Notes: Suns reveal Noche Latina jerseys, Dragic underrated

The lucky Phoenix Suns get another taste of Adidas’ forceful push for sleeves. As part of the league’s “Noche Latina” (Latin Night) series, Phoenix will wear sleeved black alternates for three games in March. Pictures of Goran Dragic wearing a smile and the jerseys has made circles around the internet, a funny thing because he was the quite skeptical of the sleeves.

For the record, the Suns’ blowout of San Antonio last Friday marked the first win in three games wearing the orange and sleeved alternates this season.

Noche Latina night schedule

  • March 6, Thunder vs. Los Suns
  • March 10, Los Suns vs. Clippers (NBATV)
  • March 19, Magic vs. Los Suns

Everyone loves Goran

Goran Dragic may be an unknown entity to casual fans and might cause skepticism among some, but those covering the Suns and those who watch enough of them have a hard time believing the Dragon is anything less than a border-line All-Star. If the loss at Utah on Wednesday said anything, it was that Phoenix needs Dragic more than Dragic needs Phoenix.

In a poll of anonymous NBA scouts, ESPN found that Dragic is well-respected in the NBA.

Western Conference scout: “…he’s made himself into a shooter.
“You go underneath the pick and he’s going to make shots. He’s really good. It’s a credit to his work ethic. He’s a little bigger than you think he is. He’s thick and he’s strong. To have a team with no other stars that lost Eric Bledsoe to injury be in the playoff hunt in the West? He’s a damn good player.”

And one more from another scout: “I’ve seen enough of him to know that if I was a GM and I needed a point guard, I’d do whatever it takes to get him. If I was looking for a point guard, he’d be right at the top of the list. I think he’s the real deal.”

So there’s that.

Top free agents could interest Suns

Amin Elhassan, ESPN Insider and former Phoenix Suns front office employee, rolled out his list of the 30 top free agents for the summer of 2014, and you can be sure the Suns will be involved in one or more of these guys. The ranking is based on a suggested average annual value, not which players are better than others.

Eric Bledsoe comes in seventh behind (in order) Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Greg Monroe and Zach Randolph. He’s valued at approximately $10.2 million per year, which is just about Stephen Curry money. If the Los Angeles Lakers go hard after Bledsoe and convince Phoenix not to match the offer, as was told to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, it becomes an interesting discussion.

Assuming the Suns like the options and don’t want to wait another year to become a contender, they very well could shell out some money. But do they go big or small?

The trade rumors this past season made it seem Phoenix would like Zach Randolph, and he’ll be an option if he opts out of his deal. Otherwise, the Suns could chase after Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward, who could be looking at $9 million a year as a restricted free agent, according to Elhassan. Rudy Gay also could opt out of his deal and be looking at a deal similar to Hayward’s.

Will the Suns make the playoffs?

It’s looking sketchy right now. Phoenix quite obviously is reliant on Goran Dragic, and it could take some time to re-implement Eric Bledsoe into the rotation once he’s ready to hit the court in game action. NBA.com polled its writers about the Suns’ chances of making the postseason, and though many were unsure about how they’ll figure, pretty much all of them believe this has been a happy year for Phoenix (I concur).

By the way, the Suns are a half-game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies and clinging to the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

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