As a Phoenix Suns blogger, it feels like the offseason is just now starting. That’s quite the contrast from last season when there was a major lull in mid-April, but with the conference finals run followed by a June and July chock full of breaking news pertaining to the Suns’ front office and roster, the news cycle has never really stopped.
Although there’s still a general manager to hire, the bulk of the Phoenix Suns news is now behind us for this offseason (although who could ever count out another trade?). So today I bring you a handful of links to stuff going on that has some kind of bearing on the Suns:
- So now all of a sudden once he hits New York, Amare Stoudemire might have some Jewish roots? How convenient. Stoudemire told The Associated Press he’s “soaking up the culture” on his current trip to Israel. He also said of his mother that “she studied the Scriptures and history and she believes she is a Hebrew. I grew up in a very spiritual home. It’s not about religion, it’s about spirituality for me.” He tweeted: “2 clear everything up: I’m studying history & want 2 learn about all religions. I think I might have some Hebrew Roots & i’m researching it.” This isn’t completely out of nowhere because STAT has been tweeting Hebrew words such as “shalom” and “laila tov” for quite some time now, but as his agent Happy Walters told AOL FanHouse, that doesn’t exactly mean he’s Jewish: “I think he’s excited about learning more about his roots, but it’s not like he had a Bar Mitzvah. If he finds out that his mother’s great grandmother was Jewish, then hey it’s possible. I haven’t checked to see if he’s circumcised, but regardless, it’s a stretch to call him Jewish at this point.”
- Since this has kind of been Wages of Wins week at ValleyoftheSuns, one more Wins Produced-related tidbit for you. In his analysis of the offseason based on this metric, WoW writer Arturo Galletti gives the Suns a B+: “Classic Suns pantsing the league on Childress and cutting payroll. The only reason I withhold an A is Frye. Looking at their roster they may not be done yet.” According to this analysis, the Suns had the fifth-best offseason of any NBA team, bringing in $6.35 million more value than they paid for. Not surprisingly, Miami has brought in the most value by a landslide (+$47.55 mil).
- I’m excited for the World Championships that start at the end of August largely to see how ’s improvement translates to his national team. We may have gotten an early sneak peak when he threw up a triple-double against China earlier this week. The official box score has Dragic with 15 points, 10 boards, and 10 assists, leading his team in each statistical category.
- The New York Times took a look at “the new generation of NBA executives,” particularly focusing on the Suns’ new president of basketball operations Lon Babby and Portland’s new GM Rich Cho. Both Babby and Cho come from legal backgrounds, and this story details the potential shift in how teams may build their front offices in the future that Suns owner Robert Sarver was talking about at Babby’s introductory press conference. “You use that background and knowledge to help you make trades, in contract negotiations,” Cho said. “That’s one thing where it helps me and Lon.”
- I recently joined Zarar Siddiqi on a podcast for Raptors Republic. The main focus of the podcast was to speak about how Leandro Barbosa might fit into Toronto, but we also delved into ’s fit in Phoenix and compared with Andrea Bargnani.
- ESPN’s David Thorpe, who copiously tweeted at both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues, ranked the rookies who competed this summer. Of course John Wall was No. 1 and it’s no surprise to see DeMarcus Cousins at No. 3, but you might not have expected Thorpe to rank Suns second-rounder at No. 13 after the former Yellow Jacket amassed 15.4 ppg and 7.4 rpg to go with a block per contest in Vegas. Wrote Thorpe of Lawal: “Lawal represents the highest-ranked player here that is going to have the toughest transition to the real show. He’s a back-to-the-basket banger, and those guys rarely make it as second-round picks. On the other hand, he locked in as a rebounder during summer league, and that is the best way he can assure himself opportunities to stick in the NBA.”
- TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott finds an interesting correlation between the way Google has conquered the Internet with “applied mathematics” and the advanced stats movement. Abbott writes, “And here’s where hoops stats are getting to be a bit like Google … All those things I listed above that matter to winning but aren’t easily measured? If they matter to winning, they may be mired in a lot of noise, but they’re in plus/minus somewhere. In other words, you kind of can measure heart, if it leads to winning.”
- Mark Travis from ButTheGameIsOn.com feels the Phoenix Suns’ immediate future is surprisingly bright thanks to the moves they have made to replace Amare Stoudemire with Hedo Turkoglu, , and . Travis writes, “When you really look at what Phoenix has done this off-season, they’ve done a manageable job replacing what they had with Amare. Of course, it’d be really hard to find a better combo than the one Nash and Amare formed during their tenure in Phoenix, but as much as you can replace a player like that, Robert Sarver and his vacant GM spot have done a nice job doing so.”