Suns sign Chandler Hutchison

The Phoenix Suns have signed small forward Chandler Hutchison.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Hutchison has appeared in 97 career NBA games (25 starts) with Chicago and Washington through his first three seasons, also appearing in two playoff games with the Wizards this past season. The 25-year-old holds career regular season averages of 5.7 points on 44.1% shooting and 3.8 rebounds in 18.2 minutes.

Originally the 22nd overall pick by the Bulls in the 2018 NBA Draft, Hutchison entered the league following a standout four-year career at Boise State University. As a senior in 2017-18, media tabbed him the Mountain West Player of the Year as he averaged 20.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals for the Broncos.

Brooklyn Nets trade Landry Shamet to Phoenix Suns

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired guard Jevon Carter and the draft rights to center Day’Ron Sharpe, the 29th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft, from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for guard Landry Shamet.

Carter (6’1”, 200) has appeared in 157 games (six starts) across three seasons with Phoenix (2019-21) and Memphis (2018-19), recording averages of 4.5 points on 38.6 percent shooting from the field, 38.1 percent from 3-point range and 80.3 percent from the free-throw line, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 14.3 minutes per game. The 25-year-old saw action in 60 games (one start) with the Suns in the 2020-21 campaign, averaging 4.1 points on 42.2 percent shooting from the field and 37.1 percent from distance, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 11.9 minutes per contest. Carter also played in the first seven playoff games of his career, helping Phoenix advance to the NBA Finals. The Maywood, Ill., native was originally selected with the 32nd overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft by the Grizzlies after a four-year career at West Virginia. Carter enjoyed a decorated collegiate run, earning Big 12 All-Defensive team honors four times, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors twice, second-team All-American honors as a senior and finished his career as West Virginia’s all-time leader in steals.

Sharpe (6’11”, 265) spent one year at the University of North Carolina, appearing in 29 games (four starts), while averaging 9.5 points on 51.9 percent shooting from the field, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 19.1 minutes per game en route to ACC All-Freshman team honors. The ACC’s leading offensive rebounder (3.4 per game) and the nation’s leader in offensive rebound percentage (18.3 percent), Sharpe finished second in voting for both ACC Freshman of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year. He registered six double-doubles, scored in double figures 12 times and grabbed double digit rebounds in eight games. The 19-year-old native of Greenville, N.C., tied for the team lead in blocked shots (26), ranked second on the Tar Heels in rebounds per game and finished third in steals (23). Sharpe is currently competing for Brooklyn’s NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas.

Shamet was acquired by the Nets from the Los Angeles Clippers as part of a three-team trade on Nov. 19, 2020. In his lone season in Brooklyn, Shamet saw action in 61 games (12 starts), registering averages of 9.3 points on 40.8 percent shooting from the field, 38.7 percent shooting from 3-point range and 84.6 percent shooting from the free-throw line, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 23.0 minutes per game. He also appeared in all 12 of Brooklyn’s 2021 playoff games, averaging 4.2 points in 17.2 minutes per contest. Shamet has played in 193 games (69 starts) across three seasons with Brooklyn, the Clippers (2019-20) and Philadelphia (2018-19), notching averages of 9.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 24.1 minutes per game.

Devin Booker wins 2020-21 Season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award

The NBA today announced Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker as the winner of the 2020-21 Season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award.

Booker, who is currently playing in the NBA Finals, was selected by fans during a 12-day public voting period as well as by an NBA executive panel for his exceptional community outreach in the greater Phoenix area over the past several months.

Per the league: “This season, Booker furthered his commitment to the Phoenix community, donating $500,000 to five Arizona community groups for their respective efforts to improve the lives of local youth and families through his Devin Booker Starting Five Initiative, which has committed a total of $2.5 million over the course of five years – $500,000 annually – to five different youth-serving nonprofits in Arizona. Known as the second Starting Five class, Arizona Autism United, Central Arizona Shelter Services, YMCA of Southern Arizona, GAP Ministries and Elevate Phoenix each received a $100,000 grant from Booker to help address critical funding needs following the pandemic and support their respective efforts to improve the lives of local youth and families. The first class — Special Olympics Arizona, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, UMOM New Day Centers and Ability 360— received their $100,000 grants in late 2019.”

