Tonight is the first chance for Phoenix Suns fans to watch their team in action during the annual outdoor game at the Indian Wells (Calif.) Tennis Garden pitting the Suns against the Dallas Mavericks at 6:30 p.m. MST on TNT, but the man I am most interested in watching — or I should say listening to — is former GM Steve Kerr.
Kerr, who spoke with Suns.com about his transition and other topics on Friday, will be making his re-debut with TNT tonight as he provides color commentary on the matchup, but Kerr of course is no average color commentator.
As you well know, he spent the past three seasons calling the shots in Phoenix before deciding to leave the team this offseason and take a position at TNT that he had held for four years prior to joining the Suns.
The job of the color guy is to add in-depth analysis to help the fans at home see the game clearer and deeper. I could not think of a single person on this earth who could do a better job of telling the viewers stuff they don’t know about the Suns than Kerr himself.
This will be the case for all Suns games Kerr calls this season, a fairly awkward situation for him since he will be discussing players that he himself brought in, but I expect him to handle it professionally and avoid the temptation of ripping anybody in the organization for any differences he may have had on his way out.
Who better to discuss the development of Earl Clark than the GM who drafted him and spent a season analyzing his development firsthand and who better to talk about where the organization may be headed without Amare than the man making that contingency plan himself his last few months on the job.
Perhaps Kerr can even shine some light on what ailed the Suns in their embarrassing loss to the Raptors on Wednesday and what Alvin Gentry might be looking for from each of his guys as he attempts to figure out his rotation.
There’s also the added mystique of this being an outdoor game. It’s always kind of fun to watch NBA players struggle with the same elements that so many of us who play pickup ball at the park have to deal with.
The Suns shot just 40 percent in last year’s outdoor game against Golden State and even worse the previous year against Denver, so these conditions won’t be particularly helpful to a squad that hit just 14.7 percent of its shots from distance (5-for-34) in its first two games.
According to The Arizona Republic, tipoff temperature is expected to be a balmy 85 degrees, so at least cold weather won’t be a factor.
As for the game itself, I’m interested to see how the Suns react to being blown out so badly. Sure it was a preseason game that doesn’t matter, but a loss like that must be eating at their pride just a bit.
Steve Nash has never hesitated to stick up for what he believes in, and he’s done that again by speaking out about homophobic bullying, as LZ Granderson writes. … Thank God for Deadspin for providing us with video of this humorous exchange between Grant Hill and Reggie Evans in Wednesday’s preseason game. … Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said “everything’s fine” after he collapsed at Friday’s practice and was taken to the hospital, but he will not be joining the team for tonight’s game against the Suns. Dwane Casey will coach the Mavs instead.