Who doesn't like a good nonsensical ranking in the pre-season? Well, this is for you...

Not that everyone before this wasn't important, but only Archie Goodwin, the Gorilla, and Lon Babby had at least one vote inside the Top 5 to this point. In this Top 10 there were five different names that were ranked No. 1 showing some fluidity at the top of the Suns organizational hierarchy. Or at least in our eyes.

Last year the front office reigned supreme and this year the players are having a say in the course of the season.

We knocked out 25-11 on here for #SUNSRANK for the 2014-2015 Phoenix Suns season with some big names and other faces that will have a say in how the season goes overall. Go back and check out the lists from this week if you missed them, but lets continue to march forward.

In these rankings some great names were left out of the Top 25 like Casey Prather, Jamil Wilson, Joe Jackson, Earl Barron, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Alec Brown, the Cheerleaders, and the Hip-Hop Squad. They will not be forgotten.

#SUNSRANK is a compilation of 14 writers here on Bright Side that ranked the most important names and faces of the franchise for this one year. This is not a "future rankings" or some Fox News one-sided account of things. Everyone had their own opinion and the rankings are as the staff deemed fit. There were some wild rankings, but we are not going to leak like a sieve a la the NSA in here. We have some integrity.

Check back daily as well as on Twitter for #SUNSRANK where five more names will be released leading all the way down to No. 1. What do you think about these five listed so far?


25-21 << 20-16 << 15-11 << 10-6 << 5-1


No. 10: Gerald Green (11.0)

Profile: 6'8" 200 lbs. Small Forward -- Eighth Year Gulf Shores Academy (HS)

Stats (Last Season): In 28.4 MPG 15.8 PPG 3.4 RPG 1.5 APG 44.5% FG 40.0% 3PT

Interesting Fact: Green was a part of the last high school to the NBA class that included Monta Ellis, Louis Williams, Amir Johnson, Andray Blatche, and others.

Analysis: Gerald Green is important to the Suns because of his three point shooting and above the rim athleticism. He also plays with a lot of emotion and can pump the team up. If the offense is being stagnant Green can be a great tool for instant offense. He can come into the game hit a few quick threes swinging the momentum in the Suns favor. Also, at any time he can go off for a huge game and carry the team like against OKC last year when he scored 41 points in an eventual 128-122 victory for the Suns. If Gerald Green improved his ball handling like he said he would this offseason he could become an even better scorer off the dribble and be able to get to the rim more easily for more highlight dunks.  -- Austin Elmer

Important Question: How will Green handle being the new "love him/hate him" shooter with Channing Frye gone?

No. 9: Miles Plumlee (9.714)

Profile: 6'10" 245 lbs. Center -- Third Year Duke

Stats (Last Season): in 24.6 MPG 8.1 PPG 7.8 RPG 1.1 BPG 51.7% FG 56.1% FT

Interesting Fact: Plumlee's father, mother, grandfather, two uncles, and two little brothers all played high level collegiate basketball. It is in the DNA.

Analysis: I believe Miles Plumlee will be one of the most important players on the team this season.  Unlike our back court, where the Suns have the greatest depth in the NBA, the center position is almost entirely dependent on the success of only one player.  While we all have hopes that Alex Len will have a break out season, as of now, Plumlee is the only player we can hang our hats on.  For everything he lacks in offensive skill, he makes up for with great energy and hustle on both ends of the floor, and is by far the best post defender on the team.  His ability to challenge opponents at the rim, while blocking or altering shots, was a big part of the team's success last year.  To the Suns, he is irreplaceable. --Sean Sullivan

Important Question: How do you avoid the "sophomore slump" after last realistically being his rookie year?

No. 8: Ryan McDonough (9.214)

Profile: General Manager -- Second Season (10 Years In Celtics Front Office)

Stats: Drafted: Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, T.J. Warren, Tyler Ennis, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Alec Brown. Acquired: Eric Bledsoe, Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green, Isaiah Thomas, Anthony Tolliver, Zoran Dragic, and Shavlik Randolph.

Interesting Fact: Only Goran Dragic, the Morrii, Lon Babby, and Robert Sarver remain after that albatross of a 2012-2013 season.

Analysis: Remember the 2012/13 season? The hodgepodge of talent that couldn't play as a team, the front office yet again straddling the fence between rebuilding and contending, the mismatched court design with the antiquated uniforms? There are plenty of candidates worthy of recognition for the 12-month turnaround the franchise enjoyed, but Ryan McDonough was the catalyst.

