Archive for the ‘ Phoenix Suns Blog ’ Category

The Phoenix Suns needed a new coach, and the guy they’ve hired is a better shooter than the actual players on the team.

Despite this, Jeff Hornacek is of course expected to just stay on the sidelines.

It was reported last week that Hornacek would become the team’s new head coach, and the move became official earlier today.

Full info on the Suns hire of Hornacek is here.

The Phoenix Suns appear close to hiring Jeff Hornacek as their head coach.

A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Sunday that the Suns are in contract negotiations with Hornacek, although no deal has been finalized. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public announcement had been made.

The comments came after azcentralsports, which includes the Arizona Republic, reported Sunday that Hornacek reached agreement on a three-year contract.

If all goes as anticipated, Hornacek would be introduced at a news conference Tuesday.

Reported by the Associated Press

Goran Dragic

In a Suns season that went very much wrong, Goran Dragic did a lot right.

He led the team in scoring (14.7), assists (7.4) and steals (1.6), setting career highs in each category. He also averaged a career-high 3.1 rebounds.

“I thought the first half of the season he probably was from about 15-20 in the rankings among point guards. I think he jumped probably close to top 10 in the last 41 games,” interim head coach Lindsey Hunter said following the season. “Hopefully that will catapult him to possibly being an All-Star.”

If Dragic can duplicate his second half numbers (16.1 points, 9.5 assists in 36 minutes per game) into the first half of next season, then yes, an NBA All-Star Game appearance may be in his future.

“Every player has his goals, including me,” said Dragic, who had 15 of his 20 double-digit assist games post All-Star break. “My goal is to someday hopefully play in an All-Star game. That’s my goal, so every season I try to get better and better.

Reported by Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports

Damon Stoudamire

Damon Stoudamire was one of most popular players in Arizona history — an electrifying, high-scoring guard with a cool nickname.

Now, Mighty Mouse is headed back to the desert.

The former Portland Trail Blazers point guard and Wilson High School graduate was hired as an assistant coach under Sean Miller on Friday, a move that’s sure to be a big hit with one of college basketball’s most fervid fan bases.

“We are thrilled to welcome back Damon Stoudamire to the University of Arizona to become a part of our coaching staff,” Miller said in a statement. “Damon is an immensely talented recruiter, and is also very comfortable teaching and coaching the game. More importantly, his credibility in all aspects of our game is unmatched — he simply has ‘been there and done that’ at the highest level. I believe strongly that he will be invaluable in helping many of our current and future student-athletes do the same.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Phoenix Suns hire Ryan McDonough as general manger

The Phoenix Suns have named Ryan McDonough the team’s general manager, it was announced today.  He will be introduced in a press conference on Thursday, May 9, at US Airways Center.

“Ryan distinguished himself among an impressive group of candidates for our GM position,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.  “His natural leadership and communication skills will serve the Suns well. And, his prodigious work ethic and ability to identify talent will enable us to take full advantage of the 10 draft choices, including six in the first round, that we have over the next three years.  We welcome his championship pedigree to our organization.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Also among the finalists were Bucks assistant general manager Jeff Weltman and San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Scott Layden. Weltman also was a finalist for the Suns position three years ago when Lance Blanks was hired as general manager.”

The 33-year-old McDonough is considered one of the game’s brightest young minds, who combines a tireless work ethic with an expertise in player evaluation honed over the past 10 years at virtually every level of an NBA franchise’s basketball operations.

McDonough joins the Suns after most recently serving the past three seasons as the assistant general manager of the Boston Celtics, where he assisted Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge on all basketball-related matters, while being principally responsible for the draft evaluation of college and international players.  He combines the experience of nearly a decade of in-person scouting of prospects across the globe with an understanding of advanced metrics and statistical analysis.  During his tenure with the Celtics, Boston made two appearances in the NBA Finals, and claimed the 2008 title.

McDonough joined the Celtics front office in 2003 as a 23-year-old special assistant to basketball operations, rapidly moving up the team’s ranks with increased responsibility at each stop, always with an emphasis in talent evaluation.  He spent four seasons as a special assistant, a role that included a great deal of video scouting work (2003-07), one season as director of amateur scouting (2007-08), one season as director of international scouting (2008-09), and two seasons as director of player personnel (2008-10) before his promotion to assistant general manager in Sept. 2010.

