Suns point guard Tyler Ulis reacts to Friday’s home loss to the Magic.
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Kent Somers and Jay Dieffenbach discuss the Suns’ decision to shut down Eric Bledsoe for the season and the possibility of them getting UCLA’s Lonzo Ball? Video: azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick tells us why the Spurs will be hard-pressed to secure the top seed in the Western Conference.
USA TODAY Sports
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HoopsHype writer Alex Kennedy discusses some of the players who will be free agents this summer.
USA TODAY Sports
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Suns center Alan Williams, who scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds, explains why he thinks he should have played better.
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Portland Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum discuss how they were affected by playing with Suns coach Earl Watson, following Sunday’s Portland win over Phoenix. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Suns guard Devin Booker discusses his game-winning play to beat the Mavericks in Dallas on Saturday. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Sarah McLellan and Doug Haller discuss the Suns’ loss to the Lakers, tanking for best possible draft pick and the Pac-12 basketball semifinals.
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Suns guard Devin Booker reacts to Thursday night’s loss to the Lakers.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley break down the NBA MVP race and a possible reunion in the Cardinals defensive backfield.
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Jose Calderon made 415K for two hours and he didn’t even play. Veuer’s Nick Cardona explains why.
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Phoenix Suns center Alan Williams watches his mother, Jeri Williams, sworn in as Phoenix police chief in Chesapeake Energy Arena. (Paul Coro/azcentral sports)
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Hosted by head coach Earl Watson, who says the Suns “embrace and celebrate our youth.” Video: Phoenix Suns
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Tyler Ulis on Suns’ loss to Magic
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Blazers guards Lillard, McCollum on Suns coach Watson
Suns’ Devin Booker on buzzer-beater to beat Mavericks
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Devin Booker on loss to Lakers
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Suns ’embrace youth’ in WeArePHX ‘Momentum’ video
The Suns have shut down two-thirds of their starting five and their top guard off the bench. Even so, coach Earl Watson said there’s still much to be gained over the season’s final 14 games.
“There’s not a switch you just flip on,” Watson said before Friday’s game against Orlando in downtown Phoenix. “I don’t know how to even think that way. I don’t how that even works, but you can’t say you have a young core and not try to teach them how to win every game. I can’t come in next fall and say, ‘It’s time to win.'”
With an eye on the future and the playoffs off the radar, the Suns shut down center Tyson Chandler and sixth man Brandon Knight at the All-Star break. This week, they did the same to Eric Bledsoe, their leading scorer and playmaker. This has made the development of rookie point guard Tyler Ulis, rookie forward Derrick Jones Jr. and second-year big man Alan Williams a top priority.
An encouraging sign: After Wednesday’s loss to Sacramento, guard Devin Booker got Ulis and rookie forward Marquese Chriss on the Talking Stick Resort Arena practice court, where they worked an extra hour.
“It’s refreshing, to be honest,” Watson said. “It’s late in the season. (Development coach) Mehmet Okur came to me and we went down and just watched, giving them space and, at the same time, support. We watched them get their shots and routine going without interfering. Okur said, ‘I wish I had a best friend like him.’ I said, ‘Who?’ He said, ‘Booker.’ Because most guys would be like, ‘Hey, man, let’s just go home,’ or ‘Let’s go eat.’ That’s when you know there’s something special, and it’s good to see for our young guys.”
Even with Bledsoe out, the Suns don’t plan to move Knight back into the rotation. The backup guard was available Wednesday but said he couldn’t go because of back spasms. Moving forward, it appears that option is off the table. Watson said Friday that the Suns would continue to play their young players and that Knight – under contract three more years – wouldn’t play the rest of the season.
Watson’s immediate focus is getting Ulis ready for extended minutes, an effort that stretches off the court.
“The test is truly, ‘Can your body recover?'” Watson said. “When you go home, how do you take care of your body? We all know we leave here kind of late. Do you stop and pick up a cheeseburger? Do you go home and try to refuel your body in the right way? With Tyler being smaller and being a rookie, he has to make sure he’s on point outside of basketball, resting icing, limiting a lot of social activity.”
In addition to Chandler, Knight and Bledsoe, the Suns played Friday without veteran guard Leandro Barbosa, out with illness. That gave the Suns just nine available players against the Magic.