Swatting away bad nicknames like Plumlee turning away shots in the paint... Let's get to it!

Remember when nicknames were organic, natural, and sort of just came to be? It was a better time and a time that hopefully we get back to.

In this weeks podcast JimDog and I strip away all credibility of this atrocious nickname that is being forced upon Miles Plumlee, PlumDog. The nickname is so bad that there are not enough words that one could write to fully get across the genuine awfulness of it, so we took 35 minutes or so this week to shed some light and perspective.

We also review the potential flame-out potential of the Phoenix Suns despite the hot start, review last week, and preview the week ahead.

Full Podcast Here: Phoenix Suns Podcast Episode 45

If you hang around long enough you will get my two minute scouting report on Kansas Jayhawks freshman big man Joel Embiid, because Jim insists.

What does Archie Goodwin's zodiac sign say about him? Is Goran Dragic a good fit astrologically with Eric Bledsoe? These are questions we've all had at various points in our lives and now we have answers. Folks over at HollywoodPsychics.com wrote an article on Phoenix Suns players based on their astrological profiles I can guarantee you won't read another article like this today.

Guest Post by Hollywood Psychics:

Young Suns

Both Alex Len and Archie Goodwin aren't even of legal drinking age, but these young players have shown enough talent on the court to garner them a coveted spot in the NBA. Alex Len, the 20-year-old Suns center, is a Gemini. Shooting guard Archie Goodwin is a Leo -- and the second-youngest player to enter the 2013 NBA draft at the ripe old age of 19. Goodwin's drive is typical for his astrological sign, Leo. Leos never shy from the spotlight and often ascend to a leadership position at a rapid pace. While most mere mortals assume this constant "Go! Go! Go!" pace indicates that Leo will be quick to burnout, to the contrary, Leo is much happier when the sign is on the move.

As a Gemini, Alex Len also has magnetic leadership qualities. Gemini tends to seem a bit mercurial -- like Leo, he's all-go, all the time -- but Gemini is typically light-hearted while still managing to be laser-focused.

Goodwin and Len are set to become a dynamic duo on the court given the cosmic affinity that Leo and Gemini have with one another. Both are extremely energetic and the two signs play off of one another's optimism. The "Young Suns" are set to shine this season!

An Earthy Influence

There is a strong earth sign contingent on the Suns. Guards Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, as well as coach Jeff Hornacek are all born under earth signs. This bodes well as these stalwart signs lend a stabilizing influence to their teammates.

Jeff Hornacek, the Suns' new coach, had a storied career as a shooting guard for the Suns, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Utah Jazz. His practical on-court experience may make him a hands-on coach with a solid grasp of the game. His astrological sign of Taurus, ruled by the planet Venus, endows him with a take-charge attitude that's tempered with a mellow, affable streak.

LIke his coach, Goran Dragic is also born under the sign of bull. His fellow Suns guard, Eric Bledsoe is a Capricorn -- one of the most stoic, grounded signs of the zodiac. While Capricorn may sometimes come off as aloof, he has the best interests of others at heart. Bledsoe's cerebral zodiac sign makes him a student of the game who can anticipate his opponents' next move. Taurus and Capricorn work very well together. Both signs are very down-to-earth despite the fact that they hold friends and teammates to meticulous standards. There's a strong level of mutual encouragement that these signs share with one another -- along with a friendly competitiveness that keeps everyone on their toes.

The Team as a Whole

A look at the astrological profiles of these players when taken as a whole yields a team that is poised to play like a well-oiled machine. Younger players like Len and Goodwin stand to learn a lot from their Taurus coach, Hornacek. Their respective Gemini and Leo drives will make them want to prove themselves to their coach and teammates to earn their leadership spots. Under the steady Taurus guidance of Hornacek and the more seasoned Dragic, this may help to craft a new dynasty for the Suns (provided Dragic doesn't keep getting injuries that take him out of the game!).

Leo and Capricorn get along famously, which is evident in the camaraderie between Bledsoe (Capricorn) and Goodwin (Leo) that extends beyond the two teammates sharing a history (and alma mater) as Kentucky Wildcats.

Traditionally, there has always been a bit of a conflicted relationship between Gemini and Capricorn, which does seem to be the one wildcard in the Suns equation. Len (Gemini) and Bledsoe (Capricorn) seem to play well together as teammates, however, in terms of astrological compatibility, Gemini typically looks up to Capricorn who may or may not feel that the Twins live up to the Goat's high standards. However, once these two signs realize they share a common goal - albeit approach achieving it with a different attitude than the other expects -- the two get along just fine.

After applying some astrological knowledge to the Suns' roster, the outlook is indeed a sunny one for the boys in purple and orange. They may not be vying for a championship ring this season, but the young talent bolstered by veteran players may yield a fine future for the franchise.

This article was written for Brightside of the Sun by the folks at Hollywood Psychics. With psychic experts in various specialties, online psychic readings at Hollywood Psychics are a great way to get understandings and insights about your life.

Having problems with premature estimation? Check your sample size. The Phoenix Suns are off to a scintillating start, but what kind of bellwether does seven games provide?

Some of us have done it.  A season starts with fireworks and a person becomes enthralled with the early returns. Optimism and ardor abound.  Then it fizzles out.  Premature estimation.

But it also goes the other way.  Sometimes the early indicators do tell the true story and that passion builds to a rumbling crescendo.

Obviously the latter is preferable.

So, which of these scenarios (completely devoid of innuendo) will the 2013-14 Suns fall into?  Let's look at last season to try to shed some light on the situation...


Here are the standings from last year on November 12th and again at the end of the season.  Let's examine some trends.

Of the 13 teams with winning records on November 12th, 10 made the playoffs and nine ended up with winning records.

Milwaukee (4-3) finished 38-44, Philadelphia (4-3) finished 34-48, Minnesota (5-2) finished 31-51 and New Orleans (3-2) finished 27-55.

Of the nine teams that started at least 5-2 (Milwaukee, Brooklyn and New York did end up with this record), seven finished with winning records and eight made the playoffs. Minnesota and Milwaukee brought up the rear.

These trends seem to adumbrate quite auspiciously for continued success for the Suns this season.

Now let's look at the biggest outlier, Minnesota.  An injury riddled season for Kevin Love sullied their season, as he only managed to play (ineffectively) in 18 games.  But he wasn't there for the hot start.  Ricky Rubio also dealt with injuries, but he also missed the beginning of the season.

So who the hell played for them?

Here are the players who logged minutes on opening night.  Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour, Jose Barea, Dante Cunningham, Chase Budinger, Greg Steimsma and Alexey Shved.  Not exactly a murderer's row, but not completely bereft of talent. Roy was starting, but only lasted five games.  Budinger only made it through six. Pekovic missed two games after the 5-2 start (both losses) and 20 games total on the season. Even AK, who started every game he played in, was out for 18.

The Wolves were basically crippled by injuries and didn't even have a chance to build continuity with players popping in and out (or just out) of the rotation.

Milwaukee just didn't turn out to be a very good team.  They didn't suffer any major injuries and even added J.J. Redick and got a contribution from John Henson as the season progressed.

If the Suns are Milwaukee they won't make the playoffs in the Western Conference.  To be Minnesota it would seem like the team would have to suffer catastrophic injuries.

Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, four teams with losing records after seven games (all 3-4) finished with winning records and made the playoffs.  The Lakers, Warriors, Rockets and Pacers.


But what if we deviate from the lucky (from above) number seven?

First, let me use an example that I haven't seen brought up yet.  The Charlotte Bobcats started last season with a stellar (by their meager standards) record of 7-5.  Then the wheels fell off and they proceeded to lose 18 straight.  How the hell does that even happen?  Charlotte ended up posting a 21-61 record.

Some of you will probably remember the Bobcats third game of the season, a 117-110 loss, against the Suns.  That was the game Shannon Brown drained six three pointers in the fourth quarter, including several that were impossibly difficult, tenaciously defended attempts.  The typically horrible "Cannon" shots that amazingly went in for a change. Dude was unconscious.

The only win that turned out to be signature in nature was against Indiana, but the Pacers staggered out of the gate. Charlotte did beat a couple middling teams such as Dallas and Milwaukee, and had a victory over the Wolves in their seventh game, which put Minnesota at 5-3 and spelled the beginning of the end.

The Bobcats didn't suffer any major injuries.  They just outplayed their talent for a stretch.


Next lets scrutinize the breakdown by the Orlando Magic last season.  Orlando made it to the 25 game mark with a 12-13 record.  In the less than fearsome (after a few teams) Eastern Conference this put them just 1.5 games back from the fifth best record.  They went 3-28 over their next 31 games.  8-49 to finish the season. Their final record was 20-62.

What incited this complete and ignominious failure?  Glen Davis was actually injured right at the 25 game point and missed most of the rest of the season.  Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson both missed some time, but both played through the vast majority of the monumental collapse stage.  Is Davis really worth 20 wins a season all by himself? Or even a couple for that matter?

It seems to me that the losses just piled up a little bit and then things snowballed as the team became demoralized. There was no coaching change or loss of the magnitude of an all-star caliber player.


While these are cautionary tales of becoming fully invested in early returns, the Suns have even more evidence that supports continued good play (although not quite at their current pace).  The team has had meaningful contributions from many different players already sporting individual or multiple games that are close to, or even exceed, career bests.  The team even played through an injury to Goran Dragic without obvious impairment, which supports a train of thought that an injury to a single player, with the probable exception of Eric Bledsoe, may not be debilitating.

At the same time, there are still questions about the sustainability of this level of play, since Bledsoe, Plumlee, Markieff, Marcus and Green are all basically on pace for career years.  It is reasonable to expect at least some fall off from the group as a whole, but to what degree?

