Now this is thinking outside the box.

The league has filed a lawsuit against the player's association, and it's looking more and more like the season will be delayed if not cancelled entirely. The gut reaction is to think of this as entirely negative. I mean, no basketball equals bad, right?

According to Berry Tramel of, the NBA could actually be better off starting later:

Why does the NBA season always start in late October/early November? Why do the NBA Finals have to be played in June?


Wouldn't the NBA be better served with a Dec. 1 tipoff and a July finals?


What Tramel suggests, thinking outside the box and turning a disadvantage into an opportunity, is that the NBA fill a sports-fan need in early July by starting and ending the season later. There's nothing big holding the NBA schedule back from starting later and ending later, and television ratings surely could be improved by taking July as it's own form of March Madness. 

In Phoenix, it could mean extended respite from the summer heat, while watching the Suns compete for a Western Conference Title and NBA Championship. 

Tramel keeps running with his idea:

Tip off the season in December, start the playoffs in late May. You could still play the All-Star Game in February, to avoid March Madness, but the trading deadline could move to late March, maybe a Tuesday, and the NBA could muscle in on some of the basketball jones that for decades the colleges have confiscated for March.

Anyone see any big issues with this? Even if this doesn't work, it's an excellent lemons-to-lemonade reminder that in every challenge is an opportunity for design and redesign: for increased revenue, efficiency, and improvement of the sport. 

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.

Where should Lon Babby be ranked?

  113 votes | Results

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


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.


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.

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