Mike Prada of SB Nation recently published his 2011 NBA general manager rankings. Unsurprisingly, David Khan of the Minnesota Timberwolves was ranked 30th, while the Miami Heat's Pat Riley tops the list at number 1.

Phoenix fans will not be shocked to see that Prada's review of Suns' GM (or rather decision-maker) Lon Babby was less than glowing as he ended up number 27 on the list.

Prada points out Phoenix center Marcin Gortat and his "very affordable contract as a feather in Babby's cap, while calling the summer signings "disastrous."  The Hedo Turkoglu experiment was a complete failure, and while Babby did a great job turning him into Gortat, Prada is correct in saying Vince Carter was a high price to pay to correct a mistake. Josh Childress has done nothing for Phoenix despite being one of the highest paid players on the team, although many fans still believe he can be a valuable piece for the team.

His comments about Channing Frye, however, are a bit puzzling. Said Prada:

Channing Frye was a somewhat needless re-signing for a team that should have banked his money elsewhere.

That comment appears to be based on the stereotypes that Frye has not been able shake off despite a solid season. Anyone that watched the Suns last year realize how vital Frye was to the team's success. He is no longer the soft, jump-shooting big man many still see him as and he definitely earned his money last year.

There was also no mention of the Jared Dudley extension. Dudley is an integral part of the team and fan favorite, and Babby managed to lock him up on an affordable contract.

Prada does deserve credit for not crucifying Babby for refusing to trade Steve Nash, unlike many other media members.

So what say you Bright Siders? Is Babby too high? Too low? Just right? Feel free to read the rest of the story here and share your thoughts on the other GMs' rankings as well.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 08/07/11 10:03 AM MST ]

As Alex pointed out in the comments, Prada's review is technically incorrect in a few areas. Babby is not the GM and Babby did not officially join the club until after most of the moves listed in the summer of 2010 were made. Of course, Prada is writing for a national audience where such finer points take a back seat to quickly evaluating the team's decisions and results. Babby is the face of the organization and the top basketball executive so he's going to take the hits (and hopefully the credit) for the Suns' results.

I also completely disagree with Prada's assessment of Frye. Channing has become a capable defender and rebounder, especially when he can play the four, and he's an absolutely vital cog in the offense. As long as Steve Nash has primary responsibility for creating points in the paint, Frye is a key guy in the system. He's also a quality guy (like Dudley) who can be trusted to take his big contract and keep working to improve his game.

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It's not hard to find Steve Nash or Grant Hill fanatics among the Suns fan community. And, for good reason. Those guys are international superstars, have had phenomenal careers and are all-around admirable men. But this post isn't about the Steve Nashes and Grant Hills of the world. It's about the bit players who fans swoon over in silly or unreasonable ways. It's about the fans who chanted "Louuuuuuuuuuuu" when the ponytailed one played in Phoenix. Or the assortment of Garret Siler and Zabian Dowdell fans we have here. Or fans who wore dorky glasses to games when Kurt Rambis played for the Suns. Silly? Unreasonable? Isn't that what being a fan is about?

What current or former Suns player do you love a little more than is reasonable, even though he is/was merely a role player, or even less than a role player? For me, that player is.......

Elliot "Socks" Perry

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If Perry was before your time, here's what you need to know: he was the picture of an underdog. Originally drafted by the Clippers and then plucked from the CBA by the Suns in the 93-94 season to be Kevin Johnson's backup, Perry's best season was 94-95 when he averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 assists in 24 minutes per game. He started 51 games that year, as injuries plagued KJ. Perry certainly had a lot of help, as that Suns team was stacked with talent, but he steered the ship for large chunks of a 59-win season.

Perry was small and scrawny, listed at 6'0, 150 lbs, and he had many notable nerd qualities: his name, the high socks on his skinny legs, and he sometimes wore goggles.

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With the goggles, he looked more like he should be on the set of an ABC sitcom than on an NBA court. Yes, it was like having Urkel play PG for us. And how awesome is that? It was quite awesome, and it broke my heart when the Suns let Perry go following the 95-96 season, trading him to Milwaukee. He came back to the Suns in the 2000-2001 season, but he didn't do much for us, averaging a meager 3.2 points and 1.7 assists per game. Elliot Perry was nothing more than a decent backup PG at the peak of his career, but I had a blast cheering for the guy. He was a scrappy, hardworking player, and had a nice shooting stroke.

OK, your turn now. Can be current or former player. Originality is appreciated but not required. Include pictures! We all know lockout news sucks, so let's have some fun remembering the good stuff about being fans.

Update: Just found this sweet video.


With a record 11 championships to his credit, it’s easy to argue that Phil Jackson is the greatest coach in NBA history. Then again it would be hard not to rack up the rings coaching Michael...

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This is what you'll find prominently featured on the Phoenix Suns official page, so why not here?

NBA owners and the NBPA had a quiet July. There were no negotiating sessions and few verbal grenades thrown by either side. Monday's first meeting between the parties since the lockout started seems to have unleashed the vitriol. Since the meeting, commissioner David Stern expressed harsh words for the union, accusing them of not bargaining in good faith, and then the owners took legal action against the union. Yesterday in Baltimore, union chief Billy Hunter had this to say, as per the Chicago Tribune:

"The circumstances have changed among his (Stern's) constituency," said Hunter, the executive director since 1996. "In the last six or seven years, there is a new group of owners to come in who paid a premium for their franchises, and what they're doing is kind of holding his feet to the fire."

Because negotiators are dug in, Hunter said "something has to happen that both of us can use as leverage to save face."

Asked by a conference attendee whether there would be a 2011-12 season, he replied: "If I had to bet on it at this moment, I would probably say no."

Reason for alarm? The first impression is that of course we don't want to see each side launching Scuds at the other. Eventually, they'll have to arrive at an agreement and it ultimately does neither side any good to damage the other. They need each other to run a successful league.

However, I see it another way. It was inevitable that it was going to come to this, and the sooner it bottoms out after each side has unloaded their weapons, the sooner they can start to get serious about resolving the conflict. This is all part of the dance. Sure, it's a crappy dance and not close to as fun as the one pictured above, but this is where we are now, and the statements and actions we've seen this week were going to happen sometime. Might as well get them over with now; it's more helpful than each side sitting on their hands doing nothing.


This is all old hat for us. We know how great of a human being Steve Nash is. So to read this story from the Basketball Jones won't surprise any of us, including this excerpt:

I saw Nash’s humanity for the first time four years ago, during the first NBA game I ever covered. It was a preseason matchup between the Suns and Seattle SuperSonics (RIP), held in Vancouver (also RIP). After tossing his shoes into the crowd, Nash walked into a packed interview room to talk to all of the reporters that had come out to see him. On his way, he noticed a family in the back of the room. The family had recently lost their son. Nash immediately went over to them and comforted them, hugging, talking, smiling and looking at photos of their son that was gone far too soon. While we waited, silently touched by the emotion openly being shown by the family and by the genuine humanity being shown by Nash, we all knew we were watching something beautifully real born out of a painfully fresh tragedy.

Unfortunately or fortunately-depending on how you feel about the man, Paul Shirley weighed on leadership, thoughts on Amar'e Stoudemire, and a comparison between how Nash leads versus Kobe Bryant:

Like, Nash is not only going to tell you, “Hey, I need you to do this,” he’ll come back and say “Thank you for doing that, I appreciate it.” Bryant is apt to roll his eyes when a teammate misses a shot.

And for those of us who wonder why it has been so difficult to jettison Nash to a winner and complete the rebuild of the Suns, it is stories like these that make it so hard for us to see a day when this leader takes off his Suns jersey for the last time, never to wear the purple and orange again.


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