Portland Trail Blazers 90, Phoenix Suns 89 -- Lessons learned at the buzzer

Phoenx had three point blank chances to win at the buzzer, but the ball just wouldn’t go down as the Trail Blazers eked out a 90-89 win over the Suns in Portland. After a defensive miscue allowed Damian Lillard a walk-in layup that put Portland ahead by one point, the Suns called timeout and drew up a play for Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe got past Nic Batum, but his layup was too strong off the glass. P.J. Tucker followed up with a tip, but he too was too strong. Then Markieff Morris grabbed the rebound about six inches from the rim and went back up with it. The ball lingered for a moment that felt like an eternity before falling off the rim. Batum then went through the net to tip the ball out past the fray under the hoop and the game was over. Markieff grabbed his jersey in frustration. Bledsoe walked off the floor, slow and stoic, as red and white ticker tape fell from the rafters. The cheap ribbon stuck to the sweaty Suns the way I’m sure this loss will stick with them for a while.

The Suns were once again led by a 20-point performance from Bledsoe (23 points, six assists) and a double-double from Miles Plumlee (10 points, 10 rebounds). Gerald Green came off the bench and scored 17 to pace what is quickly becoming one of the best second units in the NBA. This was a grinder of a game where neither team shot the ball particularly well. For more in-depth analysis, let’s look at the three questions Kevin Zimmerman posed earlier today.

Will picking the right poisons continue to work for Jeff Hornacek?

The Suns game plan heading into tonight may have been the same as it was on opening night: let Lillard and Aldridge get theirs and keep the rest of the Trail Blazers from scoring. That plan went out the window early when it became clear LaMarcus Aldridge had not come to play at all. We’ll discuss Aldridge’s abysmal night in a minute, but when he went out with two fouls midway through the first quarter, the Blazers shifted their focus away from running plays for their stars toward very rapid ball movement. The Blazers zipped the ball around the floor in their half court offense and really made the Suns work to defend. Phoenix responded by jumping into passing lanes and forcing a ton of turnovers, especially in the second quarter. Portland’s 16 turnovers turned into 20 fast break points for the Suns who once again looked like the fastest team in the NBA. In the end, Thomas Robinson was the Blazers’ leading scorer with 15 points. Both Damian Lillard and Aldridge were not at their best, shooting 9-of-32 combined, but the Suns adjusted nicely on the fly and held the Blazers to less than 42% shooting from the field after Portland shot over 50% against Detroit on Monday. The Suns team defense is a thing of beauty. They communicate, rotate, and box out on every possession, and because of their immense effort, they are capable of holding offensively potent teams like the Blazers to 90 points at home.

How does Markieff Morris matchup with Aldridge?

As I mentioned, Aldridge was awful in this game. His first field goal didn’t come until the waning moments of the first half. He got it going at the beginning of the second with three quick buckets, but the Suns redoubled their defensive effort on him and really made him a non-factor down the stretch. Because of foul trouble, Aldridge ended up sharing the court with Markieff Morris more than he would have normally. When the two were matched up, Kieff had the clear advantage. Defensively, Morris stripped Aldridge of the ball on consecutive possessions, and his physical play forced Aldridge to miss several shots from inside three feet including an embarrassingly shorted dunk. One thing I noticed about Aldridge is that he doesn’t ever turn over his right shoulder in the post. That fact must have been in the Suns’ scouting report because they gave him the baseline every time he caught the ball on the left block, but LaMarcus refused to take advantage. Miles Plumlee, Channing Frye and Morris combined to do admirable job containing one of the better power forwards in the league. It was actually the Morris twins’ former college teammate, Thomas Robinson, who had the biggest impact in the paint for Portland. Robinson played with great energy and was a beast on the offensive glass.

Offensively, Kieff was not as effective as he has been over the last several games. He managed just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting. He settled for jumpers too often and didn’t assert himself in the paint the way he has been thus far this year. He missed shootaround with a mild illness, so it’s very possible he was not 100% on the court.

Will Goran Dragic start, and will he look improved from a game ago?

The Dragon cannot catch a break. Clearly energized by his clean bill of health, his return to the starting lineup, and the birth of his son, Dragic was incredibly active and agile in this game. In the first quarter, he actually dove for a loose ball twice on the same fast break, once on the offensive end and once near Portland’s basket. He was forced to sit with two quick fouls midway through the first, but when he returned to the game the spark was still there. He was dynamite in transition, getting to the basket with ease and finding open teammates for easy baskets. In the first half, he took several bumps on fast breaks that landed him on his backside, but he popped up each time no worse for the wear.

But he wasn’t so lucky in the fourth. Chasing down a loose ball on Portland’s end, Dragic’s head collided with Mo Williams’ dome. Goran started gushing blood immediately and had to be taken back to the locker room where he received 13 stitches according to Paul Coro. Losing Dragic was a big blow for the Suns. Before leaving the game with a boxer-like face cut, Goran had hit two step back threes on possessions when the Suns were really desperate for a bucket. Basketball is a game of inches, and in a game where the Suns literally lost by one inch, having the Dragon available for crunch time could have made all the difference.


Tags: Phoenix Suns Phoenix Suns Recap Portland Trail Blazers

  • foreveris2long

    No shame in losing a close one on the road but I have to wonder what Frye was thinking near the end of the game when he did not jump the screen by LA. He did not attempt to cut Lillard from going to the basket despite the fact his man set the screen. That is fundamental basketball 101. They will learn from this.

  • Luka

    This was a pretty bad game in all honesty. The Suns relied way too much on Bledsoe to bail them out. Markieff just had an off night. If he was sick prior to the game that may explain a few things.

    My beef right now is Frye. The guy is doing nothing to help the team win right now. He’s blowing coverages on defense, fouling when he isn’t supposed to. I just don’t think Hornacek can justify starting him anymore.

    Dragic really needed to be out there down the stretch. Hopefully his injuries aren’t serious. I was thinking he suffered a concussion.

  • Suns Fan in Portland
  • DBreezy

    Close game with several chances to win that just didn’t happen. So far the Suns are only scoring 98.9 ppg so on most nights it will be on their D to get them over and there was a big blown coverage tonight. I think the reason Frye keeps starting is that it’s easier defensively to have the twins play together vs 2nd units. At some point Len might change that an force Horny to make a rotation decision between Frye and Marcus, but that time seems a ways off at the moment.

  • JK

    This might be the first season in any sport where I am content regardless of whether the Suns are winning or losing. When the Suns win, it proves that McDonough knows what he’s doing and that he’s sped up the rebuilding process faster than we thought. When the Suns lose, it moves us one step closer to getting Wiggins, Randle, or Parker in the upcoming draft.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Heartbreak Hotel

    Why was Frye in the game at all with 11 seconds left ?

  • EBJM

    Incredible! Not a single word about the player of the game, Robin Lopez!

    Robin grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds. A career-high 10 defensive. The 10 defensive boards were the highest number he grabbed in the 1st half of any game. He once grabbed 12 in the 2nd half against Dallas 4/4/13.

    It is his third consecutive double-double and only the second time he has accomplished that, the first at the end of the ’12-’13 season meaning Robin has continued to improve since leaving Phoenix just like Forever predicted.

    Runner-up player of the game is Thomas Robinson, the former #5 overall pick of the Kings who was traded and traded by the Rockets to the Blazers. He tied his career high with 15 points and it was the first time he has led his team in scoring.

    The Blazers tied a season high of 32 points from the bench.

    After getting out scored 24-52 in the paint in the first game, they out scored the Suns 42-40 in the paint this time around.

    This is the first game of the season the Blazers made less than 8 three-point shots but still haven’t given more than six in any game this season.

