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.