Archive for the ‘ Phoenix Suns Blog ’ Category

Suns keep Earl Watson as head coach

Suns keep Earl Watson as head coach

The Phoenix Suns have reached an agreement with interim head coach Earl Watson to retain him as the 17th head coach in franchise history.

“Earl did a very good job with our team last season after taking over as interim head coach during a challenging time for the organization,” said McDonough. “Earl’s natural leadership qualities and his ability to connect with and motivate our players have stood out throughout his time here in Phoenix. We are excited to see what he can do with a healthy roster after having a full offseason to prepare.”

First named interim head coach on Feb. 1, Watson compiled a 9-24 in 33 games after taking the reins, including wins in three of the team’s final four games by averaging 115.0 points over those final four contests. The Suns ranked second in the NBA in rebounds per game after Watson took control and were one of the league’s most improved defensive teams over the season’s final month, allowing 5.1 fewer points per 100 possessions in the team’s final 16 games than in their first 66.

Watson originally joined the Suns as an assistant coach in the summer of 2015 after working the 2014-15 season as an assistant coach with the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League. Watson became a coach following a 13-year NBA career as a point guard in which he appeared in 878 career games with Seattle/Oklahoma City, Memphis, Denver, Indiana, Utah and Portland from 2001-2014. Watson averaged 6.4 points, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals for his career, posting highs of 10.7 points and 6.8 assists with the SuperSonics in 2007-08. At 36 years old, Watson is currently the youngest head coach in the NBA.

The NBA Development League, the Phoenix Suns and the Town of Prescott Valley, Ariz., announced today that the Suns have acquired the Bakersfield Jam and are relocating the team to Prescott Valley. The Suns become the 15th NBA team to own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate.

The team will be known as the Northern Arizona Suns and will play a 24-game home schedule at the 5,100-seat Prescott Valley Event Center (PVEC) beginning with the 2016-17 season.

“Today’s announcement is exciting not only to have the Phoenix Suns join the ranks of NBA D-League owners, but also to welcome Prescott Valley to the NBA D-League family of communities,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “I’m looking forward to watching the Northern Arizona Suns take the court in November.”

The Bakersfield Jam has served as the Suns’ single-affiliate NBA D-League team the past two seasons, with the NBA franchise running basketball operations. The Suns will now assume business operations for the organization, with the new team serving as an extension of the Phoenix Suns’ brand in northern Arizona.
“We are thrilled to bring professional basketball to the Town of Prescott Valley,” said Suns President Jason Rowley. “In addition to the basketball advantages of our D-League affiliate being close to home, today’s announcement creates endless opportunities to strengthen the connection with our fans in northern Arizona.”

Suns interim head coach Earl Watson and assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren both began their coaching careers in the NBA D-League, while six members of the current Suns team have NBA D-League experience. The team has assigned 15 players to the NBA D-League since 2001.

“We’re happy to have an organization the quality of the Phoenix Suns in our community and region,” said Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog. “It’s an exciting thing to bring the Suns’ brand and legacy to Prescott Valley.”

Launched in 2001, the NBA D-League has expanded from an eight-team league to a record 22 teams for the 2016-17 season. All 19 teams for the 2015-16 season were singly affiliated with an NBA parent club, a first for the NBA D-League, and the three teams joining the NBA D-League for 2016-17 are owned by the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls.

Brandon Knight has surgery for sports hernia

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight had surgery yesterday to treat a sports hernia. The surgery was performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.

In his fifth NBA season and first full season with the Suns, Knight averaged a career-high 19.6 points in addition to 5.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 52 games, one of just 10 players in the NBA to post at least those averages in each of those categories.

Knight has already begun rehabilitation and will return to Phoenix next week.

The 2015-16 NBA regular season ends Wednesday. With a 21-58 record, the Suns were one of the biggest disappointments in the entire league this season and didn’t come close to qualifying for the playoffs.

The Phoenix Suns today signed forward/center and Phoenix native Alan Williams to a multi-year contract. Williams initially signed with the Suns on March 8 and made his debut with the team last night at Utah.

Williams, who went undrafted in 2015, played earlier this season with Qingdao DoubleStar of the Chinese Basketball Association where he led the league with an average of 15.4 rebounds in 35 games this season, in addition to scoring 20.8 points per contest. Williams played with Houston at NBA Summer League 2015, averaging 20.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in four games with the Rockets in Las Vegas. He earned All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors with his top performances including a 22-point, 21-rebound game against Philadelphia on July 17 and a 27-point, 10-rebound game against the D-League Select team on July 10.

