Pacific Notes: Suns, Walton, Baynes, Warriors

Suns owner Robert Sarver is impressed with his team’s strong start to the 2019/20 season, lauding Phoenix’s intensity, teamwork and togetherness after a disappointing season last year, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes.

“Winning is a lot more fun than losing,” Sarver said. “Seeing a lot of it come together this year. After training camp, I think I told my kids, ‘you know, we haven’t played a game yet, but I can tell right now, we’re in a much better place.’ ”

The Suns currently hold the fifth-best record in the Western Conference at 7-4, giving an impressive effort despite losing starting center Deandre Ayton to a 25-game suspension. By comparison, the team finished with the second-worst record in franchise history at 19-63 last season.

“What I like about the team is I like the fact that the ball is shared,” Sarver said. “And I think when the ball is shared, you tend to get better shots and I think it’s also easier to be more engaged defensively. So, the style of play, I think, is good. I like the fact that Monty holds his players accountable and there’s no guaranteed minutes. Everybody will work every day and earn what they deserve.”

For the Suns, keeping a consistent effort is imperative as the season continues to progress. The team has games scheduled against Boston (10-1) on Monday, Sacramento (4-7) on Tuesday, New Orleans (3-9) on Thursday and Minnesota (7-6) on Saturday.

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • LeBron James defended former Lakers head coach Luke Walton this past week, explaining how Walton did everything he could during his brief, tumultuous time with the franchise, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com writes. “I mean, we were right where we wanted to be on Dec. 25, went up into Golden State and played against a very good team and had a very good game,” James said. “And then the injury happened and I’m out 6½ weeks. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that, including myself and including Luke. And we were just behind the eight ball. But throughout it all we just tried to remain positive, even throughout with the young guys, with the older guys and whatever the case may be. So I think he did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances.”
  • Jack Winter of Basketball Insiders examines the three-point evolution of Suns center Aron Baynes, who’s impressed during his 11 games with the team. Baynes has averaged 15 points and 5.5 rebounds in 23.8 minutes per contest, filling in for the suspended Ayton while remaining a threat from three-point territory. He’s connected on 22 of 47 attempts from deep, good for a 47% shooting mark.
  • The Warriors are now down to nine healthy players, one player above the league’s minimum requirement, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Golden State plans to start Draymond Green, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Eric Paschall and Willie Cauley-Stein against New Orleans on Sunday night.
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25 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Suns, Walton, Baynes, Warriors

  1. arc89

    Warriors are going for a top 3 pick in the draft plus all 3 all stars healthy next year. They will dominate again.

    • TJ418

      They’ll be healthy again. But considering how poor they were playing with 3 of the 4 healthy the first few games, I don’t think they’ll be that strong of a team. 6-8 seed at best.

      • arc89

        They had over half the 2nd unit out the first few games. team been hurt all year. Only 1 player playing from last years team.

          • formerlyz

            Missing Kevon Looney specifically was a big deal. If you dont think that, you havent seen him play, or you possibly only watch espn and listen to them talk about certain players determining literally everything, which isnt how basketball works

            • TJ418

              Should we pull up his stats and see how much of a contributor he was? Because I don’t think missing him made the Dubs start the season off so poorly.

              • formerlyz

                Their issues were mostly defensively, so ya…losing your at least 2nd best defender, in an area of need, is a big deal, especially when the other big was also injured at the time. And especially on a team where that was already a possible question with him there. It’s not surprising their defense was as bad as it was. Their depth was also an issue b/c they were missing multiple other guys as well, and that’s a big deal b/c they were already lacking depth, especially with the hard cap

                But all you care about are stats, so look at Looney’s plus minus last year, and tell me again that he isnt important

                • arc89

                  They were also without their 2 centers to start the season. TJ is just a hater that has nothing better to do in his life than troll sport sights. He proved his knowledge of the NBA lacks intelligence. what do you expect from a Cavs fan so bitter all these years.

    • amk3510

      The Warriors even in their best days were never a dominant team without KD. And please spare me your regular season record nonsense.

      • arc89

        Were you alive in 2015 when the warriors won the first 24 games of the season? they had a record of 29-1. Broke the record for most games won in a season. All without KD. I guess you just started following the NBA. They were 12-5 in the playoffs that year. Wait you are going to claim they were not good because? Next up you claim Micheal Jordan was not very good too.

        • amk3510

          A Warriors fan that can’t even remember their seasons right. No they did not win the finals the year they started 29-1 and broke the wins record. A dominant team finishes the job or doesn’t take 6 games to beat Lebron and his 2 best supporting players as Mozgov and Dellavadova. Are the Warriors trying to win another title or just regular season games?

          • SheltonMatthews

            I’m pretty sure Kyrie and Love would debate on who were the second best players on that team but ok

          • arc89

            If you need to make weak excuses why a team is no good then you lost any debate. You think you write the rules on which team is good or not? Going by your standards the cavs lost in 2015 because they were not a good team. They should still have beat GS down 2 players. This is your standards.

            • amk3510

              This is why no one can stand Warrior fans. This summer I was told their time is not up and the Lakers will bust. That was proven wrong and you guys are shifting to “2021 were back!!!!!”. Its comical. I never said they weren’t good. I SAID they are not a championship caliber team without KD. Your rebuttal is a weak excuse. They won a title in 2015 with a completely different roster that will be 6 years removed by the time you think their window opens again. Sure assume the ping pong balls fall you way, assume Klay can come back to 100 percent, assume Curry can stay healthy all season (which he has not now for 3 years) assume 37 year old Iggy will come back and be a difference maker at that age and assume Draymond who has shown to be nothing but a role player without KD will be able to produce at a championship level. But sure if all this goes right Warriors will be back baby!

              • arc89

                Come on you just a hater. lakers will not be champs. They had to wait until the warriors had injuries to be a good team. next year you will be crying when davis flees the scene. lakers better win it all this year because after that they will be a mid level team. Sad you must hope for injuries on warriors so your lakers can be a good team.

      • Strike Four

        “The Warriors even in their best days were never a dominant team without KD.”

        They broke the wins record by going 73-9.
        Please don’t trip over your own lies.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Karma finally caught up with them after flying high for the past 5 years. Even with a healthy Curry and Klay they won’t be dominant.

        • alejandro

          Yeah not getting it either. Karma would imply they were doing something shady those years, besides just winning.

          • arc89

            Anyone rooting for Houston after the cheating astros got caught shouldn’t talk about karma.

  2. greg1

    Didn’t the Warriors win a title without Durant?

    They would not be dominant with everyone healthy, if for no other reason than how deep the west is. That said, with everyone in the lineup (including KT), they would have as good a chance as any to get to the NBA Finals.

  3. totoiv

    At some point they can apply for a medical exemption and add another player, even if it puts them over the cap. But, I don’t know who is even out there that would help.

  4. crazylarry

    Sarver has NO CLUE what a basketball even looks more/less speaking of how to play the game. One of the worst owners in all of pro sports. Sarver do all us fans a lesson and SHUT YOU PIE HOLE and sell the team.

  5. x%sure

    Baynes’ 3pt attempts, starting in 2013:
    1,0,4,2,0,21,61,350? (So far in 2019/20, 47 attempts in 11 games, with 47% makes!)

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