Suns Start 2015-2016 Season Against Mavericks

Oct 21, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia (27) is double teamed by Phoenix Suns center Alex Len (21) and forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the second half at American Airlines Center. Phoenix won 99-87. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 21, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia (27) is double teamed by Phoenix Suns center Alex Len (21) and forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the second half at American Airlines Center. Phoenix won 99-87. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns (0-0) vs. Dallas Mavericks (0-0)

When: Wednesday, October 28 @ 7:00 pm

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena (still not a fan of that name) in Phoenix, Arizona


Phoenix Suns basketball is back! Get hyped!

In their 2015-2016 season opener, the Suns will face off against their West rival, the Dallas Mavericks. This game is the real world debut of all the offseason additions that the Suns, and also the Mavericks, have made. Of course, the Suns would love to start a season on a high note, with a strong statement game that gives fans early optimism and the team early confidence.

The Mavericks are coming off an undesirable offseason. They signed DeAndre Jordan… until they didn’t. Instead, they added Zaza Pachulia Deron Williams, and Wesley Matthews to round out their starting lineup. This makes the rivarly a bit less compelling especially given that  perhaps Matthews and Chandler Parsons won’t be playing. The Suns should take this opportunity to seize a win against a weaker, wounded opponent.

On the flip side, the Suns team might look a little wonky at first. This is the first time this unit will be together. Tyson Chandler brings a very new dynamic, and Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight still have not have significant time to develop chemistry on the floor. Ideally, the Suns will be able to build chemistry and confidence with a relatively easy opening night ahead.

Three Things to Watch

Eric Bledsoe: On the Attack

The Mavericks have nobody who can hang with Bledsoe athletically. He should be able to take Deron Williams off the dribble with relative ease. Last season, the Mavs had Tyson Chandler as the back line defender who could clean up Dallas’ poor perimeter defense.

Well, now he’s suiting up on the other end, so Zaza Pachulia will have to disrupt or foul Bledsoe to prevent him from living at the rim in this game. In general, Bledsoe should overpower this whole team. He put up 13 double-doubles last year, leading the Suns in that category. Williams, Pachulia, old Dirk Nowitzki or anyone else on this Mavs team should not be able to contain him alone.

Pachulia is at least physical, and perhaps Bledsoe will be worried about having to take a lot of contact in the paint. However, Bledsoe can score at the rim against anyone when he is locked in. Dallas will have to gameplan for someones with his physical gifts.

It seems like Bledsoe is the new face of the franchise. Opening the season by dropping the hammer on a rival team would be a great start to his season.

Young Guys Living Up to the Hype

Two players who everyone should watch carefully are Alex Len and T.J. Warren. They’ve been the subject of a lot of offseason chatter. The Suns also just picked up team options for the third year center and the sophomore wing, the team said in a statement yesterday.

They’ll both be playing substantial minutes off the bench, and how confident and prepared they both look will probably matter more than the ultimate box score. Len should look to show what skill he’s developed in the low post. He looked to be in really good shape coming into camp, and his preseason stats were a bit absurd.

It will also be interesting to see how Warren function in the offense. He’ll likely get more opportunities to work in the offense, and seeing how he attacks and works on the defensive end will be a good benchmark for his development.

Both of these young guys have a chance to be important parts of the Suns future. How they show in this first game will be the trigger for a lot of hype or frustration on social media, even though it is only one game.

How Will Tyson Chandler Fit?

Unfortunately, LaMarcus Aldridge was not the biggest addition of the Suns offseason. Tyson Chandler was. However, for a team like the Suns, that is a great consolation prize.

Chandler was brought in to provide interior defense and veteran leadership. How he looks in his first game with the Suns will be the first indicator as to what he can and will do as a member of the Suns.

More from Valley of the Suns

The motivation to play against a team that let him leave in pursuit of other players is strong. According to FOX Sports Arizona, Chandler called the Mavs pursuit of DeAndre Jordan a certain eight letter word that starts will “bull”. He’ll obviously be out to win the game, show up Dallas, and win over Phoenix fans.

Chandler slicing down the lane on the pick-and-roll could be a way for Phoenix to burn Dallas on the offensive end. He is a physically imposing big who still has the spring in his step to get int the lane quickly. That is an offensive asset that can be especially potent against a strong defensive team like Dallas.

The Tyson Chandler Era begins in the desert tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Fun Fact

Dallas has won 14 of the last 20 games against the Suns, but the Suns took three of four against the Mavs last season before losing the final game. The Suns should be hungry to take their home opener against a rival who has had their number for a few years now.

Prediction: Suns 115, Dallas 99