A 6-8, 260-pound post player, Williams completed a decorated four-year career at UC Santa Barbara in 2015. The Gauchos’ all-time leading rebounder (1,125) and second-leading scorer (1,732), Williams led the nation with an average of 11.8 rebounds in 2014-15 and ranked second nationally with 11.5 in 2013-14. He was named Big West Player of the Year after averaging a career-best 21.3 points in 2013-14 as he averaged 15.5 points in 112 career appearances.

Born in Phoenix, Williams attended North High School where he was a part of two state title teams and was named All-Arizona as a senior in 2011.

Alex Len now a focal point for Suns

Alex Len now being featured by Suns

Phoenix Suns center Alex Len’s emergence was so strong that he was one of only three official NBA Player of the Week candidates in the Western Conference last week.

Len did not win because of how great Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard played in an undefeated week but also because he shot just 38 percent from the field. Amid more opportunities, Len’s new experience with being the offense’s focal point will include missing shots that a 22-year-old center is expected to eventually make.

Entering Thursday’s game, Len was converting well when shooting close to the basket, going 13 for 16 on shots of 5 feet or less. Beyond that, he struggled in the paint from the 5- to 9-foot range, going 3 for 15, but his mid-range shooting was good (8 for 19). With his two-for-13 shooting in Thursday’s loss, Len has a 34.1 field goal percentage in the past six games.

– Arizona Republic

Suns sign Alan Williams to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns today signed forward/center and Phoenix native Alan Williams to a 10-day contract.

Williams, who went undrafted in 2015, has most recently played with Qingdao DoubleStar of the Chinese Basketball Association where he led the league with an average of 15.4 rebounds in 35 games this season, in addition to scoring 20.8 points per contest. Williams played with Charlotte and Houston at NBA Summer League 2015, averaging 20.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in four games with the Rockets in Las Vegas. He earned All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors with his top performances including a 22-point, 21-rebound game against Philadelphia on July 17 and a 27-point, 10-rebound game against the D-League Select team on July 10.

A 6-8, 260-pound post player, Williams completed a decorated four-year career at UC Santa Barbara in 2015. The Gauchos’ all-time leading rebounder (1,125) and second-leading scorer (1,732), Williams led the nation with an average of 11.8 rebounds in 2014-15 and ranked second nationally with 11.5 in 2013-14. He was named Big West Player of the Year after averaging a career-best 21.3 points in 2013-14 as he averaged 15.5 points in 112 career appearances.

Born in Phoenix, Williams attended North High School where he was a part of two state title teams and was named All-Arizona as a senior in 2011.

Williams will wear uniform number 15. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15

Suns waive Sonny Weems

Suns waive Sonny Weems

The Phoenix Suns waived guard/forward Sonny Weems today.

Weems, in his fourth NBA season, played in 36 games with Phoenix this season and averaged 2.5 points, 1.3 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 11.7 minutes. He originally was signed by the Suns last July.

The Suns’ roster is now just 13 players. According to Yahoo Sports, the team plans to sign Chase Budinger with one of those available spots.

Suns struggling badly on road

The only thing worse than sharing a bad franchise record is owning it.

If the Suns lose Friday on the road against the Orlando Magic, it would give Phoenix 18 consecutive road losses for the first time in team history. It would also be the second-longest road losing streak in the league over the past five seasons. The 76ers lost their first 18 road games this season for a streak of 23 in a row dating back to the previous season.

The Suns are losing by an average of 20.7 points per game during their road losing streak that began after a Dec. 7 last-second Suns win at Chicago…

The Magic is coming off a 120-89 Wednesday home win against Chicago and an off-day Thursday while the Suns played in Miami.

– Arizona Republic

Suns sign Phil Pressey to second 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns today signed point guard Phil Pressey to a second 10-day contract. Pressey initially signed with the Suns on Feb. 20.

In four games with the Suns, Pressey has averaged 5.0 points, 6.0 assists and 1.0 steals, with one double-digit scoring performance (10 points vs. Brooklyn on Feb. 25) and one double-digit assist performance (10 assists at the L.A. Clippers on Feb. 22). An NBA veteran in his third season, he played in 14 games with the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this season before averaging 13.0 points and 6.4 assists in 25 games with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League.

