After a month of practices and pre-season games, the 2012-13 Phoenix Suns are set to tip-off the regular season on Halloween night.
While the organization is very excited about the new direction of the team, the outside world remains skeptical. So what can those who follow the Suns expect from this team?
“We’re going to be more improved than people think,” said guard Jared Dudley. “There are different areas where we are better than we were last year…I think with the chemistry we are going to do pretty good.”
“You’re going to see hunger,” added new Suns forward Michael Beasley. “You’ve got a lot of guys that wants it…Wants to leave their mark not only on the team but in this league. So you’re going to see a bunch of hard-working young guys and you’re going to see a little bit of excitement in the mean time.”
Dudley mentions a key underlining factor. If the chemistry is there, they will be good. All the new faces having to learn to play with one another is what has fueled the pre-season skepticism. But the Suns feel they have a good grasp on all of that considering all of the changes.
A main story of this team coming out of pre-season, which Beasley hit on was the fact that there are a lot of players out to prove their worth not only for this team, but in this league. That has brought a high level of competitiveness and edge to the team. Something Suns head coach Alvin Gentry is eager to see transfer to games.
“That’s the thing I’ve been most proud of in what we’ve tried to do are the practices we’ve had have been very spirited,” said Gentry. “I think we have to take that now from the practice court and the preseason to the regular season. We’re going to play with a little chip on our shoulders.”
There are two words that the Suns have thrown out that could directly reflect what we will see from this Suns team. Balance and Grit.
Suns GM Lance Blanks in the off-season described this new roster as balanced. A balance of leadership from new and old faces like Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley. A balance of hungry players out to prove themselves like Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley and Wes Johnson along with proven role players like Shannon Brown, Sebastian Telfair, and Jermaine O’Neal. Add in a couple young developing guys like Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall, you have balance of just about every type of player you will see in the league.
One type of player missing is a super star which brings us to the second word. Grit.
It was mentioned on multiple occasions that the Suns practices have gotten very physical, snippy, gritty, spirited and any other fighting related adjective you could think of.
Without a proven star on this team, the Suns are going to have to play with a bit of an edge to them if they want to be successful. Early in the season when opponents will have no idea what to expect, extra toughness on both sides of the ball could shock some teams. That is something the Suns are hoping for.
“We have to be engaged in every game, have to play hard,” said Suns point guard Goran Dragic. “We know what we have to do especially be solid on defense and try to get as many rebounds as we can.”
Suns and Warriors tip-off their 2012-13 campaigns on Halloween night from US Airways Center.