The Phoenix Suns have started the 2023-24 NBA season pretty strongly, and have already shown that they are capable of scoring in bunches, just as many of us predicted they would before the campaign began.
Less expected, and in a lot of ways even more impressive, has been the at times great defensive effort put forth under head coach Frank Vogel. To have achieved this with Devin Booker having only played one game – and Bradley Beal none at all – is even better.
On the horizon now for the Suns after a 2-1 start is the beginning of their in-season tournament play, with the court design having now been unveiled.
Quite why the team actually needs to have a court design is anybody’s guess. It feels like the league is overdoing it in trying to sell the idea of this tournament to the fans and media, with these new courts a part of the pageantry in trying to get this off the ground. Still, the Suns’ design is pretty cool.
If the NBA is trying to take a page out of European soccer’s book, then it is true that cup competitions like the UEFA Champions League and the F.A. Cup in England do require the teams to have different font styles, sleeve patches and branding for the competition in their stadium.
This is the league’s attempt at trying to do just that, and plenty with applaud the effort. You can be sure this will be used as an opportunity to sell merchandise related to the tournament as well, even if a team doesn’t advanced to Las Vegas after the pool games have been completed.
From the Suns’ perspective, any time they can use the “El Valle” font and style is a welcome one. The organization having one of the more recognizable and beloved line of uniforms and fonts in the league today. You just know the jerseys that are sure to be used to accompany this court are going to pop as well.
The pool that the Suns find themselves in is one they should top, and with wins in these contests counting towards the team’s regular season record, the incentive is still there to try in these games. The Suns are better than the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies, and will be looking to avenge an early season defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The remaining opponent, the Portland Trail Blazers, represents a chance for former first overall pick Deandre Ayton to show the Suns what they are now missing. If preseason action is any indicator though – and it generally is not – then the Suns will be happy with their decision to trade Ayton for Jusuf Nurkic.
The Suns may have a problem should they advance to the knockout phase of the tournament, because they may not want to be there. Injuries are already an issue after three games, and this is not the trophy owner Mat Ishbia had in mind when he went out and traded for Durant and Beal.
On the other hand, once you’re three games away from winning silverware of any kind, shouldn’t you just go for it and try and win it? Durant is all about legacy these days, as he should be, and being the inaugural winner of this thing might count for something when his career is over. Not much, but something.
No matter what the outcome of these games, the courts are going to be a talking point. The Suns have nothing to worry about here, as they have put together an eye-catching design that is meshes the famous purple and new-school light blue, with the “El Valle” we’ve all come to know and love. A winning effort put forward by the franchise.