A 5-11, 175-pound guard, Pressey played in 139 NBA games (11 starts) with Boston and Philadelphia before joining the Suns. The 25-year-old played his first two seasons with the Celtics, averaging 3.1 points and 2.9 assists in 13.9 minutes in 125 games over 2013-14 and 2014-15. After going undrafted in 2013, Pressey recorded four double-digit scoring games as a rookie with Boston, including a career-high 20 points at Washington on Jan. 22, 2014. Pressey twice recorded his career-high of 13 assists in the 2013-14 season.

Originally the first GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season when he signed with Philadelphia on Nov. 4, Pressey averaged 13.0 points, 6.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 25 games with Idaho after being waived by the 76ers on Dec. 4. His averages in assists and steals ranked fifth and 11th, respectively, among D-League leaders at the time he first signed with the Suns.

Suns waive Kris Humphries

The Phoenix Suns today waived forward Kris Humphries.

Humphries, in his 12th NBA season, appeared in four games with the Suns after being acquired from Washington in a trade on Feb. 18, averaging 7.3 points and 8.0 rebounds.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 14 players.

Suns on 13-game losing streak

Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting on the 14-44 Phoenix Suns, who now have the third worst record in the league, ahead of the Lakers (11-48) and Sixers (8-49):

The Suns did not lose by 40 points again on Thursday night, but saying that is an improvement is like saying this season is better than the inaugural Suns team’s 16-66 campaign.

It is all relative.

Getting dominated for most of Thursday’s game by a formerly equally bad Brooklyn team at home in a 116-106 loss is arguably as bad as Monday’s third-worst rout in franchise history to a good Los Angeles Clippers team on the road.

The latest embarrassing Suns loss was also historic because it gave Phoenix a 13-game losing streak, matching the franchise’s single-season record from 1996. That one ended with a home win against the Nets. Not this time.

The Suns can still tie the franchise record for an overall losing streak Saturday against Memphis because that 1996-97 Suns team opened the season 0-13 and lost the previous season’s finale for 14 in a row.

Suns claim John Jenkins off waivers

Suns claim John Jenkins off waivers

The Phoenix Suns today claimed guard John Jenkins off of waivers.

Jenkins, a 6-4, 215-pound wing, began the season with Dallas where he led the team and ranked fifth in the NBA with 19.7 points per game in seven appearances during the preseason. He played in 21 regular season games with the Mavericks, averaging 3.3 points in 9.2 minutes. The fourth-year NBA veteran has played in 119 career games with Atlanta (2012-15) and Dallas (2015-16), averaging 5.2 points while shooting 44.6 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from three-point range and 85.3 percent from the free throw line.

Originally the 23rd overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by Atlanta, Jenkins averaged a career-high 6.1 points in 61 games his first season, ranking fifth among rookies by shooting 38.4 percent from three-point territory. The 24-year-old owns 18 career double-digit scoring games and three with 20-plus points, including a career-best 23 points at San Antonio on April 6, 2013. In addition to his NBA experience, Jenkins has played in 17 career D-League games with Bakersfield, Fort Wayne and Idaho, averaging 19.7 points on 50.0 percent shooting.

A native of Hendersonville, Tenn., Jenkins played collegiately at Vanderbilt University and earned All-SEC First Team honors in the final two of his three seasons with the team. Jenkins averaged 16.9 points for his career as he helped the Commodores reach the NCAA tournament in each of his three seasons, the only time in program history that Vanderbilt has earned three consecutive NCAA tournament berths.

Jenkins will wear uniform number 23.

Suns waive DeJuan Blair

Suns waive DeJuan Blair

The Phoenix Suns today waived center/forward DeJuan Blair. The Suns acquired Blair in a trade with Washington last Thursday, Feb. 18.

Blair, in his seventh NBA season, had averaged 2.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 29 games with the Wizards prior to being traded.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 14 players.

Suns sign Phil Pressey to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed point guard Phil Pressey to a 10-day contract. An NBA veteran in his third season, Pressey played in 14 games with the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this season and has averaged 13.0 points and 6.4 assists in 25 games with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League.

A 5-11, 175-pound guard, Pressey has played in 139 NBA games (11 starts) with Boston and Philadelphia, most recently averaging 3.9 points and 3.3 assists in 12.1 minutes in 14 games with the 76ers earlier this season. The 25-year-old played his first two seasons with the Celtics, averaging 3.1 points and 2.9 assists in 13.9 minutes in 125 games over 2013-14 and 2014-15. After going undrafted in 2013, Pressey recorded four of his seven career double-digit scoring games as a rookie with Boston, including a career-high 20 points at Washington on Jan. 22, 2014. Pressey twice recorded his career-high of 13 assists in the 2013-14 season.

