Why Every Basketball Fan Should Care About This Season’s Phoenix Suns

and 10.19.15 2 years ago
Phoenix Suns

USA TODAY Sports

The 2015-16 NBA Season starts in less than two weeks, preseason hoops are in full swing, and playoff prognostications have begun in earnest. Since season previews can get bogged down by team-specific minutiae, and we cover every basketball team, we’re providing our readers reasons why you should care about all 30 teams in the Association.


DIME MAG’s 2015-16 NBA Season Previews


What a weird team, coming up on a weird season, after a weird year, with an odd offseason to boot. The Suns are stuck in the Western Conference. You could say the same thing about the other 14 teams, but there’s a chance they would’ve snuck into the second round of the playoffs in 2014 if they had been in the East and it’s hard to differentiate coach Jeff Hornacek’s run-and-gun offense from the turbocharged Dragon running helter-skelter for 94 feet.

Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe shepherd the backcourt now, and it’s not really a downgrade; except, can you imagine either of those guys making the All-NBA Third Team like Goran Dragic in that magical 2014 year? They’ve got Tyson Chandler, but he turned 33 earlier this month, and he’s not exactly the healthiest guy in the world. Will $13 million a year into his twilight buttress them on the block for the next four years?

But Alex Len has had some fun moments, scoring 21 points in 23 minutes against Utah, so maybe Chandler will give Ryan McDonough a better ROI as a mentor to young Len.

Since 2014, the popular preseason column is “who will be this year’s Phoenix Suns?”

Why not this year’s Suns?

Unfortunately, the biggest offseason story in Phoenix and from an online perspective, was the very public acrimony between the team and Markieff Morris.

Grouchy Markieff Morris is grouchy…or is he?

Jeff Hornacek, Markieff Morris

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A brief retelling of Kieff’s summer. He served up a juicy scoop to the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey with a demand to be traded. He was upset the Suns traded his brother Marcus to the Pistons in order to free up some LaMarcus Aldridge max money that never panned out. Ironically, Marcus Morris will probably get more run in Detroit as the (for now) starting small forward, which is a better career move because more playing time equals more opportunity to shine. (Stanley Johnson is the real deal, so Marcus might not be starting by the end of November or even by the start of the season. Regardless, our point stands.)

The team ignored Kieff’s public whining, even as the rest of us didn’t. They even wished him a happy birthday, which was pretty smug of them and also sorta cool. Morris didn’t get the humor, we suppose. The NBA stepped in the only way they know how: through the pocketbook. We really thought he was gone this time. But he wasn’t and he kept shading his team on social media. But at least we found out what F.O.E. means.

When media day finally arrived, Kieff was all about that Suns life.

WHHHHATTT? Only 18 days before he was subtweeting the team and talking about family over everything, and then he’s “glad to be back with the team.” HUH?

We think Kieff is a little underrated, but even we’re not crazy enough to think he’s good enough to keep up this level of crazy and get away with it. That could be a trade, or — more likely — two months of solid play before he’s traded when everyone’s forgotten about the odd behavior over the summer.

But there are so many frayed cord endings in that locker room, it’s a combustible environment that could lead to convivial fireworks on the court, or the kind that ignites Twitter for a couple days as everyone’s RT’ing Paul Coro and wondering why Mirza Teletovic has a black eye.

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