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Phoenix Suns

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On Tuesday, general manager and newly appointed president of basketball operations James Jones spoke publicly for the first time since Phoenix Suns Media Day. Between his new title, injury updates, the ongoing Jae Crowder situation and the Suns’ 14-6 start that has them sitting in first place in the Western Conference, there was plenty to discuss. Here are the most…

Damion Lee has rapidly become an indispensable piece of the Phoenix Suns bench.

By all accounts, Damion Lee wasn’t expected to be where he is right now. Lee said as much when he told Suns.com that, due to oxygen problems, he came out of the womb purple, and doctors were concerned whether he’d be all right. After going undrafted, suffering two torn ACLs — one in college, the other in the G League — might have been an unscalable obstacle for some players. Even joining a title contender like the Phoenix Suns on a veteran minimum contract, expectations were tempered. And yet, even through all of that adversity, Lee persevered, bringing him to this exact moment where he’s become an intrinsic piece of Phoenix’s second unit. “Everybody says, ‘I’m blessed, I’m thankful to…

Deandre Ayton has had an uneven start to the season, but he's pushing toward a new norm for the Phoenix Suns.

Coming off a playoff run and offseason that didn’t go according to plan, it was only fitting that Deandre Ayton’s start to the 2022-23 campaign followed suit. His widely publicized Game 7 spat with Monty Williams, rampant trade rumors, the fact that he had to sign an offer sheet with another team to force the Phoenix Suns’ hand in contract negotiations, whether he and his coach actually spoke over the summer — all of it loomed overhead (to say nothing of the Robert Sarver investigation). So despite his usual pre-season talk about wanting to take over games and dominate in all facets, the first month of Ayton’s fifth season largely underwhelmed. Through 12 games, he was averaging 14.6 points, a…

When PHNX Sports began highlighting dogs for adoption and fostering last year at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control’s east shelter in Mesa, I steeled myself for the depressing conditions at that overcrowded, underfunded, understaffed and badly outdated facility. When I stepped inside Heidi’s Village for the first time this summer, I had a “Wizard of Oz” revelation. You’re not in county anymore. Instead of rows of tiny kennels housed by psychologically deteriorating dogs who hadn’t been walked or talked to for days, I entered a bright and open campus with eight separate buildings for dogs and cats, play areas outside each of those buildings, a splash pad, an on-site veterinary clinic, an on-site groomer, training rooms and evidence of…

Deandre Ayton kept his composure and showed he and the Phoenix Suns have their sights set on bigger goals.

For those curious about the current state of the Phoenix Suns’ long-running rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, Patrick Beverley body-checking Deandre Ayton in the back Tuesday night served as a pretty clear indication. The Lakers have 17 NBA championships, and the Suns have zero. In those terms, there’s no contest between the two. And yet, watching two of the league’s all-time winningest teams square off in another lopsided fight, it was easy to forget which franchise was which. One side talked trash while cruising to another double-digit victory; the other lost its composure and got ejected for it. It’s not the first time in recent years we’ve seen it from Suns-Lakers, and it’s not the first time the Suns…

The Phoenix Suns are pushing toward consistency with their new starting lineup.

The Phoenix Suns typically withhold judgment on their rotations until they have a 20-game sample size to work with. They’re only 16 games into the new season, and their new starting lineup hasn’t even had seven full games together yet. However, with Chris Paul’s sore right heel set to be re-evaluated later this week, and Cam Johnson out for 1-2 months due to a torn right meniscus, the Suns will be rolling with Cam Payne and Torrey Craig in that starting five for the foreseeable future. The question is, even with such a small sample size, what have we seen from Phoenix’s new starting lineup? The Suns have strived for “stacking solid,” as coach Monty Williams calls it, and the…

Cam Payne is bouncing back with the Phoenix Suns starters, but can he keep it going in a bench role?

Cam Payne and the Phoenix Suns’ bench felt like areas for concern heading into 2022-23, but both have played better than advertised. The problem is, Payne hasn’t entirely been a consistent member of that second unit yet. The reason? Injuries and one public trade request have dealt significant blows to the Suns’ depth, forcing Payne, Torrey Craig and a few others into more prominent roles. In the long-term, that’s certainly not a bad thing. Even in the short-term, Payne has performed admirably in Chris Paul’s stead. Wednesday’s blowout win over the Golden State Warriors was a pristine example of that, as Payne finished with a career-high 29 points and 7 assists while shooting 9-of-17 from the field. https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1593121505587494914?s=20&t=ehDR096QOppxysJ-elB65w “He hooped,”…

The Phoenix Suns can take some tough-love lessons and some positives from their loss to the Miami Heat.

Thanks to Monday night’s 113-112 defeat, the Phoenix Suns have now lost three of their last four games and four of their last six. Technically speaking, they’re currently in a skid. Injuries (and one non-injury absence) have undoubtedly played a role in the Suns struggling to establish their identity, but their most recent loss painted a pretty clear picture — for better and for worse — of where they are right now. Following a game that came down to the final possession, and really shouldn’t have, let’s take a look at a few tough love lessons for the Suns, as well as a few undeniable positives. Tough Love Lesson No. 1: The free-throw disparity continues In a one-point game that…

Mikal Bridges proved he can be the Phoenix Suns' second option against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The last few years have provided endless discussion about which player should be the first, second and third options on the Phoenix Suns. Devin Booker put the debate over first option to bed last year, establishing himself as the alpha. CP3 settled comfortably into the second spot, leaving the fanbase to argue over Deandre Ayton or Mikal Bridges for the designation of third fiddle. These conversations may seem pointless, but heading into the season, with Paul being 37 and taking an intentional step backward, there were legitimate questions about whether Ayton or Bridges should step up as the second option. Games like Wednesday serve as a reminder that an aggressive Mikal Bridges can end that debate rather quickly. Facing the…

The Phoenix Suns need more out of Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.

Week by week, the Phoenix Suns have suffered blow after blow to their depth. What was once a strongest suit thanks to general manager James Jones’ 3×5 “index card” approach to team-building has become a glaring weakness, due to calculated mistakes over the summer as well as circumstances beyond the Suns’ control. Starting Cam Johnson over Jae Crowder would’ve zapped...

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