McDonough played a prominent role in the front office of a club that has kept a veteran-led roster in the playoffs the last six consecutive seasons thanks to an infusion of young talent acquired through quality late first-round draft picks and trades.  Included in that list are the draft-day acquisition of four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo in 2006, and the 2010 selection of Avery Bradley, who was one of the NBA’s most improved players in 2012-13.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, McDonough grew up in Hingham, Mass., the son of the late renowned Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough, and the brother of ESPN broadcaster Sean and NFL player personnel executive Terry.

Shannon Brown

For a season and a half, Brown’s eyes widened when his play intensified for Phoenix. The topic of going from starter to bench fixture for two months also widens his eyes.

“I did what I needed to do as a starter and handled my business,” Brown said. “For some reason, they want to cut my legs from under me. I know I’m built for it. I did a great job of holding my composure and not letting it get to me to where I did something detrimental to my career. I showed a lot of character by sitting back while I was taken advantage of in a lot of ways. I’ve done everything asked of me in practice and made sure to show these people what time it is. It definitely hurts to sit on the bench, watching us lose night in and night out knowing I can help and being lied to. It’s been a crazy year. I’m just glad I made it through.”

Shortly after Lindsey Hunter became interim head coach, Brown moved to the end of the bench to create playing time for Wes Johnson, who is averaging 13.5 points as a starter. Brown made spot appearances in five of the past 27 games when Hunter was displeased with the team’s effort. Out of respect, Hunter said he would not use Brown in mop-up duty but also did not play him Saturday night when only nine other players were available at Minnesota.

“I was told that it would change,” Brown said. “It’s one thing hoping. It’s another thing being told that and it doesn’t happen. I could see if we were winning, but we just won our first game in 11 games.”

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Luis Scola

“We can’t just play the game and pick out the good parts of the game and say we play well for a quarter or two or three. If you don’t play well for 48 minutes, you don’t play well,” Luis Scola said following the team’s most recent loss Sunday against New Orleans.

He was just getting started.

“We just don’t know how to play well,” he continued. “We don’t know how to play basketball and that’s why we lose. Until we learn how to play 48 minutes of basketball, we’re not going to win games. I’m surprised we won (23) games playing this way. Many of the games we won, we did the same thing. We just overcame it somehow. I’m also surprised we didn’t fix it. We saw the problem pretty much the first week and we couldn’t fix it. It’s very frustrating. It’s a bad year.”

– Reported by Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports

The Suns marketers have stretched the usual Fan Appreciation Night into a Fan Appreciation Month.

The Suns players are unable to stretch a quarter or half that their fans appreciate into an entire game.

The Suns played their season’s best first quarter for a 37-23 lead Friday night. It was their highest-scoring quarter of the season. With a 64-55 halftime lead, the Suns had matched their best scoring half. Trying to stretch that effort for an entire game was like stretching gum too thin. The bubble popped.

The Suns rallied late but could not clean up the wreckage of a 10-turnover third quarter and lost 111-107 to Golden State at US Airways Center. The Suns are on a season-worst eight-game losing streak, their first one since the last Steve Nash-less team, and have matched the franchise record for consecutive home losses of six. By losing for the 12th time in the past 13 games, the Suns now have the NBA’s third-worst record (23-53)…

michael beasley

Beasley finished with 25 points, his second best total of the season, and his fourth consecutive double-digit scoring game, matching his season’s best streak.

“I just stopped listening to people,” Beasley said. “I’m doing what I know how to do. That’s really it. The more I listen to people, the more I got to think about. So, at times, it messes me up when I’m trying to think about a thousand things at once. I just stopped listening to people and just started trusting my instincts again.”

What people?

“Everybody,” Beasley said. “My friends, my family, my teammates, the coaches.”

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Goran Dragic

One of the best games of Goran Dragic’s career still wasn’t enough for the Phoenix Suns.

Instead, Deron Williams and C.J. Watson made a handful of crucial plays down the stretch and the Brooklyn Nets escaped with a 102-100 victory Sunday night.

Dragic fell a rebound shy of what would have been his second career triple-double with 31 points, 12 assists and nine boards. He was a point short of his career scoring high.