    Every Blazer who played scored and it was the first time the Blazers won with it’s leading scoring tallying 15 or less since 2004.

    So to sum it up, this game was lost at the PF position. Frye and Markieff combined for 10 points and 9 boards with Frye making that defensive lapse at the end of the game. While their counterparts, Aldridge and Thomas combined for 27 points and 20 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals.

    So the Suns are back to square one, needing a true PF, Greg Monroe anybody? Lol (That was for Dave!)

  • Russell’s suns

    Dragic has only played in 5 games this year and he has now had freak injuries in 3 of these games. You figure at some point he will catch a , Lucky streak.

    Here’s how we know the Suns are going to be in playoff contention all year, they have 3 losses:

    1 point loss to Portland on the road
    3 point loss to the Spurs on the road to the Spurs
    7 point to the Thunder on the road (this game was closer Free Throws made it 7 points)

    Those 3 teams combined are 19-5 and the the #1, #2 and #2 seed in the West. The Suns are for real and with 6 first round picks and Oakofar’s expiring contract the Suns need to make a power trade:

    Here is an idea, we all know Lamarcus Aldridge isbeing shopped by the Trail Blazers because he will be a free agent after next year:

    3 team trade: Suns, T’wolves, Blazers

    Blazers send Aldridge to the Twolves
    T’wolves send Kevin Love to Phoenix
    Suns send 3 first round picks and Markieff Morris to Portland,
    Suns also send 1 first round pick and another player.

    Suns land Love
    Porland lands 3 first round picks and Markieff Morris
    T’wolves land Aldrige and a 1st round pick

  • Bam

    The trade will never happen unless Kevin Love demands out. He’s playing at an MVP level right now, so there is no way the Timberwolves will trade away him for LMA, even if LMA is good, even if u stack several first round picks for them.

    the fact that the wins come nearly all from the bottom teams and losses from the top teams doesnt say much. There are several teams who happen to fall in that category as well. By your logic, the 76ers are real title contenders considering they toppled the Heat (with MVP lebron James and past 2 years Champs), the Bulls (with Derrick Rose, and is another strong contender), and Houston (Who has 2 all-stars and are probably going to be contenders).

    Fact is that it’s still too early in the season to decide whether it’s real. There are many teams who seems to be able to do well early but got figured out near the end of the season. Considering none of the current Suns starter outside of Frye had started for any teams, people are probably still adjusting to what the current team can do, and it’s not a surprise that many teams have not done their homework in the scouting department and get bullied for that.

  • HunterSThompson

    Exciting game to watch! The confidence the Suns have is awesome to see this early in the season. Unfortunately, this game had some troubling aspects…

    The Dragic-Bledsoe/1-2 punch is nice to watch and clearly is tough for other teams to handle for 48 minutes. Would love it if they can both coexist on this team.

    Channing Frye looked old, slow, and lost out there….days after I thought he was actually bringing something to the table. Reversion to the mean – why am I surprised.

    Was going to give ‘Kieff a hard time, but after hearing he was sick I’ll give him a pass. Just did not have the same “attack” from the previous game. Marcus continues to underwhelm…

    Though that Horny had a few brain farts out there on substitutions. Why was an ice-cold Christmas subbed in for Green with the game on the line??? He proceeds to brick 1 or 2 shots that could have made the difference. Then Horny goes with Frye over Plumlee when everyone knows the play is going to the rim? Not sure about those moves…

    All game I was trying to figure out who Green reminded me of….and then it hit me! Pre-ankle drama Grant Hill (Duke-Pistons). Now don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing the two in terms of complete games, but Green has the same athleticism and energy I remember Hill having when he first came into the league, and that shot can be deadly when he squares up. I am developing some higher hopes for Gerald…

    How about Archie!!!!! Kid is raw, fast and LONGGGGG!!! I love his confidence, and if he can get in the gym with Bledsoe the added muscle could make him unstoppable in a couple of years. Does he project as a huge 1 or a deadly 2??? Some serious potential….

