Remember all that excitement we had about the Suns’ 50th season?
Yup. It might be gone already.
This was ugly. And statistically, while this was obviously the ugliest season opener in franchise history, it was also the ugliest game in franchise history.
The Suns opened the game up 7-2, but then the problems of the past year-or-so of terrible offense and even worse defense reared it’s ugly head.
Honestly, there’s not a lot to say. The Suns shot 31.5% from the field, and even worse from beyond the arc – 25.9%. They barely missed out on several negative franchise records, and set the record for largest loss in franchise history. It was fun to see several of the new Suns out there, but overall, no one played notably well and the idea of flushing this one down the toilet and move on, just doesn’t bring a lick of hope to fans.
This game was absolutely terrible, and it’s hard to imagine what necessarily could be fixed to make it better.
Welcome to #SUNSat50.
If there is any consolation, it is that training camp was extremely short (only five days) and the preseason was unnecessarily short as well (only five games, their shortest ever in a non-lockout season) so there is a chance that the team will gel over the next few weeks as they enter into November – although the Blazers had the same shortened preseason and they looked just fine.
There is no doubt that Suns fans officially have a lot of additional doubt in this coaching staff and team. It is one thing to be young and inexperienced, but it’s not like the veterans looked all that in sync either and for the entire roster to not look like they have any direction whatsoever. Not to mention, even Tom Chambers noted in the halftime report that the Suns were playing way too much isolation ball – the very calling card of this offense throughout the Earl Watson tenure.
The DNA of this Suns offense last season too was, as mentioned above, their poor offense and defense. It’s one thing to shoot 31.5% – which, oh my gosh, is absolutely awful to even type – but to allow Portland to shoot 48.9% and score 124 points – only about 10 points more than they allowed in the preseason – is another.
There are just too many signs that this team is exactly as they were on both ends of the court last year, and while their intention was to keep the same roster on paper this season, the expectation of improvement may very well be non-existent.
And then there is that. Once again, even after a year as a starter, Marquese Chriss couldn’t keep himself out of foul trouble in limited minutes, especially on a night where the team could have used his size with Alex Len out of the game due to a sprained ankle. It didn’t help that Tyson Chandler had 4 fouls in 22 minutes, but the Suns as a whole fouled 22 times, just below the 24.8 they averaged last season, which led the league.
I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
If there are any positives, it was really cool finally seeing Josh Jackson out there in a game that counts. He dropped 11 points including a 3-pointer in 32 minutes, while grabbing 2 boards and recording 1 assist. His energy, and a particular poster-worth slam dunk, were enough to at least give Suns fans a second reason for watching this team every night, the first being Devin Booker.
Book scored 15 points while recording 5 rebounds as well, although his shooting was about as inefficient as it can be to reach 15 points with only 6-17 from the field, and 0-3 from beyond the arc.
Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 15 points on an even worse 5-18 from the field, draining 1-6 from three, and grabbed 4 caroms while dishing out 3 assists and leading the team with 5 of their 16 turnovers.
The C.J. McCollum-less Blazers didn’t seem to miss him in the least as Damian Lillard led all scorers with 27 points, while Jusaf Nurkic recorded the game’s only double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. Al-Farouq Aminu led all players with 12 caroms.
The Suns next play, at home, against the Los Angeles Lakers as they welcome the Ball family into town.
Wouldn’t be a terrible team to even their season record against.