New to the site or not, I want to welcome you to the new Valley of the Suns, now part of the FanSided Network.
Quickly, a bit of history. Michael Schwartz founded the site as one of the charter blogs in ESPN’s TrueHoop Network. It was 2008, when we didn’t really know what “blog” meant or where things would go from there. We couldn’t have predicted where we are today in a Twitter-dominant society, but we surely couldn’t have matured as writers or as a blog without Henry Abbott and Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN. We can’t thank them enough for their support over the past several years.
The reason for the timing of such a move is that Schwartz has graduated. He’s moving on to a full-time position at ESPN – congrats, by the way – but we’re keeping with his vision.
“Valley of the Suns: Smart Phoenix Suns analysis.” That’s what Schwartz wrote on a limited-run version of VotS t-shirts (maybe we’ll print more soon), and that’s what we hope to continue doing as we move to a new platform.
Our philosophies come from a background of old-school journalistic standards, but we want to combine advanced statistics, shot charts and play breakdowns with locker room tales to stitch together each story. Along for the ride with me are Ryan Weisert, a VotS vet, Dave Dulberg, the do-it-all guy whose day jobs keeps him in tune with most Arizona sports, and Jeff Sanders, the guy with too many sports-related internships to count (we apologize to his professors). We’ll also be bringing on Eric Saar, the editor of FanSided’s Sun-N-Gun blog that has merged with us.
So why the change? For one, resources: We have a prettier platform, the photos and online tools to make our words pop even more. We have the support of a small but forward-thinking FanSided leadership group. From Matt Blake, FanSided’s Chief Product Officer:
“As a Suns fan, there is nothing that makes me happier than to be able to bring Valley of the Suns into the fold and bolster our Phoenix sports coverage! We are excited to pair our emerging products (mobile apps and daily newsletter) with VotS’ fantastic content.”
On top of that, we’re joining a network with leadership that has recently brought on some of the most influential voices in basketball blogging.
“I’m thrilled to bring the Valley of the Suns team on board,” said FanSided VP of Content Patrick Allen. “Along with the recent additions of 8 Points, 9 Seconds and Hardwood Paroxysm, Valley of the Suns gives FanSided another terrific basketball blog to strengthen our growing NBA division.”
Since I joined VotS in December of 2011, the site and the team have gone through a lot. The day after Schwartz left for grad school and I become editor, Alvin Gentry was fired. The Suns lost a lot in the months afterward, then somehow (imagery of rising Phoenix) became fun again.
Like the basketball blogosphere that includes VotS, we don’t know what’s next for the Suns, but I hope you’ll come along for the ride.