    EBJM summed it up nicely – this team is a banging PF away from being seriously scary. Who’s it gonna be???

  • HunterSThompson

    Can I make another comparison? Many fans seem to compare Archie to some version of Kobe…but I think he actually reminds me a lot of Joe Johnson. Long frame and smooth movement that can give teams fits. Bulk Archie up and we just might have JJ 2.0. I’d take that any day…especially if the kid has more killer instinct than JJ.

  • EBJM

    Put down the blunt Russell. Aldridge is signed all the way to the summer of 2015. The Blazers are not shopping him but of course Neil Olshey will listen to offers but will insist on an All-Star player in return. They are not interested in more picks because they already have a young core as Aldridge is the old vet at 28, just hit his prime.

    Aldridge simply wants to win and ironically former Sun Robin Lopez is making Aldridge and his teammates very happy with his complimentary play and unselfishness. Robin, Aldridge, Thomas, and Batum simply manhandled the Suns last night and they are considered a playoff bubble team.

    You cannot extrapolate the results of the first 8 games of a 82 game season to support your opinion. Too many variables and not enough sample size to make it accurate, reliable or even acceptable.

    The only thing “real” about the Suns after eight games is that they do not suck anywhere near what the experts predicted. Markieff came down to earth matched against up to this point a failed #5 lottery pick Thomas Robinson. That supports my theory that Markieff HAD to succeed against obvious inferior talent the last three games or should have retired. Last night proved he belongs on the bench and isn’t ready for prime time. I mean it was Thomas Robinson, come-on now!

    Kevin Love is similar to Aldridge. He just wants to win. He turned down a fifth year on his extension two year ago and made his 4th year an opt-out at his choosing so if he felt the Wolves haven’t made the necessary moves to make them a better team he could opt-out after four. So he is also signed until the summer of 2015.

    The Wolves have made significant strides under Rick Adelman. Having a coach of his caliber is significant in its own right as Love, loves Adelman and his family and have close personal ties. They, like Portland, have a great center paired with Love, Nikola Pekovic, the Montenegrin Hulk is a top 10 center in the league and THE strongest player in the NBA.

    Make no mistake about it, Love is very happy with the direction Flip Saunders has taken the Wolves. They brought back Corey Brewer who has found a home under Adelman. They signed scorer Kevin Martin to take provide outside scoring to open things up inside for Love and Pekovic. Rubio is still a fantastic playmaker and facilitator.

    They have a fantastic bench led by Chase Budinger, Adelman favorite Dante Cunningham, J.J. Barea and rookie back-up center Gorgui Dieng. The only player Adelman is tired of is failed lottery pick Derrick Williams who can be had for literally nothing.

    Both the Blazers and Wolves are theoretically better teams than the Suns built very nicely around Aldridge and Love. Conversely and historically the Suns once again are being built from the outside-in. Bledose is another in a very long list of great PGs in Phoenix that has gotten them a total two Final appearances and zero titles.

    Your proposal is beyond comical is because the ONLY reason either Aldridge or Love leave it will be for an opportunity to go to a contender, not a rebuilding team which despite the Suns competitiveness,that is exactly what they are.

    Your type of posts are the type that Butler finds very boring because it is so implausible, totally senseless. You are giving away all of the Suns picks in one of the strongest drafts in years where the Suns will have at least three opportunities to land three very good players to fill more than the need at PF. They could use an upgrade at SF and SG.

    The Blazers and Wolves are so much closer to the elite Western teams than many give them credit for. Both are extremely well coached by veteran NBA coaches and Adelman has been to the Finals. Adelman at first didn’t want to go the the rebuilding
    Wolves but he has really embraced it and it shows.

