PHOENIX — The Suns are about to tip off their final home game of the year, so of course the biggest news of the day was the Phoenix Mercury formally selecting Brittney Griner with the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft. Mercury coach and Suns player development specialist Corey Gaines addressed the media about the Mercury’s fortune, and he was also asked for his opinion on Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s comments about potentially drafting Griner.
“Somebody from the WNBA, (for their) name to be mentioned in the NBA, it’s just an honor,” Gaines said. “I’ll take it as that. He does what he wants to do.
“It’s an honor for the whole WNBA, it’s an honor for women’s basketball.”
At the same time, don’t expect Gaines to be open toward letting Griner try out for the Mavericks whether it be a PR move or a serious consideration — my opinion there is that it isn’t the latter.
“Summer League is messing with our games,” Gaines said. “I think that won’t happen. That wouldn’t be a smart thing. If (Cuban) wants to talk about it, talk about it – it’s better for us.”
- The Utah Jazz defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 96-80, shortly after the Suns-Rockets tip. To make the playoffs, that means the Jazz must beat a Memphis Grizzlies team that has something to play for on Wednesday while also hoping for the Rockets to beat the Lakers. This of course, will put Suns fans on edge. But if the Suns can beat Houston tonight, one would think that would give the Rockets a little bigger sense of urgency in their final game.
- There is a question as to whether or not the Mercury tanked to set themselves up for the No. 1 draft selection as Michael Schwartz wrote this summer. Gaines made a comment regarding his team’s luck that if taken out of context, makes the Suns’ option of tanking seem like a really good one. “I know some people say that it’s good to be good, but it’s good to be lucky,” Gaines said. “I’m also a person who believes you make your own luck.”
Gaines added that making the Mercury’s luck would include developing Griner into a dominating presence. It wasn’t an admission of tanking by any means, but it’s fun to think of it that way. Perhaps the Suns can take notes.
- Jermaine O’Neal, whose goaltend last week handed the Rockets a victory after the final buzzer, will not dress Monday night against the Rockets. He has missed time with a shin injury, though no reason was given in the pregame injury report.
- Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter said that the team’s training staff has said it’s unlikely returns for the final game.