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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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:
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
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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