend: Dr. J himself, Mr. Julius Erving.


They put the tall people in the back (cover photo), so all you can see of me is my head above Dr. J's. But I didn't need to insist on a closer picture in the crowd since I got a selfie with the Dr. anyway.


Not as crystal clear as the the group photo, but proof enough for me!

Erving was a great host who shared some thoughts about today's NBA, how he got his nickname and what he thinks of advanced stats.

Erving also helped us learn something about whiskey, but I have to admit after a few glasses I didn't remember (and couldn't tell) the difference between one and another (though I think I'm partial to the XO).


To show what a good sport Dr. J is, take a look at this 2012 clip of him taking 'Three Ridiculous Questions' from Jimmy Kimmel.

Friday Night

On Friday, we were invited as VIP guests to Kenny Smith's TNT All-Star party. I saw several retired ball players there, including the ever-dapper Grant Hill. The party was being held at the Metropolitan, a trendy bar in NOLA.




As the old guy in the group, I didn't make it as late as most did. This place was hopping!

Saturday Night

As great as Friday was, Saturday was even better. I'll cover basketball later in this post, but for now let's stick with the party theme. Saturday was the early Dr. J. meeting, then a multi-course dinner with various Crown Royal cocktails, then back to the Metropolitan for comedian Kevin Hart's All-Star party. This time, I stayed out with everyone till nearly 4am (and paid for it on Sunday).



That's me on the right, along with three other SB Nation bloggers: Nate Timmons, Denver Stiffs; Tom Lorenzo, Nets Daily, and Rebecca Larson, Mavs Money Ball. Another SB Nation blogger who joined us but is not shown here is Jason Walker, PeachTree Hoops. (Jason is in the sport jacket and red shirt in the first Dr. J group photo above).

I had a great time with these fine folks drinking cocktails on the house all weekend. As you can tell, we were the envy of the whole bar.

Here's everyone at the bar mobbing Kevin Hart as he came in. Needless to say, we didn't get any close-ups with Kevin. Img_0847_medium
Sorry. That's the best I could do, folks. I believe that's him with his back to the camera against the far wall. LOL. It was a crush of humanity and too much tight leopard-skin for my taste. I realized at this point (well, much earlier I guess) I might not be Kevin Hart's target audience, at least at All-Star parties.

NBA Jam Session

Now let's get back to basketball.

Between all the parties, I was able to partake a bit in the basketball side of All-Star weekend with a media pass to the NBA Jam Fest, which lots of games and interactive activities for kids (and kids at heart) but also included the D-League skills competitions and All-Star game.



We got to see some of the best D-League players doing All-Star things:


Was good to see a couple of guys who tried out for the Suns in recent seasons - hope they get their shot soon enough. Onuaku just signed a 10-day deal with Cleveland this week. Supposedly, the Knicks are looking at signing Diogu this week as well.

Pierre Jackson was the marquee player at the event, scoring 33 points along with 10 assists, but has not gotten a call-up to the NBA and recently signed a deal overseas.

Sunday's All-Star Game

The basketball highlight of the weekend, besides meeting Dr. J., was the All-Star game.



The pregame show, with Farrell and his all-star band of 40 year old rappers, was a rocking experience. Seemed like it was a concert where a basketball game broke out during intermissions.


Sure, it's a total showcase where no one plays team ball and it's all about the biggest star-power plays, but I have to say the ASG was fun to see live - especially with the great NBA bloggers around me to enjoy it with.

I won't soon forget Jason Walker (Hawks blog, Peachtree Hoops) bringing up every possible connection to "The ATL" during the game, and throughout the weekend for that matter. He reminded Dr. J. on Saturday about the Doctor's short experience with the Atlanta Hawks. Erving laughed and said they should catch up sometime later to discuss in detail. I had no idea what Jason was talking about, so googled this. LOL. Dr. J. and Zelmo Beatty had a lot more in common than I ever guessed.

Suns connection

Anyway, it was a fun time despite not being able to see the Suns' very own Goran Dragic at all over the weekend. Being out with Crown Royal, we didn't get to attend the Skills Challenge, but I didn't end up missing much anyway.

"I didn't like [the format]," Dragic said afterward, with a laugh. "If you're doing well but somebody else is not doing well you're kind of screwed."

He wouldn't name who was not doing well, but didn't ascribe to the notion floated on twitter that his partner Jackson didn't even realize is was a team event. He said they talked beforehand about it.

The big thing was that, like me, Dragic spent a great deal of his weekend time away from the basketball court. Miles Plumlee had a similar experience to Goran in that his basketball portion was very brief while the media and community service schedule was heavy.

"In the off days, it was a lot of work," Dragic said afterward of his experience in town for the Skills Challenge. "Media, meeting new people, building benches for NBA Cares. It was fun, but I didn't have that much of a break."

Goran had planned to bring Maya and Mateo, but once Maya saw the schedule she said no way.

Wrap up

I am really grateful to the Crown Royal team for hosting me and the other bloggers this weekend the first ever Crown’s Center Court influencer program comprised of NBA specific team writers from across the nation.

The Crown team isn't done yet!

Coming soon are giveaways to you guys, including gift cards and other quality prizes. Stay tuned for those giveaways in March and April.

