Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sorry, Kobe

We at SunsGossip know the real reason Kobe didn’t play in tonight’s season opener against Phoenix. He could have played. But he wanted the Lakers to lose so that his team would appreciate how much they need him. Sorry.

Sadly, this Kobe Teaching Moment occurs at the expense of our dear Suns, who lost 114-106. Here at SunsGossip we are struggling to find meaning in it all. We’re comforted only by the fact that Raja Bell’s hair looked absolutely perfect.

Mutoni wishes you a Happy Halloween

In this edition of NBA Bloggers Exposed, we take a look at the Halloween costume of Marcel Mutoni (of Bench Renaldo and Slamonline fame). Flava-Flav is a popular costume this year, but we at SunsGossip like our brother Mutoni's interpretation of the lovable Knicks fan, based on this outfit. The Renaldo jersey is a nice touch.

Marcel Mutoni: il sait quelle heure il est!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

SUNS PREVIEW: Eyes on the Prize!

Today is the day that SunsGossip was supposed to battle with Lucas of The Rising Suns for NBA Preview glory. Well, they say the pen is mightier than the sword, but they also told us that Lucas was packing heat -- and we weren’t trying to be a hero, ya feel? So SunsGossip joined forces with the great Mr. Lucas, knowing that he would provide some hard-hitting, quality basketball analysis. We at SunsGossip are here solely to provide your colored commentary...er, color commentary.


Team name: Phoenix Suns
Last year’s record: 54-28

1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?

Lucas: The Suns had quite an eventful summer in terms of upgrading the roster. First off, The Suns traded their draft picks to the Celtics in order to wash themselves of Brian Grant's large contract and to save money for free agent signings. At this point Mike D'Antoni doesn't want any project rookies on the roster and would rather get solid rotation role players with lig experience and loads of talent. They were saving money and cap space to re-sign Tim Thomas in the offseason but I don't think they were very content on having Thomas on the roster since they went through the motions, for the fans, and went at Tim with a low offer. The Clippers offered Tim a better deal and off he went. The Suns then courted John Salmons as a backup combo guard to be used as they did Joe Johnson, to handle the ball for short periods while Steve rested. Brian Colangelo soon moved on in, with more cap space, for the same reason, and eventually got burned by Salmons as well. I feel that they were really reaching at this point for such a unique role.

They eventually found Marcus Banks, who is a great talent and solid defender and signed him to be Steve Nash's backup. Banks really fits in for this team. We lacked a defensive threat at the point guard position and Banks is a major upgrade for this reason. He is also lightening quick for our break-game and, with his solid frame, he can drive the lane and put up shots, make contact, and draw fouls, something we needed sorely last season. We also grabbed Jumaine Jones as another swing who is an athletic shooter who plays defense and multiple positions. He can backup the four or three and will most likely have to fight for minutes with James Jones. We also have the Polish sniper, Eric Piatkowski, who will bring a good attitude and spot up shooting for maybe a few minutes per game.

SunsGossip: As Lucas described, the Suns had more moves than a bowl of jello this offseason. We at SunsGossip feel that LaMarcus (aka Marcus Banks) was the hottest addition – that brother is so fine we’d marry his sister just to get in his family! Of course we also have to give love to the two new white boys, Eric Piatkowski (who seems like a genuinely nice guy) and Sean Marks (who’s got that cute New Zealand accent). Jumaine Jones promises to add entertainment value – if for nothing else than our anticipation of Bill Walton sputtering over the fact there are two J. Jones’s on the team (see: James Jones)... It is also worth mentioning that both Raja Bell and Eric P. were busting their own moves this offseason – the wives of both are currently pregnant. Finally, shout out to Brittany and Whitney, two new additions to the Suns Dance Team who are holding it down for the brown girls in Phoenix. Heyyyy!

2. What are the team's biggest strengths?

Lucas: The greatest strengths of this team are speed, shooting, and ball movement. Last season we had the top fg%, ft% and top three point shooting. We were also the top average assist team. In addition the Suns are a nightmare for opposing coaches due to all of the match up problems the unorthodox style creates. They are also the best conditioned team and can easily wear out opposing teams who are not used to such a high pace of play. The quick pace is very contagious and many teams can't help but get sucked into running and by the end of the game they are outmatched. Large dominating centers absolutely cannot play at this pace and are rendered obsolete against our intense attack. Quick ball movement and floor spacing from shooters continually break down defenses from the slash and kick or drive and pass game. If this isn't working we have the best point guard in the world who is a master at the pick and roll and many athletes who want to get rewarded for their movement.

