• Tyler Ulis on Suns' loss to Magic

    Tyler Ulis on Suns’ loss to Magic

  • Shot Clock: Eric Bledsoe is out, maybe UCLA's Lonzo Ball is in?

    Shot Clock: Eric Bledsoe is out, maybe UCLA’s Lonzo Ball is in?

  • Why the Spurs desperately need the No. 1 seed

    Why the Spurs desperately need the No. 1 seed

  • Big-name free agents this summer

    Big-name free agents this summer

  • Alan Williams on why he was disappointed in loss to Kings

    Alan Williams on why he was disappointed in loss to Kings

  • Blazers guards Lillard, McCollum on Suns coach Watson

    Blazers guards Lillard, McCollum on Suns coach Watson

  • Suns' Devin Booker on buzzer-beater to beat Mavericks

    Suns’ Devin Booker on buzzer-beater to beat Mavericks

  • Shot Clock: Suns-Lakers, tanking, Pac-12 picks

    Shot Clock: Suns-Lakers, tanking, Pac-12 picks

  • Devin Booker on loss to Lakers

    Devin Booker on loss to Lakers

  • Shot Clock: NBA MVP debate, Cardinals DBs

    Shot Clock: NBA MVP debate, Cardinals DBs

  • NBA player makes $415,000 for two hours

    NBA player makes $415,000 for two hours

  • Alan Williams watching his mother's police chief ceremony

    Alan Williams watching his mother’s police chief ceremony

  • Suns 'embrace youth' in WeArePHX 'Momentum' video

    Suns ’embrace youth’ in WeArePHX ‘Momentum’ video

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Jarell Eddie got the call just a few hours after his Windy City developmental team had lost to Austin. A 6-foot-7 forward, Eddie had posted 12 points and four assists in the four-point loss and he was preparing for the next night’s contest at Canton.

Lying in bed in his apartment, Eddie first talked with his agent. Then Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. The next afternoon, he boarded a flight at O’Hare International Airport for Detroit, joining the Suns at their Michigan hotel around 8:30 p.m. Signed to a 10-day contract, Eddie needed to get up to speed, but he had a significant advantage.

He knew Suns coach Earl Watson.

BOX SCORE: Pistons 112, Suns 95

The two had spent the 2014-15 developmental season in Austin. Eddie was a first-year pro out of Virginia Tech. Watson was an assistant coach. With that background, Eddie had an idea of what to expect offensively, but he still went to work. Before Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Pistons, Eddie was among the first on the court, shooting 3s from around the arc. Later he sat courtside with Phoenix assistant video coordinator Julian Mills, watching plays on an iPad.

During his pregame media session, Watson called Eddie a phenomenal shooter. The type who can hit three or four in a row. Watson promised there’d be no learning period. Eddie – who had played 26 games last season with the Washington Wizards – would play right away.

“If I had a jersey, we’d have to use me, too,” Watson said. “We need all the bodies we can get.”


With 12 games left in the regular season, this is where the Suns are. Against the Pistons, they had eight available players, including the one who had just joined them.

Guard Devin Booker was out with a right ankle issue. Veterans Leandro Barbosa (illness) and Ronnie Price (leg contusion) also couldn’t play. Those three joined center Tyson Chandler, guard Brandon Knight and point guard Eric Bledsoe, all shut down by management for (take your pick) health reasons, youth evaluation or potential draft position.

RELATED: Suns finally embrace the art of tanking

For the record, Booker expects to return soon, maybe for Tuesday’s contest at Miami. His right ankle, he said, just needed a day or two to heal. Besides, he added, “I’m too young to be shut down.”

With Booker out, Watson sent out a starting five of fourth-year center Alex Len, third-year forward T.J. Warren and three rookies, Tyler Ulis, Marquese Chriss and Derrick Jones Jr. Combined scoring average of the lineup: 37.9 points.

Even so, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy still had concern. Not because he didn’t know how to prepare for such a group, but because it had nothing to lose.

“All these guys are excited to play, getting great opportunity and they’re getting great opportunity with no pressure,” he said. “As a player, it’s almost the ideal situation, you get to go out and play. You got no pressure on you, nobody’s pulling you out of the game. Nobody’s going to be terribly upset if you lose, you can just go play. It actually makes those kinds of teams really, really dangerous late in the year.”


Ten-day contracts are common in the NBA, but players don’t always get thrown into the fire so quickly. Example: Former Phoenix guard Archie Goodwin last week signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn. He sat out two games before seeing the court.

Against Detroit, Eddie was Phoenix’s first sub, entering with five minutes left in the first quarter. Watson’s instructions were simple: Hit shots and defend. If only it were that simple.

“You got so many things running through your mind,” said Eddie, 25. “You want to be in the right place defensively. You want to make the right play offensively. The athletes are better. It’s just a whole other level.”

Eddie was short on his first shot, a transition 3. His second attempt was an air ball. In the second quarter, he looked more comfortable. Eddie drilled a 3 and then scored off a baseline cut. At halftime, the Suns led 49-47. Eddie led them with 10 points.

“He gave us some offense,” Watson said.

MORE: Is Warren the Suns’ small forward of the future?

The Suns stretched their lead to 12 in the third quarter, but Detroit – fighting for an Eastern Conference playoff spot – rallied as expected. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a short jumper to knot the contest at 75-75. In the fourth quarter, Detroit blitzed the Suns, outscoring them 35-20 en route to a 112-95 win.

Phoenix (22-48) has lost four in a row.

“I thought the way we played the first three quarters was perfect,” said forward Jared Dudley, one of three Phoenix reserves. “We got tentative in the fourth quarter and kind of lost our way.”

Ulis led the Suns with 17 points and 11 assists. Alan Williams had 11 points and 12 rebounds. In 29 minutes, Eddie scored 13 points, hitting 3 of 8 from the field and 5 of 5 from the foul line.

Moving forward, Eddie’s situation likely will change. Booker, Barbosa and Price will return, limiting his minutes. But for his first contest, under these conditions, Phoenix’s newest member was content.

“I would’ve liked to have shot the ball better,” Eddie said, “but I’ll take it.”


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions