The NBA is almost back in our lives, with a whole host of media days slated for early next month on October 2nd. The Phoenix Suns just one of many teams who will be back in the building together for the first time ahead of what promises to be a huge season.
There’s no doubt that 2023-24 can end with the Suns winning a first ever championship, but there is a ton of basketball to be played between now and then. Incoming head coach Frank Vogel having been appointed earlier in the summer, to give him as much time as possible to prepare.
There is little doubt then that the Suns have several huge questions hanging over the franchise, which we will begin to get answers to starting on media day.
Any roster featuring Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Deandre Ayton is going to be in the news constantly, and you can expect that to the case here. Durant will be looking to add a third championship to his legacy, while there is genuine belief that Booker could mount a serious MVP case.
We have already seen the aggressive nature of owner Mat Ishbia to build a winner, and while it is not known if he will attend media day, everybody knows that he will make changes as necessary to keep the Suns’ title window jammed open. This will ensure the Suns are talked about far more than most teams in the league.
3. The shadow that is Kevin Young
Lost in the shuffle that is the arrival of coach Vogel, is the fact that the Suns began this summer by making Kevin Young the lead assistant for this team. More than that, he became the highest earning assistant coach in the league as well. Not bad for a guy who started his coaching career in Ireland.
On the surface this is great news for the organization. Young has a solid relationship with Booker, and seems to be liked by the team. He is a holdover from the previous coaching staff that worked with Monty Williams, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue. Young is thought of highly, and the Suns have ensured he does not go elsewhere to be a head coach for the time being.
But if Vogel gets off to a rough start (back-to-back away games against the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers isn’t easy…), how long will it take for the media to start pushing the narrative that Young is in the background, ready to jump in and steer the ship if necessary?
Even if that sort of talk does not come from within the organization, it would still be unsettling to the likes of Booker if he is getting asked about the coaching credentials of Young if the team is struggling. To be clear, all appears harmonious right now, and winning will always quieten any unwanted chatter. But the power dynamic here heading into media day is fascinating.