Dragic’s only career triple-double came with Houston two years ago and he knew he must have been close to one as this game progressed…

Brook Lopez added 20 points and Kris Humphries a season-best 17 for Brooklyn. Watson scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter for the Nets, playing without Joe Johnson, who bruised his thigh in Brooklyn’s loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday night…

Wesley Johnson added 21 points - including 5 of 9 3-pointers - for the Suns, who were coming off consecutive blowout losses at home to Washington and Minnesota…

Dragic reached double digits in assists for a career-best fifth game in a row. His 11 double-digit assist efforts since the All-Star break are second only to Milwaukee’s 12 and Jennings has played one more game.

– Reported by Bob Baum of the Associated Press

Phoenix Suns set to miss playoffs again

If a magic number indicates the combination of game results a team needs to qualify for the postseason, is the same number for playoff contention elimination an “unmagic number?”

If it is, that number for the Phoenix Suns is one. A Suns loss or one more win by the Los Angeles Lakers would eliminate Phoenix from postseason contention for the third straight season. It’ll be the team’s first three-year postseason absence since the span from 1986 to 1988.

The Suns host the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday at US Airways Center, and they’ll be short-handed when they do. Center Jermaine O’Neal will miss the contest with a left calf strain and an illness and according to interim head coach Lindsey Hunter, swingman Jared Dudley will probably miss the game as well.

“I’m thinking both guys have the stomach flu or something,” he said.

– Reported by Vince Marotta of Arizona Sports

Suns beat banged-up Lakers 99-76

Luis Scola

A worn-out Los Angeles Lakers team without Kobe Bryant fell apart in the fourth quarter in Phoenix.

Luis Scola scored all 14 of his points, including his second 3-pointer of the season, and grabbed eight of his nine rebounds in the fourth quarter Monday night and the Suns pulled away for a 99-76 rout of the Lakers, without Bryant for the second night in a row.

”I thought the game was kind of on the line,” Scola said, ”and I was just trying to be aggressive.”

Steve Nash scored 19 against his former team, but was just 6 of 17 from the field as the Lakers shot 33 percent for the game.

”We just hit the wall,” Nash said, ”our ninth game in 14 days in seven cities and you could just kind of see the wheels fall off. Especially lately, with some guys being injured, we’ve been playing a seven-man rotation and I think it caught up with us a little bit. Our legs just came undone.”

The Suns, blown out at Washington 127-105 two nights earlier, outscored the Lakers 28-10 in the fourth quarter to snap a four-game losing streak…

Dwight Howard had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but was just 6 of 18 from the field for the Lakers, still without injured Pau Gasol.

Wesley Johnson added 14 points for the Suns, who beat the Lakers in Phoenix for the fourth time in a row…

Goran Dragic had 12 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who had six players in double figures. Jared Dudley scored 13, Kendall Marshall 11 and Michael Beasley 10 for Phoenix.

– Reported by Bob Baum of the Associated Press

marcin gortat injury

Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat today underwent an MRI that revealed a Lisfranc (midfoot) sprain in his right foot.  The injury is expected to sideline him for approximately three to four weeks.

The 6-11, 245-pound center sustained the injury with 34.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter of the Suns’ game against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.  Including last night’s game, Gortat has appeared in every game since being acquired by the Suns on Dec. 18, 2010—182 consecutive.  He has started 138 consecutive games for Phoenix, every game since March 27, 2011, and is the only Sun to start every game this season.  He owns season averages of 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.61 blocks in 61 games (61 starts).

With a 21-40 record, the Suns have been one of the league’s worst teams this season, and being without Gortat will only make things worse.

jermaine o'neal

After a 25-day, nine-game road trip, the San Antonio Spurs were glad to be back in their own building, relaxed and ready to add to their 18-game home winning streak.

Maybe too relaxed.

Jermaine O’Neal had 22 points and 13 rebounds, Wesley Johnson hit a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime and the Phoenix Suns rallied to upend San Antonio 105-101, stunning a raucous crowd that had begun celebrating midway through the third quarter only to exit in silence.

Tony Parker had 22 points to lead San Antonio, which had not lost at home since Nov. 19 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tim Duncan had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and DeJuan Blair and Kawhi Leonard added 15 points apiece.

Luis Scola added 15 points and Goran Dragic had 13 points and 13 assists for Phoenix, which snapped a six-game losing streak against the Spurs…

Trailing by 11 points with 11:29 left in the game, the Suns rallied behind O’Neal. The veteran center had 13 points and five rebounds as Phoenix (20-39) outscored San Antonio 33-23 in the fourth…

Dragic and reigning MVP LeBron James of Miami are the only players leading their team in points, assists, steals and free throw attempts.