Coach Jeff Hornacek, the Slash Bros, the athletic (albeit raw) front-court ... think of how much of the Suns' offense consisted of Luis Scola shooting from 18 feet just a little over a year ago, then clutch your McDonough doll (I know you have one) and sigh. The team still needs another revelation -- be it organic or through the player market -- before they can make a move to the top, but I can't remember the last Suns season that was as anticipated as this one.

He's had plenty of help along the way, but Ryan McDonough brought us back our Phoenix Suns. That's why I put him at No.1 on this list. Don't let me down, Ryan. (Just kidding. But seriously, don't.) -- Rollin Mason

Important Question: Does this team need a third part that is equal to if not better than the Dragic/Bledsoe duo to push them over the hump?

No. 7: Aaron Nelson (8.357)

Profile: Head Athletic Trainer -- 22nd Season (14th as Head Athletic Trainer)

Stats: See: Nash, Steve

Interesting Fact: 21 years ago Nelson lived in Coach Jeff Hornacek's house when he was hired by the Suns, but didn't work with him officially until last year. They are brothers-in-law.

Analysis: Right here I'd just like to offer a prayer to the god of medical staff in the NBA, Aaron Nelson.

With the pace the Suns are poised to play and the physical toll that will take on the players' muscles and joints, he will be the one man (figuratively of course, there are more people in the med staff than just him) whose job it will be to keep the ankles (Len and Dragi?), knees (Bledsoe) and all the other parts of the players in great shape. Maybe he can even devise a bumper of sorts and strap it to Goran's left hip, as a precaution. -- Matija

Important Question: Is his magic more for the seasoned player with injury prevention (Nash, Shaq, Hill) or does he have something for the younger player (Bledsoe, Len, etc) up his sleeve?

No. 6: Alex Len (7.785)

Profile: 7'1" 255 lbs. Center -- Second Year Maryland

Stats (Last Season): In 8.6 MPG 2.0 PPG 2.4 RPG 42.3% FG 64.5% FT

Interesting Fact: Len is dating 6'7" former Maryland basketball player Essence Townsend. She is tall.

Analysis: While I think that Miles Plumlee is more important for the Suns this year - maybe even the most irreplaceable player on the team because of his skill set - it's quite possible that Alex Len will be the player who improves the most from one year to the next. Len has all the physical attributes and natural NBA skills. He can move his feet on D, block shots, grab rebounds and is big enough to defend the post. On offense, he's got a clean jumper with a high release and has very long arms for tipouts and putbacks. In fact, he can do so much that he seems unsure what's the very best thing to do at any one time. So far in his career, he's been held back by uncertainty. He doesn't yet trust his body or his decision-making or his skill set. While he's not afraid to tussle or give a hard foul, he doesn't apply the same abandon to his game. If Coach Hornacek, Mark West and/or Kenny Gattison can get Len to focus on a few things and get really good at them, Len could be a breath of fresh air this year and a cornerstone for the future. -- Dave King

Important Question: Does the pick already deserve critical satire if Nerlens Noel has a modest season or simply plays a healthy amount of games?

Come back tomorrow for the Top Five in the #SUNSRANK series and follow along on Twitter!


Each ranking will also include one write-in ballot from the writers. We have five tremendous write-in's this year continuing with Rollin Mason's:

Write-In: Rich Paul

You can argue that Bledsoe and Rich Paul made negotiations unnecessarily difficult. You can argue that the Suns took it in the shorts when they settled on 5 years, $70 million. You can argue that Bledsoe's knee should have been somehow insured in the contract. But there is no arguing that Rich Paul had taken care of his client by the time the dust settled.

The Suns will be leaning heavily on their guard rotation in 2014/15, and Bledsoe is a vital cog in the machine. And because of Rich Paul, he's a happy cog. The Suns thrive on player chemistry, and the BledSoap Opera threatened this in many ways. Kudos to Rich Paul for finally putting a smile on Eric's face. -- Rollin Mason

Rich Paul

To Avoid Injury: Do Not Tell Me How To Do My Job...

Last night the Phoenix Suns won a sloppy game against a quality South American team in Flamengo, but showed a little ring rust.

Can we chalk that up to the first pre-season game for this unit like Goran Dragic said after the game? Or is this a larger scale issue with effort and cohesiveness like head coach Jeff Hornacek mentioned last night? Most of the team and staff were visibly upset at the overall performance, but there were a lot of positives to go along with the fair criticisms.