Originally the first GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season when he signed with Philadelphia on Nov. 4, Pressey has averaged 13.0 points, 6.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 25 games with Idaho since being waived by the 76ers on Dec. 4. His averages in assists and steals rank fifth and 11th, respectively, among D-League leaders this season. Pressey has twice recorded his season-high of 21 points with the Stampede and has posted three double-doubles, including 20 points and a season-high 13 assists against Los Angeles on Feb. 8.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Pressey competed collegiately at the University of Missouri where he played three seasons and helped the Tigers reach the NCAA tournament in each. Pressey earned First Team All-SEC honors in 2012-13 after averaging career-highs of 11.9 points and a conference-best 7.1 assists. Pressey’s father, Paul Pressey, played 11 seasons in the NBA with Milwaukee, San Antonio and Golden State and is now an assistant coach with the L.A. Lakers.

Pressey will wear number 25. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15

Suns trade Markieff Morris to Wizards

Suns trade Markieff Morris to Wizards

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired forward Markieff Morris from Phoenix in exchange for forwards DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries and a 2016 protected first round draft pick.

“Markieff is a versatile, young power forward who brings athleticism and physicality along with a good shooting touch,” said Grunfeld. “He will be a very good addition to our team as we make our playoff push and gives us a proven starter at that position for the next several years.”

Morris (6-10, 245) holds career averages of 11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 345 career games (145 starts) while shooting .443 from the field, .324 from three-point range and .759 from the line in four-plus years with Phoenix. The 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft averaged 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting .465 from the field and .318 from three-point range in 82 games (all starts) with the Suns last season. He posted career-highs with 65 games of 10+ points, 19 games of 20+ points, seven games with 25+ points and three games of 30+ points along with 12 games of 10+ rebounds and 12 double-doubles in 2014-15. Morris also led the NBA by shooting 54.3 FG% (19-35 FG) in the final two minutes of one-possession games.

Morris has averaged 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in 37 games (24 starts) with the Suns this season. In those 24 starts, he has averaged 13.6 points and 5.9 rebounds. Morris was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games from Nov. 4-10, 2013, and finished fourth in the voting for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2013-14. He was teammates with current Wizards Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley for two seasons with the Suns (2011-13).

“We thank Kris and DeJuan for their professionalism and their contributions to our team,” said Grunfeld. “We wish them the best moving forward in their careers.”

“Today we added another first-round pick to our collection of picks while keeping our young core intact,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “We are excited to watch this group of players continue to develop and grow together.”

The Suns received Washington’s 2016 first-round pick (protected to nine) as part of the deal and now own three 2016 first-round picks with their own, Washington’s and Cleveland’s (protected to 10), as well as their own second-round pick.

Blair is in his seventh NBA season and has averaged 2.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 7.5 minutes in 29 games with the Wizards this season. The 26-year-old holds career averages of 6.8 points on 52.4 percent shooting and 5.1 rebounds in 424 games (179 starts) with San Antonio (2009-13), Dallas (2013-14) and Washington (2014-16). Blair, a 6-7, 270-pound post player, was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team following his first professional season with the Spurs in 2009-10.

Humphries, in his 12th NBA season, has averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16.6 minutes in 28 games with the Wizards in 2015-16. The 6-9, 235-pound forward has played in 719 career games (196 starts) and posted averages of 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds with Utah (2004-06), Toronto (2006-09), Dallas (2009-10), New Jersey/Brooklyn (2010-13), Boston (2013-14) and Washington (2014-16). The 31-year-old averaged a double-double in consecutive seasons with the Nets from 2010-12, including career-bests of 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in 2011-12.

Report: Markieff Morris traded from Suns to Wizards

The Phoenix Suns (14-40) have reportedly granted forward Markieff Morris his wish and traded him.

According to The Vertical/Yahoo Sports, Morris is being sent to the Washington Wizards.

And according to CBS Sports, the Wizards send Kris Humphries, DaJuan Blair and a future first to Phoenix for Morris.

The NBA trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. ET, though deals are often announced after the deadline.