Game schedule for the 2021 NBA Finals

The game schedule for the 2021 NBA Finals, between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks, is as follows:

Suns vs. Bucks NBA Finals Game Schedule:

Game 1: Tue July 6, Bucks at Suns, 9PM ET, ABC

Game 2: Thu July 8, Bucks at Suns, 9PM ET, ABC

Game 3: Sun July 11, Suns at Bucks, 9PM ET, ABC

Game 4: Wed July 14, Suns at Bucks, 9PM ET, ABC

Game 5: Sat July 17, Bucks at Suns, 9PM ET, ABC (if necessary)

Game 6: Tue July 20, Suns at Bucks, 9PM ET, ABC (if necessary)

Game 7: Thu July 22, Bucks at Suns, 9PM ET, ABC (if necessary)

Suns now one win away from reaching the 2021 NBA Finals

The Phoenix Suns are now one win away from reaching the 2021 NBA Final. Here’s Arizona Sports on it:

The Suns survived a game from the Dark Ages, from a bygone era when defenses ruled the earth. Rarely have style points mattered less.

They fought their emotions. They haggled with referees. They scored 84 points in a playoff game and somehow awaken on the doorstep of the NBA Finals.

Their victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals was a masterpiece of winning ugly. No apologies necessary.

“That was a slugfest,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “That’s what playoff basketball is all about.”

What a bizarre triumph. What a strange game. Devin Booker ditched his mask after missing a layup. Chris Paul lost a shoe. Abdel Nader took Torrey Craig’s minutes, playing for the first time since mid-March. The two teams combined to miss 111 shots. They played four full minutes in the fourth quarter where neither team made a field goal.

It remains unclear when Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard may return to action. At this point, there is no reason to think it’ll be for tomorrow’s Game 5.

Suns beat Clippers 84-80 to take 3-1 Western Conference Finals lead

Los Angeles Times: Imperfect but impossible to count out in Game 4 of their Western Conference finals against Phoenix, the Clippers followed what had become their traditional playoff plot line Saturday inside Staples Center: tie themselves in knots by mistakes often of their own doing, then produce a daring, improbable escape to stay alive. Their 16-point deficit in the third quarter was down to just one with 10 minutes to play, the arena coming alive at the same time as the home team. But given shot after shot to even this series, one of the NBA’s top offenses missed over and over, sapped by a devastating combination of tired legs and woeful execution on their way to an 84-80 loss. The Clippers were 0 for 12 in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie or take the lead and did not make a field goal for more than five consecutive minutes in the quarter. And still, another 2-2 tie, after falling behind 2-0, was there for them.

OC Register: Phoenix will be playing for an opportunity to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. With a Staples Center sellout crowd of 18,222 agonizing on its collective feet for much of the suffocating fourth quarter Saturday, when the Clippers shot 3 for 19 and the Suns went 4 for 19, and 0 for 6 and 0 for 3 from 3-point range, respectively. The Clippers were 0 for 12 on fourth-quarter shots that could’ve tied the score or given them the lead, the most such attempts without a make in the fourth quarter of a game over the past 25 postseasons. They drew within one point four times in the fourth, but they couldn’t ever pull in front. “We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.

OC Register: In his second game back following COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Paul finished with 18 points and seven assists. Deandre Ayton finished with 19 points and a career playoff-high 22 rebounds. And Devin Booker scored a game-high 25 points on 8-for-22 shooting before fouling out in the final minute.

OC Register: The Clippers shot 32% (27 for 83) for the game; Phoenix was a smidge better at 36% (31 for 86). The Clippers made just five 3-pointers in the game – fewer than in all but one game this season. The Suns hit just four from deep.

Phoenix Suns GM James Jones wins 2020-21 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award

NBA team basketball executives have selected Phoenix Suns General Manager James Jones as the winner of the 2020-21 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. This is the first NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award for Jones, who has served two seasons as the Suns’ general manager and four seasons overall in the team’s front office.

Jones received nine of the 30 first-place votes and earned 65 total points from the voting panel, which comprised one basketball executive from each team. Utah Jazz Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey finished in second place with 61 points (nine first-place votes). Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks finished in third place with 51 points (five first-place votes). Executives were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

With Jones leading the Basketball Operations department, Phoenix assembled a roster that posted the second-best record in the NBA (51-21) and the fifth-highest single-season winning percentage in franchise history (.708). The Suns made the NBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Head coach Monty Williams, whose hiring in May 2019 was overseen by Jones, finished in second place for the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year Award.