For Crown Royal, to Reign On is to win, and we want you to Reign On responsibly this NBA season.


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PHOENIX — Eric Bledsoe has been making strides toward returning to the court in recent weeks and on Monday it became a reality. The 6-foot-1 guard played a 3-on-3 game at practice in his first...

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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.

There is not much more you can ask for coming out of the All-Star Break for a team than going 3-1 and playing at a high level. The Phoenix Suns (33-22) are playing very well and going into this week have a chance to catch-up with a few of the contenders that are currently in front of them. More on that later in the preview at the bottom.

Game Recaps

@ Denver Nuggets - W (OT 112-107) Full Recap

vs. Boston Celtics - W (100-94) Full Recap

vs. San Antonio Spurs - W (106-85) Full Recap

vs. Houston Rockets - L (108-110) Full Recap

One thing that defines a good team is how they play against the teams that are currently below them or in the lottery picture. This week the Suns dumped two clear lottery teams and split against two contenders that are ahead of them.

The Suns took care of the Nuggets and then the Celtics before dismantling the short-handed Spurs at home.

It was impressive how the Suns did not play too relaxed against the bottom teams and even more impressive how they did not take their boot off the Spurs that were visibly not the Spurs we are used to seeing. So often teams let off the gas and let short-handed or bad teams back in the game giving them false confidence that they can win. A mark of a truly good team is not doing that.

Gerald Green was a monster this past week with a 36 point outburst against the Nuggets while averaging 22.3 points per game (2.5 threes a night) and 5.0 per rebounds per game.

With Eric Bledsoe potentially returning in the near future having a confident Green shooting and scoring could be the difference between an average Suns playoff team or dangerous team that no contender would want to see in any round of the playoffs.

Key Stat

35 Points

Last night, for the third time in 46 calendar days Goran Dragic has netted a new career-high in points scored in a single game. This season Dragic has taken his game to the next level as a scorer, leader, and overall offensive player and the Suns have benefited from his evolution. For most of his career Dragic has been a reserve or a role player. Even looking at his Per36 numbers in previous years they have always been in the neighborhood of 15-16 points and 5-7 assists per game on roughly 45% shooting. This year he is "the man" for lack of a better of term and playing like a Top 5 point guard in the entire NBA this year. The evolution will continue as Dragic has always been a better second half player in games and in seasons. Buckle up.

Quote of the Week

"We thought that if we played hard, you never know how you are going to get a team, they have been on the road for a long time, they were probably itching to get back home and they had an off night and we had a decent night. We will take it." - Coach Jeff Hornacek after defeating the Spurs

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 (27-29) -- No. 13 Overall (Pick stays in Minnesota based on Protections) Wayne Selden, Freshman Guard, Kansas

Washington Wizards (28-28) -- No. 18 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Chris Walker, Freshman Forward, Florida -- While he has not played a lot this season, Walker is an ideal NBA forward with his athleticism, length, and versatility on both ends of the court. He might come back for a second year to boost his stock, but either way Walker is a special talent.

Phoenix Suns (33-22) -- No. 22 Overall (Pick stays in Phoenix based on Protections) Mario Hezonja, Guard Croatia -- Going International for a "draft-and-stash" makes sense here with the Suns roster full of young, developing talent already. Hezonja might need a year for strength and conditioning for the NBA, but again he is the type of athlete and shooter McDonough appreciates.

Indiana Pacers (42-13) -- No. 30 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Clint Capela, Forward Switzerland -- One of the best athletes and frames not playing in college right now comes from the France Pro A League and is rising fast up draft boards. He might not be on the board this late come draft night. This is another "draft-and-stash" potential athlete.

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

News & Notes

  • There were no trades made by the Phoenix Suns at the Trade Deadline
  • Conversations around Evan Turner happened per Paul Coro, but the players on the Suns roster were not as available as the media made them out to be
  • Eric Bledsoe is believed to be 1-2 weeks out from making his return

Previewing the Week Ahead:

Tuesday, February 25th vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (27-29)

Wednesday, February 26th @ Utah Jazz (19-36)

Friday, February 28th vs. New Orleans Pelicans (23-32)

Sunday, March 2nd vs. Atlanta Hawks (26-29)

What an opportunity this week. Last week the Suns took advantage of two lottery dwelling teams while splitting with two legitimate contenders. This week they face four teams that are a combined 31 games under .500 and for the most part are all struggling at this point in the season.

The T-Wolves have actually won three out of their last four after dropping six of seven before that. They have turned the corner behind Kevin Love's strong play, but even Love was not enough as the Suns topped them in Minnesota in early January this year. In that game Channing Frye and Miles Plumlee frustrated Love into a 4-20 shooting night which was the worst of his career.

So far the Suns are 4-1 against the Pelicans and Jazz combined this year and have not faced the Hawks who have been struggling since Al Horford went down.

The three teams are 8-22 combined in their last 10 games each all moving in a downward spiral towards the lottery. Trey Burke and Ryan Anderson gave their teams hope when they came back from injury, but, for the Jazz, overall talent is lacking and the Pelicans cannot seem to defend with their best five players on the floor.

It may be a bit arrogant of me, but I am seeing W's this week and a 4-0 week with the toughest game coming at Utah on a back-to-back.

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