Morris this season averaged 11.6 points (39.7% FG) and 5.2 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game for the Suns, though ever since Earl Watson took over as head coach Morris had been playing a leading role on the team and putting up impressive stats.

devin booker

Phoenix Suns rookie Devin Booker will replace injured U.S. Team selection Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2016 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 12 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star features first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against first- and second-year NBA players from around the world. TNT will televise the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge in the U.S. at 9 p.m. ET, and Sportsnet ONE and TSN will simulcast the game in Canada. ESPN Radio also will provide coverage.

Booker, the 13th pick of NBA Draft 2015 presented by State Farm, is averaging 10.6 points and shooting 40.3 percent from three-point range in 48 games. The 19-year-old guard is averaging 15.2 points in his 23 starts, including a career-high 32-point performance against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 19. Booker will also compete in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest on Saturday, Feb. 13 at Air Canada Centre as part of State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night.

Noel, a second-year forward-center, will not play due to tendinitis in his right knee. He is averaging 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks in 46 games.

Suns sign Jordan McRae to second 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns announced today they have signed guard Jordan McRae to a second 10-day contract.

McRae signed his first 10-day contract with the Suns on Jan. 29. The 24-year-old guard has appeared in five games with Phoenix, averaging 5.8 points and 1.4 assists in 13.0 minutes. McRae made his NBA debut at New York on Jan. 29, scoring 12 points and handing out four assists.

Prior to signing with the Suns, McRae earned 2016 NBA Development League All-Star honors as he ranked third in the D-League with an average of 23.1 points in 28 games with the Delaware 87ers. In his last game with the 87ers against Canton on Jan. 26, he scored a D-League record 61 points on 21-of-34 shooting from the field and 16-of-18 from the free throw line. In addition to 23.1 points, McRae had been averaging 5.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 35.5 minutes in his second D-League season, both with the 87ers.

McRae was the 14th GATORADE Call-Up of 2015-16 at the time he signed with the Suns on Jan. 29, his first regular season signing with an NBA team. Originally selected by San Antonio with the 58th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft then traded to Philadelphia on draft night, McRae played professionally in Australia in 2014-15 before joining Delaware for the season’s final 13 games and averaging 18.4 points. A 6-5, 179-pound guard, McRae played for Philadelphia at NBA Summer League in 2014 and 2015, also playing with the 76ers this past preseason before being waived on Oct. 26.

Suns sign Orlando Johnson to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Orlando Johnson to a 10-day contract. A two-year NBA veteran, Johnson was named a 2016 NBA D-League All-Star for his play with the Austin Spurs this season.

A 6-5, 220-pound guard, Johnson has previous NBA experience with Indiana in 2012-13, also playing with Indiana as well as Sacramento in 2013-14. Originally selected by the Kings with the 36th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, he has appeared in 96 total games averaging 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 10.5 minutes. The 26-year-old has four career double-digit scoring games, including a career-high 15 points against Atlanta on March 25, 2013, while with the Pacers.

Johnson has averaged 15.2 points while shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 48.6 percent from beyond the arc and 80.6 percent from the free throw line in 28 games with Austin in 2015-16. For his efforts, which include 22 double-digit scoring games and a season-high 29 points at Los Angeles on Jan. 16, Johnson was named a 2016 NBA D-League All-Star on Jan. 29.

Johnson also played with Austin in 2014-15, averaging 17.4 points in 43 games; one of the team’s assistant coaches was current Suns Interim Head Coach Earl Watson.

A native of Monterey, Calif., Johnson played collegiately at UC Santa Barbara where he led the Gauchos to two NCAA tournament appearances.

Johnson will wear number 0. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15.

Suns hire Bob Hill as assistant coach

Suns hire Bob Hill as assistant coach

The Phoenix Suns have added experienced NBA head coach Bob Hill as an assistant coach, the team announced today.

“Coach Hill is a creative and innovative teacher of basketball,” said Suns Interim Head Coach Earl Watson. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to our program and will be very beneficial to everyone involved in our basketball family.”

Hill compiled a 310-293 (.514) record over parts of nine seasons as an NBA head coach, last leading Seattle in 2005-06 and 2006-07 where he coached Watson. In addition to Seattle, Hill served as head coach for New York (1986-87), Indiana (1990-93) and San Antonio (1994-96), guiding his teams to the playoffs on five occasions. Hill’s best season as a head coach came in 1994-95 when he led the Spurs to a 62-20 record and reached the Western Conference Finals.

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