Last November, Jones reshaped the Suns’ roster by acquiring guard Chris Paul in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder and signing forward Jae Crowder as a free agent. Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists in his first season with Phoenix and joined Suns guard Devin Booker as a 2021 NBA All-Star selection. Crowder made a team-high 148 three-pointers this season.

Jones also re-signed forward Dario Šarić, who averaged 8.7 points and 3.8 rebounds this season as a valuable reserve. Key contributors also included Cameron Payne, who averaged 8.4 points and 3.6 assists in his first full season as a Sun after signing with Phoenix in June 2020 in advance of the 2019-20 season restart. Jones further bolstered the roster during the season as the Suns acquired forward Torrey Craig in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks on March 18. Craig averaged 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 32 games with Phoenix.

Phoenix hired Jones as vice president of basketball operations in July 2017. He handled general manager duties on an interim basis for the 2018-19 season and was named the team’s GM in April 2019. Jones joined the Suns after playing 14 seasons and winning three championships in the NBA.

FYI: Doc Rivers and Monty Williams remain tight

It’s always interesting knowing which coaches in the league keep in regular contact with each other. As opposed to the ones who only say hello when their teams are playing against each other. Via the Arizona Republic:

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers said he and [Phoenix Suns coach] Monty Williams “talk literally once a week at least.”

The two had something very special to discuss Thursday night after the Phoenix Suns eliminated the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers to give Williams his first career playoff series victory in seven seasons as a head coach.

“I’m just happy for Monty,” said Rivers, who was teammates with Williams in New York and coached him in Orlando. “Listen, the Suns have proven all year they’re good, they’re talented and they’re well coached. Very proud of Monty.”

Lakers vs. Suns Game 2 is tonight at 10PM ET

Lakers vs. Suns Game 2 is tonight at 10PM ET. Here’s the OC Register on the Lakers:

There’s an assumption that the Lakers have the proverbial “on” switch that they can flip at any time. The driver of this assumption is LeBron James, who has played 15 first-round series before this one and has not lost any of them. He’s looked wobbly before, most memorably going to seven first-round games against Indiana in 2018 with a Cavaliers team that was on shaky ground for much of the back half of the season. But if you’re betting on someone to advance in the playoffs, there’s nobody historically who is a better bet than James, who has made nine of the last 10 Finals.

There are other reasons to think the Lakers know how to respond, too. Anthony Davis tied his lowest-ever scoring output in a playoff game in the opener against the Suns, with just 13 points. The only other time he’s done that was in the Game 5 Lakers’ blowout of Houston – he came back with a 37-point outing against Denver to open the Western Conference Finals. Even coach Monty Williams didn’t want to take too much credit for slowing Davis down, because as his former coach, he knows how dangerous Davis can be when a handful of those jumpers actually are on target.

Will the No. 1 NBA defense give up 34 points to Devin Booker again? They don’t think so. A fully intact coaching staff from last season that didn’t lose two playoff games in a row last postseason? It’s a good bet there are some adjustments. There’s a ton of playoff experience up and down the Lakers roster that the Suns do not possess – that has to matter, right?

Suns enter All-Star break with 2nd best record in NBA

The Suns have been one of the best stories in the NBA over the course of the season’s first half. Via the Arizona Republic:

The Suns continue to have the winning fever as they’ll go into the NBA All-Star break on a four-game surge after beating Golden State, 120-98, Thursday night before 3,233 fans at Phoenix Suns Arena…

Winners of 16 of their last 19 games, Phoenix (24-11) has the NBA’s second-best record as it won at defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, 114-104, on Tuesday before returning home to top the Warriors (19-18) for the second time this season.

The Suns will open the the second half of the season March 11 at Portland, a team they throttled by 32 points late last month.

Heading into NBA All-Star break, the Western conference seeds are 1) Jazz, 2) Suns, 3) Lakers and 4) Clippers. Leading the Suns in scoring this season are Devin Booker at 24.9 points per game, Chris Paul at 16.0 ppg, Deandre Ayton at 14.5 ppg, and Mikal Bridges at 13.7 ppg.

The team is doing it on both ends of the floor. The Suns boast the 8th best offense and 3rd best defense through Thursday’s games.