When forecasting the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns, most experts subscribed to the notion that the team needed to “bottom out” before it could start making a slow ascension back toward competitiveness. Play the young kids, see what you have, and lose as much as possible in order to secure a top college prospect like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Marcus Smart with one of the teams’ multiple picks in the 2014 Draft, they said. It was a solid plan. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to bottoming out. With a new coach and overhauled roster devoid of household names, the Suns have blistered out of the gate to a 5-2 record. Not only has the team played a surprisingly competent brand of basketball, but they’ve been down right exciting and easily living up to those sharp, vintage-looking uniforms. In preparation for your next visit to U.S. Airways Center for a game (more on that later), here are 10 things you may not know about this year’s team:
Markieff Morris, P.J. Tucker, Dionte Christmas and Eric Bledsoe
1) Second-year forward and reigning Western Conference Player of the Week Markieff Morris is seven minutes older than twin brother and teammate Marcus. 2) Miles Plumlee has been a revelation at center. The 6-foot-11 Duke product came to the Suns via the Indiana Pacers, who gave up Plumlee, Gerald Green and a first-round draft pick in exchange for Luis Scola. Advantage: Suns. 3) Speaking of Green–the dunker extraordinaire who won the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk Contest and finished second in 2008–he’s the second cousin of Danny Green who plays for the arch nemesis Spurs. 4) This time of year, Dionte Christmas would look good alongside Pelicans’ guard Jrue Holiday, Sixers center Nerlens Noel, Metta World Peace and Jeremy Lamb. 5) Injured center Emeka Okafor’s full first name is Chukwuemeka, which means “God has done well.” 6) Eric Bledsoe, who came over in a trade with the Clippers and is on track to be an All-Star, may only be 6-foot-1 but that didn’t stop him from blocking 6-foot-10 Anthony Davis’ shot in Sunday’s win over New Orleans. 7) Rookie Alex Len, who was born in the Ukraine, started out as a gymnast. 8 ) Archie Goodwin was one of two Kentucky Wildcats chosen in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. The school produced four first-round picks in the 2012 Draft. 9) You’re probably familiar with first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek, who was one of the players traded to Philadelphia in 1992 in exchange for a guy named Charles Barkley. 10) If you count seasons spent playing professionally in Israel and Germany, P.J. Tucker is one of the more experienced Suns players. Suns Promotional Note: In support of men’s health awareness, the Suns will celebrate “Movember” on Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets. The first 10,000 fans through the gate for the 7 p.m. tip will receive a free mustache on a stick. A mustache on a stick is exactly what it sounds like. Do not eat the mustache on a stick.