    Terry Stotts is a well-respected coach who has paid his dues. I saw him and talked to him several times during the Las Vegas summer leagues. He is a former player and a players coach who EARNED his job by coaching in the D-League and becoming an assistant for Nate McMillan, Scott Skiles and Rick Carlisle and has been a head coach in Milwaukee and Atlanta. Like Adelman he has been to the Finals winning as Carlisle’s assistant.

    But for some reason you think both franchises being so close to contending are simply going to blow it up for the Suns multiple draft picks and you seem to sincerely believe that either player would extend to play in Phoenix?

    That is just mind-boggling to say the least.

    Quality “bigs” are hard to come by in this league. Knicks can’t find someone to replace the injured Tyson Chandler and have been forced to use the ultra soft Andrei Bargnani. They are alternating the injury-plagued Amare and Kenyon Martin at PF with both players having minute restrictions.

    Washington ate the contracts of Shannon Brown,Kendall Marshall, and Malcolm Lee just to acquire a mediocre center in Marcin Gortat.

    The Cavaliers are trying to squeeze whatever they can out of Andrew Bynum because there simply isn’t any good centers available.

    The Heat are investing in Greg Oden for one reason, Roy Hibbert.

    The Pelican who arguably made a bad trade in shipping out Robin Lopez to over-load their back-court are platooning Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma at center to keep Anthony Davis at PF.

    Aaron Gray has 81 starts in the league.

    Bulls have to use old man Nazr Mohammed as Noah’s back-up because like many teams Houston grossly over-paid Omer Asik who will earn $15 million in 2015.

    Warriors invested bewtween $36-$42 million to an injury-plagued Andrew Bogut who hasn’t been the same since amare’s flagrant foul.

    The Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins is not happy because the Thunder aren’t happy with him but are stuck with him.

    Lottery picks and stiffs like Cole Aldrich, Byron Mullin, and Hasheem Thabeet still collect paychecks . Fatboy Eddie Curry is out of the league and in China at age 30. Hassan Whiteside is in china with Curry. Another fat-boy Garret Siler is in Puerte Rico. yet another fat-boy,Dexter Pittman is out of the league after failing ti beat out old man Nazr Mohommed.

    Yet the Suns can arrange Aldridge extending with the Wolves and Love with the Suns simply sending three 1st rd picks to Portland and one 1st rd pick to the Wolves. so how is Aldridge worth three 1st rd picks and Love only one?

    Obtaining Monroe would be so much easier and plausible, right Dave? Lol!

  • HunterSThompson

    An interesting read I found on Bleacher Report about the best Power Forwards currently in the NCAA. Some prospects for McD to mine for future gold?


  • Smovas

    Good analysis, HunterS.

  • http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/andy-kaufmans-brother-says-comedian-655760 Smovas

    VT & Hawki, funny that an Andy Kaufman story just came out.

  • Smovas
  • Smovas

    ‘Kieff has plenty of past reasons to come down on him quickly for his performance last night, but like Hunter, I will give him a pass for last night because he had the flu.

  • Voqar

    A bummer of a loss considering the suns controlled the game for the most part.

    The defense needs to be more consistently tight. At times the defense is very solid then there are these lapses where there’s seemingly no defense at all. It’s hard to clamp down 100% of the time but when not in full on clamp down mode it can’t be full on coasting either.

    I don’t get why he put in Christmas for green when the game is at critical mass when green was playing well overall and slightly less out of control, plus he’s not going to learn how to deal with pressure time from the bench. I get that Green can be erratic at times but taking him out for someone who hasn’t played at all didn’t seem to be a positive tradeoff. Even if green is a decoy and out there to hustle he might make something happen via hustle.


    It’s becoming apparent that Dragic is necessary to win against the better teams. His defense, energy, and playmaking gives Bledsoe the opportunity to strike at will, but once Goran is out Bledsoe becomes a one-man-band.