SunsGossip: Brother Lucas... how can you talk about the Suns’ strengths without mentioning Boris Diaw’s upper body strength? Have you seen this fool lately? Homeboy was working it over the summer! He looks like he’s gained a cool 15 pounds, and that’s all muscle weight, not just the $45 million in his pockets.

3. What are the team's biggest weaknesses?

SunsGossip: What? The Suns have no weaknesses. This question is like a broken pencil – there ain’t no point. Lucas?

Lucas: The biggest weakness for this team has to do with their size, SG. They are generally smaller than their competition and this is due to Coach Mike's preference on having the best athlete on the floor at all times. He would rather have a smaller, more talented player on the floor than a lumbering oaf with height. This also means that we are outmatched in size and give up more rebounds. Yet, our forwards are quicker, faster on the break and pose matchup problems for opposing teams whose big forwards and centers cannot stay with their man in the open floor. For this the system gives up second chances on the defensive end for offensive superiority and the plan is just to get more points and wear out the opponents.

4. How will the young guys develop?

Lucas: This team has many young players but not so young that they are a liability. Amare Stoudemire, Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa and Marcus Banks are all moderately young players who have played enough to have plenty of experience. Most of this Suns team is well post-seasoned, including the young coach (league-wise). They are all perfect fits in this uptempo unselfish system and they should thrive this upcoming season.

SunsGossip: We can only hope that they all age as gracefully as our 30-year-old Raja Bell. Or that once they reach age 32 they start Peter Panning back to adolescence like Steve Nash.

Lucas: That’s right SG, let’s hope he continues to sink his Hook (shot?).

5. What are the goals for this team?

Lucas: After two seasons making the Western Conference Finals the goals for this season include a trip to the Finals and hopefully a title. D'Antoni is adamant on improving on team defense enough to get us that extra edge to push our team over the top. We have all the talent and a deep bench to get us through the long marathon of a regular season and the playoffs. Depending on the condition of Amare Stoudemire and the health of the team we should have enough for a title.

SunsGossip: Eyes on the prize!

6. Predicted record?

Good grief, Charlie Brown, we don’t know! How do people come up with these? We’ll put our money on something close to 82-0 and let you slice and dice it further, Lucas.

Lucas: Well SG, an 82-0 season has yet to be accomplished but I feel you. I mean we send rugged Pat Burke, the Kiwi Assassin (Sean Marks) and the Polish Sniper (Piatkowski) out there and they can give those hard fouls and take out kneecaps. This group alone can win you a good ten games but that sort of play is frowned upon by the lig. That takes us down ten games to 72 wins but with Amare working on getting back to optimal shape by the playoffs, he’ll have some struggles to work out. We will probably have some other minor injuries. Combined with Amare, these things will be another six games. I’d say we lose another six to brain lapses and complacency issues. The Suns should win 60 games this season.

Someone's been drinking the Kool-Aid

Even with the extra hour of daylight savings, SunsGossip is still running on Minoritime. The Suns preview will be dropping at some point today... In the meantime, show some love to the other NBA Blog Previews:

1. Believing in Magic has an “intelligent-sounding” preview for Orlando. (Their words, not ours.)

2. The Pradamaster from Bullets Fever expects Caron Butler to have a “monster year,” but we at SunsGossip were too distracted by that old hot photo of LeBron and Damon Jones to evaluate anything else.

3. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, but apparently you can squeeze very entertaining previews from the Warriors. Our brothers at Golden State of Mind and Lowpost.net schooled the Yay Area with the most creative previews to date.

4. After reading the bipolar preview at Clips Nation we realized that a Clippers fan is like that fat girl who’s lost the weight but still feels fat. It almost makes us feel sadly hopeful for Clippers fans, but not really.

5. Forum Blue & Gold, Showtime, and our brother over at Jones on the NBA all preview the Lakers. According to Mr. Jones, Kobe is the best player in the league and Phil Jackson the best coach...

Jones on the NBA, as pictured in his Halloween costume.

