For the most part, this summer has zip-locked a hopeful freshness around the Phoenix Suns. It began when Lance Blanks was relieved of his duties and the Suns hired a well-received replacement in Ryan McDonough.
Aside from Michael Beasley’s run-in with Scottsdale police on Tuesday, there’s been a lot more positive than negative in the draft, through trade maneuvers and by hiring coach Jeff Hornacek. Another smaller bit of good news came in a single tweet by rookie Archie Goodwin, who on Friday afternoon said he was honored to be named the NBA Rookie Transition Program MVP.
— Archie Goodwin (@A1Laflare10) August 9, 2013
I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds like a good thing for the 18-year-old. After all, it was Beasley who was fined $50,000 for being involved in an incident at the program in 2008. And Minnesota Timberwolves guard Shabazz Muhammad was sent home this year after inviting a woman into his room without receiving proper permission.
Goodwin already showed he could make an impact on the court during the Suns’ strong Summer League run, and he has put the fragile discussion of Alex Len and his problematic ankles in the back of most people’s minds.
That’s called a good start.
Thoughts on Gortat’s foot pain
Jared Dudley and Luis Scola made it easy for newly-appointed general manager Ryan McDonough to deal them — both remained professional through a painful 2012-13 season and neither made a peep about playing elsewhere. By doing so, they probably helped their value to be moved.
The Suns’ two players most vocal about their personal situations, Shannon Brown and Marcin Gortat, remain in Phoenix. Brown especially was visible around U.S. Airways Center this summer and showed he can have a fresh start with Lindsey Hunter — the man who picked on him and nobody else — gone. But Gortat’s future remains a mystery.
A lingering foot injury hasn’t helped in any way.
Gortat sprained his mid-foot on March 6 but the effects are still lingering. He left the Polish National Team for the United States more than a week ago to undergo testing on the Lisfranc injury. according to Eurobasket2013.org.
“Physically, I feel better and better, the rehabilitation is going well, but I still feel the pain of the foot, even during training,” the 29-year-old big man said.
“I have to make sure that I will be healthy for the whole season.”
Gortat is supposed to return to Europe for Eurobasket exhibition games around mid-August. Still, it’s not helping his stock if the Suns are indeed shopping him around. And it makes for an ugly picture in Phoenix if both Gortat and Alex Len begin the season struggling with their respective recoveries.
Or maybe that’s a good thing if you’re really into tanking.
Beat.la not a two-way street?
Michael Schwartz noted the Suns’ acquisition of the domain name Beat.la in his breakdown of how Phoenix could stretch Michael Beasley’s contract, but it’s interesting to think about how the team will use it this coming year.
The Suns first play the Lakers in Staples on Dec. 10 and then host them on Dec. 23.
Next year, both the Suns and Lakers could be in a hole of mediocrity — or in the Suns’ case, likely worse. Steve Nash could find himself captaining another eighth-seed threat, but in the first full year under Mike D’Antoni and with likely more focus this time around, there will at least be some high scoring. Likewise, Hornacek’s team should be capable of making that matchup go its way with all the speed and athleticism. When you think about it, last year’s Suns even make Los Angeles look slow afoot. So there’s that.
Another point: Los Angeles’ PR folk are pretty savvy themselves, so it’ll be interesting to see if they sling some campaigns back the Suns’ way to diminish any of this — especially when you consider the majority of Lakers fans would consider a number of other teams bigger rivals. Kobe Bryant may disagree.
And if the Suns are really making such stretches to rile up support, why not buy BeatTheSpurs.com?