  • Foreveris2long

    Hunter and EBJM great stuff. As EBJM implied, Robin is an improving if not good center when you have offensive weapons who can create their own shot. He is an unselfish defensive minded center who is improving his rebounding. I am guessing the Pelicans are wishing they kept him. I have always saw something in him that few others appreciated ever since he played at Stanford. However I think Eddie Johnson wanted the Suns to keep him as well. Here is hoping he continues to progress.

    Hunter I have heard the body and energy comparison of Goodwin to Kobe and I tend to agree because he is so athletic and fast whereas Joe as you pointed out was smooth. I think Boston took Joe’s smooth approach for being unassertive, lacking the killer instinct. I love hearing the fact Goodwin is the last one to leave the gym at practice because IMO his ceiling has no limit.

    Voqar I bet Coach Horny agrees with you about substituting Christmas for Green. Green is learning not to force every play, we just have to be patient with him. Personally I think Green is becoming a good player on both ends of the court.

  • Mel.

    That final possession had a particularly–if not totally unintentional–comedy to it. The PDX announcers had been commenting about how weird the rim behavior was all night (Mostly on the Blazers’ possessions, and wonky layups that refused to bounce in their favor), but were amusingly mum on the fact that the same apparent “problem” factored into the Suns’ last shots refusing to fall.

    You hate the knife, ’til it turns its hilt to you.

  • DBreezy

    Agree with the call or not, but I suspect that Eddie Johnson was pretty much spot on with why Christmas went in late for Green. Listening to all of the local announcers on LP, they usually have a pretty symbiotic relationship with the coaching staff/front office. It’s pretty much always been the case here and it’s been fairly obvious when it wasn’t with guys like Hunter and Porter.

    I’m sure with Eddie’s long standing relationships with Horny and West, it’s even moreso and I bet he has a pretty good pulse on how the staff feels about certain players. All along during this short season, Eddie has made commentary to the effect that the Suns staff will live Green’s shot selection because they feel it’s important for his confidence and that will benefit him over the course of a game. That’s a pretty way of saying that he has poor shot selection, but that his energy on the break is great and he can get hot from distance.

    I think Horny saw that it was a tight game on the road with a young team, meaning that you can’t waste possessions. He had no Dragic and probably felt Ish was too small defensively. Goodwin has pretty good head on his shoulders for a young guy, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on him in that situation. So he went with Christmas, probably not because he was expecting him to shoot but to not screw up a possession. He missed his only shot, but it was a good shot from the FT area that helped keep defensive balance late in a tight game as the rebound of that type of shot tends to be shorter than a long jumper.

  • DBreezy

    “Fact is that it’s still too early in the season to decide whether it’s real.”

    I definitely agree with this. Even with Bledsoe’s play so far, I still feel that the stars of the season so far are Hornacek and his staff. They’re well prepared and have the players buy in. As mentioned on the postgame telecast last night, a lot of the Suns opponents have come in expecting a disorganized team that doesn’t play hard. A lot of the same things could be said about Brett Brown’s Sixers.

    However, it’s kind of like that old saying about water finding it’s level goes. There are teams that are more talented that have yet to find their way for various reasons like injuries, new coaches and players finding their way. That’s not to say that all of those squads will turn it around and make the postseason, but I do believe that many of them will rise more than people think right now 8-10 games into the season and others will falter relative to their current position.

  • TheSunsFan

    Hey guys, I’m thinking about picking up a bledsoe jersey.. what do you guys think the chances are of him not being re signed next year? I don’t wanna pay $100+ for a jersey and have it sit in the closet after a year because he got traded. (reminds me of my stoudemire and nash jerseys)

  • Foreveris2long

    TheSunsFan, I think they will sign him but it is going to take a lot of money to do so. Buy the jersey and live a little on the wild side.You will feel better about the fact you took the chance and it worked out. Buy that thing today.

  • Jeremiah


    I feel pretty good about the chances that he sticks around after this year and bought one myself.