6. Might as well go over to Sactown Royalty now because their Kings preview for tomorrow will probably be up before our Sunday Suns...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The ESPN Tattoo Thing

Is it our imagination, or is the ESPN blogger question (example) just biting off of SunsGossip's I-Heart-D'Antoni boob-tatt that we blogged about a while back? Mmmmhmmmm, they ain't freshazimiz.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Raja Bell Releases Diss Track

After Ron Artest announced his beef with Raja Bell and declared that he wanted to “meet him off the floor for a nice little fight," Lucas and others reported that Bell was declining to respond. Well, who thought our boy Raja would actually let that one slide? We at SunsGossip certainly don’t condone black on black violence, but Bell has unleashed some socially acceptable retaliation in the form of a diss track. The following transcribed lyrics really don’t do justice to Mr. Bell’s sick-wit-it freestyle flow, so be sure to also cop the audio version (available from LaFace Records).

Ron, you damn thug, call your mama for a hug. Why you tripping, cow tipping, straight flipping on a fool? Worse than trippin, you fallin and can’t get up. I wouldn’t toss my last cup. At you. If you were a Tru Warier I’d probly poo more on you -- square your pants like a Spongebob, fix your face for a nose job. Fight you off the floor, out the door, till October Thirty-Four. Yeah, that’s three extra days. Frankie Beverly and Maze. Put you in a daze. Straight watching ballets. With tights and a tu-tu, look at you! CHOO-CHOO! Six-seven, 260, big fat trixie. Why you beefin with a Slim Jim like me? You just a fat hunk of mystery meat. Beef jerky turkey with stuffing on the side. All fried. Damn I’m hungry now, for some Kings-sized chow. A Sactown wack-town Scooby Snack smackdown. With bon-bon’s for dessert. ’Cause Ron-Ron you’ll hurt!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Schooling fools in NBA Previews

If we've learned anything in school, it's that people pay more attention to information in numbered lists and graphs.

1. The Blazers preview from TrueHoop was so poignant and well-written it almost made us cry as much as the essays by our brothers at Golden State of Mind did.

2. What we learned from the Seattle preview at SonicsCentral: Seattle has two new French guys, but neither has a profile picture up on nba.com (we checked).

3. Jason at lowpost.net asked his brother to write the Jazz preview. Well, that fool is just coconuts, you really need to see for yourself.

4. After we got done laughing over the name of the blog, we actually read the Hawks preview over at Impending Firestorm. Much love, but for real, call us when the firestorm is within 100 miles. (Just kidding, much love, much love.)

5. Though mentioning Adam Morrison's "emotion and fire," the Charlotte preview over at Bobcats Bonfire failed to mention the rookie's good looks.

6. Finally, Crazy from the Heat wonders if "Father Time" will swing by Miami to take a few folks out to greener pastures (i.e. the golf course). We took a quick look at the DOB's on the roster but couldn't get a good idea of the problem. So we contacted Jason at lowpost.net and got him to present the information to us in graph form. Thanks J!

Reading this graph:

The average age on the Heat roster is three years older than the league average; RajaBell.com is one day away from launching, for real this time; waiting for the release of "Who Shot Mamba?" has become old.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Diaw in Disneyland

UPDATE: Oops, j’ai oublié à traduire pour les fans français de Boris Diaw. Lisez ci-dessous...

Fresh off the Suns' win against the Kings, Boris Diaw hopped a plane to Disneyland to celebrate his five-year $45 million contract extension. The French hottie is pictured here flashing a rare toothy smile with close personal friend Mickey Mouse and romantic interest Ann Strother of the Phoenix Mercury. Sleep well, Lucas!

Après le match contre les Kings (les Suns ont gagné, 111-94), Boris a voyagé à Disneyland pour célébrer son contrat de 45 millions de dollars sur cinq ans avec les Suns. Dans cette image, le beau basketteur sourit avec son copain Mickey Mouse et sa petite amie Ann Strother de l’équipe Mercury de Phoenix.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Nash shows frustration in loss to Clippers

In a rare moment of emotion, Canadian-mannered Steve Nash exchanged words and hand gestures with a sidelined Clipper during Tuesday's preseason game. SunsGossip is still looking into the subject matter of the fuss, but the aggravating player is confirmed to be Sam Cassell (who did not play because of a calf injury). Nash received a technical foul because of the incident, just 3:51 into the first quarter of the Suns’ eventual 107-96 loss.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We Heart Previews

We've always been fascinated with Miss SG (aka Sonia aka Lil Dice) and not just because we have the same initials. SG is non-stop with her Wolves updates, and she has just added her NBA Preview over at I Heart KG. Rumor has it that Sonia's last name is Garnett, but we at SunsGossip are still trying to confirm.

