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2 months ago: PHOENIX - MAY 03: Leandro Barbosa #10 of the Phoenix Suns puts up a shot against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 3, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Spurs 111-102 to take a 1-0 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
These are exciting times on Planet Orange. Exciting, surprising, and mysterious, overwhelming and confusing times. You gotta admit, Robert Sarver can keep his mouth shut and his cards close to his vest. And he's got a pair of stones on him. Who would have thought: Hedo, Childress, Babby? And he traded one of the most devoted, loved Suns in recent memory.
Ask yourself, on a purely emotional, personal, non basketball level, are you more upset about Amare leaving or Leandro being traded?
They're both gone, however losing Leandro is a little different than losing Amare. Leandro had zero ego. Amare liked himself just fine. Leandro always left it out on the court although the traits that made him successful: his speed and aggressiveness sometimes got him in trouble. Amare often got caught watching the game, at times, even looking disinterested.
Leandro was great in the 7SOL Suns. He could catch fire and turn a game around. In '06-'07 Barbosa averaged 33 minutes a game and put up 18 a contest while shooting 47% from the field and 43% from behind the arc. That year he won the NBA 6th Man of the Year Award. Great times. He symbolized the whole speed mantra that Mike D'Antoni preached. The Brazilian Blur was one of the fastest in the game, a great finisher, a consistent threat from 3. He helped solidify a shaky bench and short rotation. He was so special he had his own personal coach and mentor, Dan D'Antoni, who happened to be the head coach's brother. That's some love. Like family.
But the times have changed. D'Antoni is long gone. In his place, Alvin Gentry. 7SOL is dead. In its place is a foreign, hybrid version, the new way. And Leandro must deal with a reality he and many of us and the Suns recognized. He didn't have a place on the refurbished Suns roster. Goran Dragic is the future at point guard. And Leandro didn't have the size, strength, and defensive capability to matchup with the new breed of sizable 2's of the NBA. Let us not forget the financial concerns, which could be of chief importance. Barbosa's play didn't match his contribution, regardless of whether he was injured or a nice guy.
It's not the part of the NBA he wanted. Leandro made Phoenix home. And he wanted to stay here forever. He was a popular guy on the team. Always friendly, always smiling. Yet seeing him throughout the the season, after injuries had taken their toll, it was clear to me that he was unsuccessfully masking his frustration with his inability to stay healthy, coupled with his uncertain place in the rotation. His early exit of the locker room after the last game of this season was evidence to many of us that Barbosa had seen the writing on the wall. He didn't want to talk about the future.
So for now, let us remember the Leandro who pumped in a game winning three against the Bulls:
Leandro Barbosa game winner (via krishanson)
And let us remember his career high 41 points versus the Thunder:
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns 20/02/2009 (Highlights) (via kawasepr)
Let us remember Leandro with braids:
avatar (via stevenash)
And finally, let us remember Leandro's goat impersonation:
All Night Long (via stevenash)
So, onward. Onward into the uncertain future for us Suns fans
and Leandro Barbosa alike. We wish you well.
The Suns got their first Vegas win against the D-league Select team. It was a game they should have won but easily could have lost as well considering the Suns roster outside of Earl Clark is basically the same type of players fielded by the other side.
There was a difference in this game though and it was clear in the early minutes. The Suns were pushing the ball and Earl Clark looked far better than he had in the first two games. The Suns also had the services of Scottie Reynolds from Villanova for the first time.
Scottie Reynolds Time
Scottie worked out yesterday with the team on their off day and told the coaching staff this morning that he wanted to go. Thunder Dan said he was glad to have him.
"When you get Scottie in there he's going to push the tempo, that's the big thing and I thought Z (Zabian Dowdell) did a good job of that too," Dan said. "In this situation we want to get out and run and play the way we do in the regular season and that's look at shots early if their good shots and try to stay out of set plays and just get out there and run."
Reynolds looked a little tentative in the first few minutes of court time but quickly settled down. Even more impressive than his scoring was his floor leadership and ability to push the ball. Reynolds had 16 points and 3 assists in only 18 minutes of play.
Scottie was a vocal leader on both ends of the floor, something that impressed his coach, "He likes to talk and that's good and I think he brings energy to the guys. It keeps everybody in the game and when your point guard is that vocal and is pushing the ball it's exciting, it's fun for everybody to play with him."
Scottie thought his familiarity with the system gave him an edge, "It's just like Villanova, the same principles and the same kind of offense. It's a little bit heart-warming that I've been in the system for four years and have been able to be successful."
Reynolds injured his Achilles while working out last week in Villanova with Alvin Williams and Kyle Lowry. He was initially afraid he tore something because he couldn't walk on it but it's been improving recently. He expects it will be sore tomorrow but with the Suns having a day off he hopes to play again on Wednesday.
Earl Shows Signs Of Life
Earl had his best game of the summer by far. He was 6 for 12 shooting and 6 of 7 from the line. 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. He looked more confident and relaxed from the opening tip.
Majerle agreed, "Earl struggled a little bit (in previous games) but he got his legs under him a little bit more and started playing his type of game. I think he was pushing the first couple of games, more looking for his shot and not trying to make anybody better but today I think he played more within himself and played a lot better."
Gani Continues To Shine
Gani, or "G" to his teammates, had another good game. He runs the floor very well and is physical and aggressive in the paint. He finished this game with a triple double - 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 fouls.
He certainly has a lot to learn but several of his fouls were of the ticky-tack variety so no real concern about that. Gani understands that he will be a limited minutes role player so having a high foul rate for this kind of energy bench player is expected and accepted.
Zabian Dowdell will get over-shadowed by Reynold's debut but he had a nice game himself. 9 points and 4 assist in 21 minutes. He is a bigger and better defender than Scottie and did a decent job pushing the tempo but in comparison lacks the creativity and ability to create plays in transition that Reynolds has.
Matt Janning is quietly having a very good Summer League with the Suns after also playing with the Celtics in Orlando the previous week. The Suns are very high on him. Look for a separate story on Matt soon (or tomorrow if I decide to go eat instead and get to bed before 2am).
The only other guy on the roster that jumps out is big man, Shawn Pruitt. He's big and physical. 4 rebounds in 10 minutes isn't bad. I don't think he runs the floor or can do enough offensively to get a serious look by the Suns however.
Suns Not Talking About Hedo/Childress. Yet.
All of the Suns brass from Sarver on down were at the game but declined to comment on the Hedo or Childress trade. Until deals like that are official they really shouldn't talk about them.
Goran Dragic was also at the game. He was meeting with Robert Sarver to discuss playing for the Slovenian National Team this summer and also has a meeting with a shoe company to finalize a deal. Goran will be playing for his country and for the first time will be teammates with his brother Zoran.
Will Earl Clark look better in this game?
Will the Suns get a win?
Will Alvin Gentry answer any questions about the Childress and Turkoglu deals?
What kind of cool shoes will Mr. Irrelevant (Dwayne Collins) be wearing?
Stay tuned and find out.
The Summer Suns will be facing the D-league Select Team. Last summer, they were pretty good. Even though this is their first game of this party the word is they aren't as good this year. They are coaches by Iowa Energy head coach Nick Nurse.
A complete break-down of the D-League team can be found at Ridiculous Upside.
I have no idea if this game is on NBA TV.