Other teams who were slated to be buried underneath the floor of the basement have at least temporarily exhumed themselves in the early going. The Philadelphia 76ers started 4-2, with signature wins over Miami and Chicago, before losing two straight.  Their early schedule has also included Golden St. and San Antonio.  The Boston Celtics, who have also beaten Miami, have won four straight after an 0-4 start... without all-star point guard Rajon Rondo.

The Suns best wins this season are over the Portland Trail Blazers (currently 5-2) on opening night at home and at the New Orleans Pelicans (3-4, but 3-2 against teams not named Phoenix).  The game against the Blazers in Portland tomorrow may be a good barometer of the two teams development since that game.  Other than that they've beaten some bad teams at home (Denver 2-4 and Jazz 0-8) while losing to some really good teams (OKC 5-1 and SA 7-1) on the road.  I think the nature of the road losses makes this complete body of work somewhat impressive, though.

The team's upcoming schedule may leave us wondering for a bit, too, as they play Sacramento (twice), Utah (twice), Charlotte and Orlando in their next 10 games.  It may well be that we still aren't sure a quarter of the way into the season...

And this shouldn't necessarily be a surprise... remember 2009-10?  The Suns started 14-3 (great!) before struggling through a 12-18 stretch (terrible!) and finishing strong by going 28-7 (wow!).  The Suns were basically three teams that season, and that was a damn entertaining season.  Hopefully this one can be closer to that than the last three...

I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Summary: Based on a small sample size (seven games) of a small sample size (last season) there is definitely hope that people predicting playoffs for the Suns won't suffer the embarrassment of premature estimation.

Yesterday it was announced that Morris took home his first Western Conference Player of the Week award as Indiana Pacers swingman Paul George took home the Eastern Conference honor. Morris is the...

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Before the team gets on a plane to head to the Pacific Northwest I was able to get the news, the notes, and the quotes from USAC...

Today at practice I got a chance to see the quartet of hoops at U.S. Airways Center and it was a sight to behold. With a former shooter as the coach, having four hoops makes some sense, right?

The practice ran long and the team is heading out to the airport this afternoon for a game against the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night.

Here is what we learned today:

The Unselfish Suns

There is no ego. No superstar. And no matter how well an individual is playing, they will defer to the mantra that the teams' success is the most important thing right now to them. That was evident the other night after the win over New Orleans and punctuated with Markieff Morris reaction to being the Western Conference Player of the Week.

"No, our record means more than that," Morris on if the award means anything to him. "I thought they would give it to Kevin Love, 30 and 15 and all of that, but it happens."

Even more clear when asked about his bench role after starting the better half of two seasons:

"It is always more important to close and winning is more important than starting, than coming off the bench, or who is in at the end. Winning is most important."

This has been a theme all season for the Suns players. Everyone has the same message and the same ideology; team is more important than the individual. Winning is everything.

Goran Dragic Update (Replacing: How is the Rookie Doing?)

His son was born Monday morning, Mateo Dragic, at 7 pounds and 6.9 ounces. The family is healthy and Dragic is a proud father now. The baby dragon should be released from the hospital soon where Goran could join the team tonight or tomorrow afternoon in Portland.

"He wants to play. He is a competitor and like he said, "I want to get out there and play for my new son." That excitement. It is a big thrill to have your first child."

Coach Hornacek's Corner Three's

Quote on Markieff Morris finding his calling off the bench:

"For now, it is working for us. There might be a time where we say the best thing is to get him in the starting line-up, but right now that group that is coming off the bench is giving us a big lift and that is always great to have."

More Coach Hornacek on any special emphasis this week:

"We just have to continue what we are doing. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves in terms of putting a lot of new stuff in there. We just want to re-emphasis all of the stuff we have put in over the past month and a half of time."

On Slava getting some time in at center:

"I don't know how to explain it. He looks like he is slow and everything is methodical, I guess that is the best way to put it, but he gets it done. He had a couple of great blocks in practice today, some nice moves. I am not sure it is raw, it is methodical, and when we see practices like that it gives us that if we need to put him in we can do that."

A Look At The Standings...

Who would have thought a month ago that this would be relevant? Well it is and on these Practice Reports instead of looking at the NBA Draft we are going to dive into the standings.

As of today the Suns are the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference as the Division leader in the Pacific.

Pacific Division

Suns: 5-2 (Won their last two games and face two potential playoff teams this week which will test their staying power here)

Clippers: 5-3 (Won their last two and face off against four playoff teams from last year in the next five games, next three games at home)

Warriors: 4-3 (Curry is day-to-day with an injury as the team has lost two in a row, the schedule softens with three out of the next four against the Pistons and Jazz)

Lakers: 3-5 (No Kobe Bryant, potentially no Steve Nash, and a current two game losing streak that could get worse fast)

Kings: 1-5 (They have lost five in a row and look like a perpetual lottery team, again)

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