  • Ty-Sun

    One of my favorite jerseys is a Jazz jersey. No, not a Utah Jazz jersey but a New Orleans Jazz jersey. #7, Pete Maravich. Man I loved watching him play and really hated seeing the Jazz move to – gag – Utah.

    But that got me to thinking about another former NO Jazz player that I enjoyed watching play that wound up being traded to the Suns before the move… Truck Robinson. Loved watching him play for the Suns too.

  • Ty-Sun

    Come to think of it, a PF like Truck is probably just what the Suns need today.

  • john


    The chances of re-signing Bledsoe are very high. But why would you want to buy such a hideous jersey? Go buy an ’80s jersey. ;)

  • Azbballfan

    I know alot of fans are going to say “we lost that game because of the last possession where we had 3 chances at the rim”

    i think we lost the game when we let damian lillard get a easy layup on a defensive break down

    most teams dont just miss on 3 straight point blank shots

    you really dont want to have to rely on a tip in to win the game

    the Suns need to go over that defensive error

    you cant just assume you will score on the next play

    i am sure thats the 1st clip they will bring up when its time to watch video

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Smovas….Could’ve swore I saw Andy Kaufman at a taco shop last week…..he was with Elvis.

  • RudeCerveza

    Stop bashing the Suns jerseys. They are beautiful and trendy. I couldn’t believe something like that can come from Arizona of all places. If you don’t like them, there’s a good chance you don’t have taste. Don’t worry you can still be a proper basketball fan without having taste, just stop advertising your deficiency.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    It was unconscionable to take Plumlee out of the game with 11 seconds left & replace him with Frye.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Rude, I’m with ya….think the new jerseys look pretty cool.

    Y’know….don’t think I’ve ever owned an actual Suns jersey….a million different Suns t-shirts ….but never an actual jersey.

    I hear the NBA Museum is looking for a “Leapin’ Lamar Green jersey.

  • Scott

    ^^ How nice to have a Maravich jersey and the memories to go with it! :)

  • EBJM

    Hey Ty-Sun the acquisition of “Truck” was tantamount to the loaded Lakers obtaining Pau Gasol. Suns had built on their Finals team by drafting Walter Davis the following year at #5.

    Draft wasn’t divided between playoff and non-playoff teams. Suns went to the Finals with only 42 wins and still retained great draft position. They had traded Ricky Sobers for Don Buse, a proven defensive stud and playmaker.

    Forward Curtis Perry had retired over back issues and Garfield Heard who never was much of a basketball player, a one-shot wonder if you will, had played for MacLeod at University of Oklahoma and that is why the gave up the bigger and #4 overall pick John Shumate for him.

    The net result was the Suns needed an insider banger to compliment Adams at center. “Truck” Robinson had led the league in rebounding with almost 16 per game while standing 6′-7″ and also managed to score 22 points per game. Turns out he wasn’t happy in New Orleans and asked to be traded to Phoenix. Ah the good ol days when Stars ASKED to be sent to Phoenix!

    Jerry Colangelo pulled off the steal of all-time in obtaining Robinson. Ron Lee, Marty Byrnes, two 1st rd draft picks and $500,000.

    The rest of the league pretty much felt the same way as they did after the Lakers obtained Pau Gasol.

    Jerry Colangelo would do it again with Charles Barkley. Andrew Lang, Tim Perry and coach Hornacek.

    That is why I alway mention Greg Monroe, he is the only one that could possibly be obtained without giving up the little bit of Star power the Suns do have.

    Can lightening strike three times for the Suns? I doubt it, stick with the lottery and the late 1st rd picks.

    Those Suns traded for three Stars and drafted two of them although Suns draft pick Ricky Sobers was good enough to obtain Don Buse. So they weren’t “bought” nor were they “homegrown” That method is the “norm” for building championship teams.

