There are more pluses in the win column for the team this year and even with a sub-.500 week their were some positives, a similar resilience, and a quality rebound to a four game losing streak...
The Phoenix Suns (7-7) are simply maintaining. They lost two games they probably should have won, then won two games they normally would have lost, and then had the hammer dropped down on them by the Basketball King himself to close out a long week of hoops.
@ Sacramento Kings - L (107-104) Full Recap
vs. Sacramento - L (113-106) Full Recap
@ Charlotte Bobcats - W (98-91) Full Recap
@ Orlando Magic - W (104-96) Full Recap
@ Miami Heat - L (107-92) Full Recap
This week the Suns took a step back doing the things that made them tough early in the season, while continuing to highlight their weaknesses. On the week they were a collective -10 in rebounding and -3 in total team assists. Team basketball on both ends is what made them tough. Some nights it was Miles Plumlee dominating, others it was Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, or someone else. They play as a team.
When they do not play as a team the turnovers pile up, which happened this week with a -9 total differential.
One good thing that came out of this week was that the team is slowly finding out that Greens are better served as a starter rather than a reserve.
The team is 5-4 with Green in the starting line-up -- 3-1 with Bledsoe and 2-3 with Dragic, but overall better. On the season they are 2-3 with him coming off the bench and the numbers do not lie.
Clearly Dragic has earned his starting spot and the Suns did not acquire Bledsoe to play him in the same role as he had on the Clippers. Those two are investments that have to start, but where does Green fit in? P.J. Tucker is thriving in his role and is making shots, spreading the floor, and doing all the little things for the team.
When Bledsoe comes back the team will have an abundance of perimeter players when you consider the recent play of rookie Archie Goodwin. Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season; The Suns have too many quality perimeter players?
Miles Plumlee's +/-
This week was a step back for the surprise of the year for the Suns, Miles Plumlee. He was not effective against Kings star DeMarcus Cousins netting a -30 in the home-and-home with them for 46 points 24 rebounds and 30 total free-throw attempts. In the two wins he was ineffective as well at a collective 0 on the plus/minus playing Nikola Vucevic and Al Jefferson to near dead heat. Against the actual Heat he was a -7 playing out of his element with big men that stepped out on the perimeter taking away his ability to block shots and rebound the ball.
Plumlee has had a great start to the season, but this week a collective -37 in five games was by far his toughest outing to date.
Quote of the Week
I thought earlier in the season Miles said it great. He played 50 minutes last year and he goes, 'I wasn't just sitting over there watching the games, I was watching the game and trying to study it.' Hopefully Archie, Alex and the rest of these young guys are doing that. Even for veteran guys, when you are on the bench it is a time to watch what is going on and pick something up for later in the game. Maybe Cousins did that. Maybe from watching the game the game from the bench he saw Goran coming off of pick-and-rolls and thought late in the game I can jump him and surprise him. I don't know if he did that or not... but if you are going to be on the bench you are not just there trying to watch the game. -- Coach Jeff Hornacek on learning from watching on the bench
2014 NBA Draft Update
Surrogate Watch continues and the Suns are still without a lottery pick and with the current projections they do not own four picks yet. It was a pipe-dream to begin the season, but still something to root for. Here is the update on how the three picks look right now:
Washington Wizards (5-8) -- No. 9 Overall (Pick stays in Washington based on Protections) Right now the No. 9 Overall prospect on the NDI Big Board is James Young of Kentucky. Dynamic scorer on the perimeter, smooth lefty, and really good shooter.
Minnesota Timberwolves (8-8) -- No. 12 Overall (Pick stays in Minnesota based on Protections) The T-Wolves have fallen off as of late keeping this pick in the Twin Cities. Right now the No. 12 Overall prospect is Dario Saric, Croatian point-forward. Saric has been on the radar for a while and should make the jump to the NBA Draft this summer.
Suns (7-7) -- No. 14 Overall (Pick stays in Phoenix based on Protections) ...more on Saric here because this is where I have him falling in the Mock Draft. Montrezl Harrell is an option here as well, but the skill and potential of Saric as a play-maker is too much to pass on at this point in a draft.
Indiana Pacers (13-1) -- No. 30 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) The team can take a hard swing here and add a need. Some options that could be on the radar here are Aaron Harrison, Mitch McGary, or the player slotted in the Mock Draft, Michigan guard Nik Stauskas.
News & Notes
Eric Bledsoe continued his run on the inactive list which now sits at five games after missing all five games last week. The team was 2-3 in his absence and competitive, but the Suns ascension coincided with the play with of Bledsoe. He could return to action as soon as this Wednesday at home versus the streaking Blazers.
Suns History Lesson
This week (December 1st to be exact) the 1992-1993 Suns began a 14 game winning streak that propelled them to the best record, not only in the Western Conference, but in the NBA. During that winning streak the Suns knocked off multiple playoff teams and scored 103+ points in every game. That was the Suns longest winning streak in franchise history until the Seven Seconds or Less group won 17 in a row roughly 13 years later.
Previewing the Week Ahead:
Wednesday, November 27th vs. Portland Trail Blazers (13-2)
Friday, November 29th @ Utah Jazz (2-14)
Saturday, November 30th vs. Utah (2-14)
This week lines up like the inverse of last week with a team at the top of the standings to start the week and a bottom tier team in a home-and-home to end the week. This could be a redeeming week for the team. They are 1-1 on the season against the Trail Blazers (1-0 at home) and played them down to the final buzzer on the road. LaMarcus Aldridge does not seem to play well against the Suns shooting about 4% off his career average, scoring about 2 less points a game, and grabbing about a 1.5 less rebounds.
The Jazz have been slowly circling the drain all season, but with Trey Burke recently added into the mix this team might start looking like a team soon... 1-1 with Burke as a starter and 1-11 without him in general.
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