Also make sure to get your dose of 'Melo medicine by way of The Nugg Doctor's Nuggets Preview.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Yay Previews!

We've missed a bunch of Previews, from Blog-a-bull, Detroit Bad Boys, Need4Sheed, Donning Craig Sager's Suit (Pacers), 5-Point Bucks, and of course our brother The Cavalier over at YAYsports. The Cavalier remarks that LeBron James is "a year older and wiser," so we at SunsGossip thought it would be fun to dig through the file to find a picture of LeBron when he was actually young looking. Peep this adorable fifth grade class picture and see if you can spot the young phenom before he got all growed-up.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Disappointed with the Spurs Preview

Not really, the latest two NBA Previews have been quite entertaining. But the one by Hornets247.com got us thinking about a half-naked Peja Stojakovic, so we were a little disappointed when Pounding the Rock didn't give any play to Tony Parker's underwear ad for French clothier De Fursac.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Remembering T-Mac's Dunk on Shawn Bradley

Shout out to YaoButtaMing for reminding us about T-Mac's nasty, nasty dunk on Shawn Bradley from the 2005 playoffs. You can watch it on youtube, but the following screenshots capture the essence of the nastiness.

You can get current Houston info from Rockets Blast, part of that NBA Preview jaune. And check out The Beale Street Beat for the Grizzlies.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mark Cuban is down with TheHype

File under "Private Jokes with TheHype."

SunsGossip paparazzi caught Mark Cuban deplaning his Gulfstream V jet after a business trip. He and longtime friend Ross Perot appear to have been doing a little in-flight reading -- Cuban is holding a paper copy of TheHype's latest comic.

Jet on over to Mavs Moneyball to see what else that fool has been up to. And HoopsAddict has the NBA Preview for the ever-lovable Raptors.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tribute to Larry Brown's Sixers

We’ll always have a special place in our heart for the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s not just because Barkley used to play for the team. And it’s not just because Philadelphia is where we first started keeping tabs on Raja Bell’s haircuts. It’s because Philly fans are gangsta and will boo down anything and anyone, including hometown homeboy Kobe Bryant – and we’re talking back in the day in 2001, before everyone else started booing that fool. (Philadelphia even gave him the boo at the 2002 All-Star Game.)

So today we pay tribute to Philadelphia circa 2001, which is the last time we can remember the Sixers being hot. We dug up this file picture which features Larry Brown and Allen Iverson sharing a rare moment of "brotherly love." They're joined by a few of our other favorites from the team that went all the way to the Finals. For more up-to-date information on the Sixers, hip-hop over to their NBA Preview at Passion & Pride.

From left to right: Allen Iverson, Larry Brown, Raja Bell, Dikembe Mutombo.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Guaranteed K.O.: NBA Previews

Mark your calendars for October 29th. That’s when we at SunsGossip will be battling it out with Mr. Lucas for the prize of hypest NBA Preview post.* Until then, we are enjoying the preview-a-days that have been going on at Nets Daily, Celtics Blog, Celtics 17, and Loy's Place all thanks to the genius of Jeff at Celtics Blog.

Today is Knicks Day, so we’ll be camping out at our brother Mutoni’s. Oops! We meant to link here. Our bad, Mutoni!

SunsGossip is also starting an underground campaign to get TheHype and Give Me the Rock to join the Preview bandwagon.

*Just to be clear, Lucas is obviously going to deliver a much better post. We at SunsGossip are just playing the role of hype-man here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Highlights from Suns Media Day

There has been much "hoop"-la about the new NBA basketball, but Jumaine Jones pretty much summed it up on the Media Day webcast. "As long as it's round, it goes in the basket." Preach, brother!

Other highlights included Eric Piatkowski's comment about planning to teach his teammates a little ballet and Raja Bell's absolutely perfect haircut.