– Reported by the Associated Press

sebastian telfair

Dating all the way back to the franchise’s expansion draft, when B.J. Armstrong said he would prefer not to play in Toronto, there has always been a concern with the Raptors that players did not want to play for them.

Well, Sebastian Telfair, acquired before Thursday’s trade deadline, is happy to be a Raptor. He has already seen dysfunction this season.

“This is my ninth year in the league so I definitely don’t want to go through anything like we were going through in Phoenix,” Telfair, who will suit up for his first game as a Raptor on Monday against Washington, said. “You’ve got a goal to win and if you’re not winning you at least want to be out there competing at the highest level. We weren’t doing that over there in Phoenix this year. I’m happy to be a part of a team that got a goal for themselves and night in and night out they’ve got something to achieve.”

Indeed, the Suns are one of the most depressing teams in the league. They are last in the Western Conference, have a roster that is low on talent and have gone through a coaching change.

– Reported by Eric Koreen of the National Post

Suns not using Shannon Brown lately

shannon brown

Suns guard Shannon Brown is having his second consecutive career-high scoring season and runs little risk of that changing because he is not playing.

A roster lacking the talent to compete afforded Brown the opportunity to average 11.2 points because of the lack of creative scorers, but it also has sent the Suns staff in search of a new mix without Brown.

Brown did not play in any of last week’s three games and was not in the rotation again Sunday night against San Antonio after playing the first 53 games this season.

“I honestly don’t think what’s going on is supposed to be going on,” Brown said. “I really can’t do much about it but stay in shape and keep my mental (approach) strong and continue to work on my game, and hopefully things will get better for me.”

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Tony Parker will not play Sunday vs Suns

Tony Parker will not play Sunday vs Suns

Spurs point guard Tony Parker has been ruled out of Sunday’s rodeo road trip finale with a right triceps contusion, the team reported this afternoon.

The All-Star apparently suffered the injury at some point in the Spurs’ 107-101 overtime loss at Golden State on Friday night. Parker scored 18 points in the defeat, his career-best 48th consecutive game in double figures but also his lowest-scoring game since putting up 17 in a Jan. 16 victory over Memphis.

Parker was the Western Conference’s Player of the Month for January, in which he averaged 21.9 points and 7.9 assists and shot 56.3 percent. He has built a solid case to repeat in February, averaging 26.6 points, 8.4 assists and shooting 55.2 percent this month.

– Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News

Jeff Green gave Boston a sensational performance in his first start in nearly two years.

Green scored a season-high 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting and the short-handed Celtics routed the Phoenix Suns 113-88 on Friday night.

”I didn’t have a different mindset,” said Green, who missed last season following heart surgery to correct an aortic aneurysm. ”It was the same as me coming off the bench. I just tried to make a statement early and that’s what I did by attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line.”

Green started in place of 36-year-old Kevin Garnett, given a rest with Boston playing its third game in four nights…

Chris Wilcox had 13 points off the bench, and Avery Bradley and Jason Terry scored 13 each for the Celtics, who moved two games ahead of Milwaukee for seventh place in the Eastern Conference…

Paul Pierce scored only eight on 3-of-5 shooting for his fourth single-digit game of the season. But that mattered little to the Celtics, who were dominant from the opening tip in snapping a two-game skid.

Jordan Crawford, acquired from Washington on Thursday, made his Celtics debut and scored 10 points off the bench as Boston improved to 9-3 without injured guard Rajon Rondo…

Goran Dragic had 18 points and 10 assists, Markieff Morris scored 11 and Marcin Gortat added 10 points and six rebounds for the Suns, who have lost two straight and six of seven.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Suns trade Sebastian Telfair to Raptors

sebastian telfair

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have acquired veteran point guard Sebastian Telfair from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for centee Hamed Haddadi and a protected second-round draft pick in 2014.

“Acquiring Sebastian Telfair, who has played and started a fair number of NBA games during his career, addresses our depth issue at the point guard position,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo.

Telfair, 6-foot, 170 pounds, is in his ninth NBA season and owns career averages of 7.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 21.7 minutes in 535 games (192 starts). He has totaled career highs of 30 points (at Miami, Feb. 18, 2009), 13 assists (at Denver, April 9, 2005) and 48 minutes (vs. Indiana, Dec. 21, 2007).

