Welcome to another exciting season of Suns’ basketball, fans! It’s amazing how quickly the offseason goes by – training camp begins this week and before you know it, we’ll be tipping off the regular season in San Antonio on October 29th.
As always, the Western Conference promises to be deep and competitive, but we feel we have the talent to compete with anyone. Obviously, there have been significant additions made to our team this summer, and I wanted to let you know my thoughts as the season gets underway.
First, I’m really excited to have Terry Porter leading our team. Mike D’Antoni did a terrific job here in recent years, and we wish him well in New York. But I feel that this is a good time to have Terry taking over as head coach. Terry is a winner, as he proved during a stellar 17 year playing career. He has prepared himself well for the challenge ahead of him, having coached in the NBA the past 5 seasons. (One year as an assistant in Sacramento, two seasons as head coach of the Bucks, and two years as an assistant with Detroit.)
Terry has put together a great staff that includes two former NBA head coaches – Bill Cartwright and Alvin Gentry. Bill and Alvin have a ton of experience in this league, and they’ll be able to help Terry deal with the many pressures and demands of the head job. The staff also includes two very impressive young coaches: Igor Kokoskov, a Serbian coach with tremendous knowledge of both the NBA and the international game, plus one of the all time great players in Suns history - Dan Majerle. Dan has already brought great energy to the job, and he has really connected with our players. And of course, he embodies everything Terry is trying to teach: defense and toughness.
There will be an adjustment period for our team with a new coaching staff in place – there always is – but with our top 7 players from a year ago returning, we should be able to adapt well. Steve Nash, Raja Bell, Shaq and Grant Hill all appear to be in good shape as camp begins, and we’re excited about the continued development of Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw. Amare Stoudemire appears to be the lone concern from a physical standpoint this week due to a sprained ankle, and we will be very careful with him in the first week of camp. With that said, his injury is not severe, and we anticipate that Amare will be in good health quickly. He worked exceptionally hard all summer and is primed for a great season.
Our biggest goal in the offseason was to add depth to our roster, and we feel like we’ve done so with the addition of 5 new players. We’re at a point with our franchise where we can continue to compete at a very high level, but there’s undoubtedly a need to add good young talent in order to sustain our success. We’re confident that our latest additions will help us do both. Here’s a breakdown of our new players:
Robin Lopez: Our first round pick from Stanford, Robin is very active and athletic for a 7 footer. He should help solidify our defense at the rim and in screen and roll situations. With work he has the potential to be very good offensively as well.
Matt Barnes: His athleticism, versatility and outside shooting will be huge for us this season. Matt can really get out and run in transition, and he can guard 3 different positions.
Goran Dragic: Our 2nd round pick, Goran is a lefty point guard from Slovenia who is athletic and has a great feel for the game. He has good size at 6’4” and is good defensively with very long arms. This is an ideal situation for him and our team – he can learn under Steve and grow at a steady, unhurried pace.
Sean Singletary: A 3 time All ACC player from Virginia, Sean is a tough, smart point guard who can run a team and defend.
Louis Amundson: Lou is a 6-10 big man with a ton of energy. He has the ability to change a game with his toughness and speed at either the 4 or the 5 position. I think you’ll really enjoy watching him play.
We’re excited to getthe season underway, and we’ve got a lot to look forward to. On October 11th we’ll play an exhibition game against Denver at the Indian Wells Tennis Center in Palm Desert, California. We’re dubbing the game ‘Suns Under the Stars’, and it will be quite a spectacle – only the 2nd NBA game to ever be played outdoors – and you’ll be able to see it live on TNT. We also have All Star Weekend coming to US Airways Center in February, which will showcase our city and our franchise. Most of all, of course, we’re looking forward to putting another exciting, successful team on the floor this season, and to share a great year with you, our fans.
Thanks, as always, for your tremendous support! Go Suns!