Dave and I break down the game and whether there is anything overtly negative that will carry over into the season. (Hint: Not really)

Listen Here: BS of the Suns Episode 67

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There are some players that are irreplaceable to a NBA roster once they leave town. The Miami Heat are not going to replace LeBron James. No offense to Danny Granger and Luol Deng, but it just...

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The Phoenix Suns overcame a slow start to defeat Brazilian basketball team Flamengo in their preseason opener. After the San Antonio Spurs lost to Alba Berlin earlier in the day, it seemed as though...

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The Phoenix Suns got off to a real bad start. It's as if the team thought they could run all over a team from Brazil. But this is a team that won their championship and is used to playing together. While the Suns thought walking the ball up the court would be an okay thing.

The Flamengo lead got to 11-4 and then 15-8 when Hornacek finally called a timeout at the 5:43 mark of the first quarter. The Suns by that time had missed at least 5 layups and runners - just not feeling it as a group.

Hornacek replaced the starters with Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker and Shavlik Randolph (along with Keef) and who scores early? Shav of course. He got a putback layup and then a jumper to liven up the team.

Still it was a struggle on both ends of the court for the Suns. They just weren't in rhythm.

After the first quarter, the Suns slogged to a 26-21 deficit. Missed a ton of easy shots. And by that I mean a ton.

The second quarter didn't get any better at the start. Bledsoe missed another layup, Keef missed a long two and teh Suns were flat-footed on D.

The Suns finally went on a 7-0 run with Bledsoe and Archie running the show and driving mercilessly to the rim.

On the back of Bledsoe - a tank with a porsche engine, per Randy Hill of Fox Sports Arizona - and Archie Goodwin and Markieff Morris, the Suns took their first lead (34-33) at the 6:27 mark of the second quarter.

The highlight/lowlight of the first half was Archie Goodwin grabbing a loose ball on his knees and feeding Bledsoe on the break before getting called for the traveling.

The Suns went on a 19-4 run largely with Markieff Morris at the five - otherwise known as going small - because they decided it's okay to outhustle and outwork the Brazilian squad.

Bledsoe was really good on both ends of the court in the first half, getting 13 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist. The Morris brothers scored 19 points and had 9 rebounds, FIVE steals and 2 assists between them.

The Suns led 54-43 at halftime. They went 11 deep in the first half, but not one rookie played. No T.J. Warren. No Tyler Ennis. No Zoran Dragic.

Maybe in the second half?

The Suns began the second half with the starters and tried to play a lot better than the first time around. It didn't work.

Miles Plumlee still looks lost on the low block. He's just not a guy you count on for creating the play from a post-up position. He had a very forgettable 13 minutes so far, with 4 turnovers against just one rebound and four points.

The starters allowed Flamengo to go on a 16-7 run to start the second half to pull within 2 points though before Hornacek had to call another timeout.

Even putting in three subs - Thomas, Green and Goodwin - didn't help quell the Flamengo fire. The Suns just didn't have it. At all. Losing rebounds and passes from just not trying hard enough.

It got to be tough to watch.

The Suns finally pulled back ahead by 5 on a hesitation dribble by Isaiah Thomas to get the and-one layup. Thomas has otherwise been quiet tonight, but still somehow has 8 points and 3 assists. Leads the team in assists, by the way.

End of three - Suns 71, Flamengo 66.

The fourth quarter began with a bit of Archie and Shav, though Shav missed an open three so his shot at being Channing is over. Sorry Shav.

The Suns went on a 17-0 run, getting up 80-66 before Flamengo scored again. And that was only on a goaltend call where Green almost blocked a layup.

Still, no rookies.

When Hornacek subbed back in, it was Goran Dragic. Not his brother Zoran. Or T.J. Warren. Or Tyler Ennis. Or any of the non-roster guys trying to make a team.

Still, the main players couldn't blow out a team that had never faced an NBA team before.

Did I say this was an ugly game?

Thomas and Green carried the Suns in the fourth quarter, with Isaiah being their best shooter on the night. Thomas finished the game with 18 points and 4 assists while Gerald Green pumped in 13 of his own.

Finally, the Suns put in their two first round picks, and Tyler Ennis responded with two quick turnovers on consecutive possessions. Oh well. He just turned 20.

Goran finished the game with Ennis, T.J. Warren, Miles Plumlee and P.J. Tucker. The Suns defense suffered with the rookies and an unfamiliar rotation.

Finally, Ennis scored on a floater and Warren pumped in a three-pointer to break their cherries.

Zoran Dragic was the human victory cigar... and hit a three pointer on his first shot attempt!

Suns won 100-88.

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