Telfair, 27, has played for Portland, Boston, Minnesota, Los Angeles (Clippers), Cleveland and Phoenix. He posted career-high averages in points (9.8), assists (5.9) and minutes (32.2) with Minnesota. He appeared in 106 games with Phoenix the past two seasons, averaging 6.1 points, 2.4 assists and 15.9 minutes. He shot .349 (76-218) from three-point range with the Suns.

Telfair was one of the most celebrated high school players in New York City history, leading Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School to three New York PSAL titles and one state championship. He was selected out of high school by the Blazers (first round, 13th overall) in 2004.

A 7-2, 265-pound center, Haddadi became the first Iranian-born player in NBA history when he made his debut with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008-09.  Haddadi, who played his first four-plus seasons with the Grizzlies (2008-13), was part of the Jan. 30 trade between Memphis and Toronto that sent Rudy Gay to the Raptors.

Haddadi owns career averages of 2.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 134 career contests, and this season appeared in 13 games for Memphis before the trade.  He has not played a game as a member of the Raptors.

marcus morris

The Phoenix Suns today acquired second-year forward Marcus Morris from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Phoenix’s 2013 second-round draft pick, the club has announced.  In a related move, Phoenix has waived forward Luke Zeller.

“We have been intrigued for quite some time about the potential synergy from having both of the Morris twins on our team.  So we are excited to have the opportunity to welcome Marcus to the Suns,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.

Marcus is the identical twin brother of Suns forward Markieff Morris, who is the older of the two.  Born just seven minutes apart, the pair was drafted approximately five minutes apart, selected with consecutive picks in the lottery of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Suns (Markieff, 13th) and Rockets (Marcus, 14th) after decorated three-year careers at the University of Kansas. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Morris twins become just the second pair of twins in NBA history to become teammates, joining Dick and Tom Van Arsdale, who were teammates with the Phoenix Suns in 1976-77.  They become the 13th pair of brothers to play together and join the Indiana Pacers’ Ben and Tyler Hansbrough as active members of that group.

A 6-9, 235-pound forward, Marcus has appeared in 71 games (17 starts) as a professional, all with the Rockets, and owns career averages of 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 18.0 minutes. This season, he has seen a marked jump in production, averaging career highs of 8.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 21.4 minutes in 54 appearances (17 starts).  Morris has scored in double figures 24 times already this season, including two 20-point efforts, and a career-high 24 points on Dec. 29 against Oklahoma City.  The former Jayhawk has made 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts this season, and has connected on 74 three-pointers in his sophomore campaign after making two as a rookie.

A three-year starter at the University of Kansas, Morris averaged 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds as a collegian, including a team-best 17.2 points and 7.6 rebounds in his standout junior season in 2010-11.  Morris was named Big 12 Player of the Year, Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player, a Wooden Award Finalist and Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist in 2010-11 before declaring for the NBA Draft.

klay thompson

With his team stuck in a season-high, six-game losing streak, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson called facing the Phoenix Suns ”the biggest game of the season for us” just before tipoff against the Western Conference’s worst team.

Apparently his players got the message.

Klay Thompson had 28 points and eight rebounds, David Lee finished with 19 points and 11 boards and the Warriors held on to beat the Suns 108-98 on Wednesday night to end their longest slide of the season.

”This is a game we should have won and we did win,” Jackson said. ”And I like the fashion in which we did it.”

Jarrett Jack added 21 points off the bench and Stephen Curry scored 20, with both making some key shots late to secure Golden State’s first victory in almost three weeks. The Warriors hadn’t won since routing Phoenix 113-93 on Feb. 2, and some offered an even simpler solution to the problem…

Goran Dragic had 20 points and 10 assists and Jermaine O’Neal added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost five straight to Golden State, including all three meetings this season. Phoenix went down by 10 points in the first quarter and played from behind the rest of the way…

In another moment worth savoring for the Warriors, Andrew Bogut took his latest step forward. The 7-foot center had 11 rebounds, seven points and three blocks in a season-high 29 minutes while playing in back-to-back games for the first time since his comeback from left ankle surgery…

Earlier Wednesday, the Suns sent a future second-round draft pick to Houston in exchange for F Marcus Morris, who will join his twin older brother, Markieff, down in the desert, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade hadn’t been finalized.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

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