  • Ty-Sun

    Phoenix was my “first love” in the NBA but I have to admit that my first “pro” basketball team love was the New Orleans Buccaneers of the old ABA. Call me crazy but I used to love the ABA. They played high octane offensive B-ball (D was just another letter to the ABA teams) and they had that crazy 3 point line that the NBA called a gimmick back then. I guess they changed their minds on that. :)

    Even though it will be expensive, I still hope to be able to one day have jerseys from all the old ABA teams.

  • EBJM

    Then you must have loved when they won the rights to All-ABA, ABA MVP, ABA All-Star and ABA leading scorer Connie Hawkins!

  • EBJM

    Omer Asik just asked to be traded. Pelicans would be awesome with Asik next to Anthony Davis and they could reunite Ryan Anderson with Dwight Howard in Houston.

    Win-win for both teams. Most logical and easiest trade to be made, they both make almost identical salaries.

  • Scott

    Keep in mind that both Asik and Lin will be costing whichever team they are with next year about $15m. The cap space for each will remain $8m, but the salary is higher next year.


  • EBJM

    Another interesting trade for Asik would be with Boston. They were interested in him when he was a Bull’s free agent. The Celtics youth movement seems to include moving Rondo.

    Jeremy Lin has been coming off the bench, that is $16 million to two back-ups in Asik and Lin.

    Does Ainge send Rondo and Brandon Bass to Houston Lin and Asik? Is Rondo that 3rd Super-Star that elevates the Rockets to title favorites?

    The power out West could be shifting towards Texas soon.

  • EBJM

    Actually Scott that isn’t completely accurate. The new CBA is structured to limit the team making the offer to the RFA a max of the mid-level exception to a player with one or two years in the league like Asik. That worked out to $5 million in year one and two.

    BUT they can then can backload the contract up to the max which worked out to $15 million in the 3rd year.

    That is done specifically to screw with the player’s original team’s cap space in the third year. That is why both the Bulls and Knicks declined to match the offers to both Asik and Lin.

    That is why trading them becomes a problem for both teams involved. Even though they are only getting paid $5 million their cap hit is $8 million and the salaries have to match the cap hit.

    But the team taking them takes the inflated cap hit next summer. Instead of a combined $16 million for both players it goes up to around $30 million. So the Celtic’s cap hit for next season goes up by $10 million as Rondo and Bass are owed a combined $20 million.

    The Rockets cap hit would also increase by $4 million next summer as their cap hit was averaged across all three years at $8 million.

    It is a slick loophole that obviously helps teams trying to sign another team’s RFA but screws with them if they try and dump them before the contract expires.

    But for the extra $4 million cap hit next summer adding Rondo makes the Rockets legitimate contenders. Ainge could probably get the Rockets 1st rd pick this year and a couple of 2nds as the Rockets own six 2nd rd picks from other teams this summer. Maybe even the Rockets 1st rd pick in 2016.

    We’ll see how motivated Morey is to add that third Star in Rondo and Bass would probably be the Rockets best PF who already has experience playing with Howard.

  • john

    No thanks, I’ll keep hating those ugly turds, just like most people. However, I will say they’re better than the last generation of jerseys. Improving on that wouldn’t have been to difficult though.

  • dave:f32

    The new Suns jerseys are horribly unfashionable and quite tacky. A rush design

  • dave:f32

    Take it from me (a graphics guy) there are literally thousands of other designs that would have looked better than those Suns-stink-jerseys.

    Differing shades of Purple, orange, gray, a hint of cardinal red, black, white

    …and they are just so uninspiring and lack creativity the way they are right now. Same with the logo.

  • dave:f32

    I think Bledsoe will leave Phoenix cuz he doesnt like the jerseys. Did you see him frowning (like i gotta wear this? really) @ the fashion square mall event earlier this year?

    He still frowns when he`s on the court…poor dude.

  • john

    I know that in my days as an NBA superstar, the only thing that mattered to me was the look of the jersey. I wasn’t in it for championships, money, or fame. I just wanted to look nice. :D