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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Suns guard Devin Booker talks about his team’s fight in Tuesday’s loss to the Wizards and the team’s attitude after P.J. Tucker was traded at the trade deadline. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Shot Clock: Final Four contenders, Isaiah Thomas vs. Tyler Ulis and Taijuan Walker has a good outing for the Diamondbacks. Video: azcentral sports
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Phoenix Suns’ Tyler Ulis talks about his game-winning shot against the Celtics on Sunday, March 5, 2017. (Doug Haller/azcentral sports)
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Suns center Alan Williams discusses Friday night’s win over the Thunder.
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Broadcaster Al McCoy, “The Voice of the Suns” talks about his induction into the Suns Ring of Honor on Mar. 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher
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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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This point guard is making his next inspirational move. Buzz60’s Emily Drooby (@emilydrooby) has the story.
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Former NBA player Eddie Johnson tells us who’s favored to win the NBA championship.
USA TODAY Sports
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Suns guard Devin Booker discusses Vince Carter’s ejection after hitting Booker with an elbow in a “chippy” loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Suns forward T.J. Warren discusses the team’s loss to the Bucks on Sunday and how he’s been feeling recently. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Suns center Alan Williams discusses a Suns overtime loss to the Bulls
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PJ Tucker, after being traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Toronto Raptors said: “Phoenix has changed my life. All the people here, all the fans… I couldn’t ask for a better place.” Video: Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Jay Dieffenbach and Doug Haller of azcentral sports talk about the Suns’ defensive future and the trade of P.J. Tucker to Toronto. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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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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Shot Clock: Suns-Lakers, tanking, Pac-12 picks
Devin Booker on loss to Lakers
Devin Booker on Suns’ loss to Wizards
Shot Clock: Final Four contenders, Ulis vs. Thomas, Taijuan Walker
Suns’ Tyler Ulis on buzzer beater
Alan Williams on Suns’ win over Thunder
Broadcaster Al McCoy talks about his induction into the Suns Ring of Honor
Shot Clock: NBA MVP debate, Cardinals DBs
NBA player makes $415,000 for two hours
NBA star will donate $1,000 for every point and assist he makes
Are Cavaliers or Warriors favored to win NBA title?
Booker on Carter’s ejection, “chippy” loss in Memphis
T.J. Warren on Suns’ loss to Bucks
Alan Williams on Suns’ OT loss in Chicago
PJ Tucker after being traded by Suns: ‘I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a tough day for me’
Suns’ trade of P.J. Tucker no big surprise
Alan Williams watching his mother’s police chief ceremony
Suns ’embrace youth’ in WeArePHX ‘Momentum’ video
DALLAS – Brandon Knight takes a corner 3 and keeps on going. One after another. Three makes, four, five in a row. After 10, he moves to the wing and fires. No good.
“Ahh!” Knight groans.
Once again, Knight is the last off the court at the Suns’ morning shootaround. This is how it is most days, even after the sixth-year guard was benched to get the team’s younger players on the court. Knight – who once appeared on an All-Star path – hasn’t played since the All-Star break, a stretch of eight games entering Saturday’s contest against the Mavericks.
“This is what I do,” Knight said after he fired the last jumper, his teammates already boarding the team bus. “It’s what I’ve done my entire life. It’s how I survive. It’s how I made it, so no matter what’s going on, I’m never going to stop being the hardest worker.”
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Knight just turned 25 in December. Sometimes that’s easy to forget. In 2011, the Detroit Pistons selected him with the draft’s eighth overall pick. Since then, he has experienced the highs and lows of professional basketball. After two seasons in Detroit, the Pistons traded him to Milwaukee. During the 2013-14 season, he averaged team highs of 17.9 points and 4.9 assists.
The next year, Knight was so good during the season’s first half that then-Miami guard Dwyane Wade lobbied for Knight to replace him on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. (Wade had to withdraw because of a hamstring issue.) A week later, the Bucks traded him to the Suns in a three-team deal. At season’s end, the Suns signed Knight – who had played just 11 games with Phoenix because of injuries – to a five-year extension worth $70 million.
Last year, Knight was not always efficient but productive, averaging 19.6 points and 5.1 assists. Before this season, coach Earl Watson named Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker as his starting guards, moving Knight to a sixth-man role. It’s worked out well for Bledsoe and Booker, but not so much for Knight, who provided scoring off the bench but not much ball movement.
Perhaps the most damning evidence: Before the All-Star break, with Knight running the second team, the Suns averaged 18.6 assists, tied for last in the NBA. Since then, with rookie Tyler Ulis running the second team, the Suns have averaged 24 assists, which ranks seventh. Over the same stretch, Phoenix’s field-goal percentage has gone from 44.6 percent (21st in the league) to 50.1 (second).
Knight’s approach during this stretch: “Just being myself,” he said. “Trusting the type of person that I am and knowing that I always try to do things the right way. This season’s been a little different, a little difficult. An adjustment. I’m trying to do things the right way. Whether I’m playing 30 minutes, 35 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes or not playing at all, I’m going to continue to be the hardest worker.”
At the trade deadline, Knight’s name surfaced frequently, but according to reports, there wasn’t much interest, especially with more than $40 million remaining on his contract. Asked if he expected to be dealt, Knight said he was ready for anything.
“I’ve been traded twice already,’’ he said. “There were times when I didn’t expect to be traded, there were times when I thought I might be traded. It’s always an option. I knew there was a possibility I could stay or be gone.”
Knight isn’t the only Suns player experiencing this. Veteran center Tyson Chandler – a starter all season – also has been held out. Chandler has taken on a mentor role. During timeouts, he often offers instruction to Alex Len, who took his starting spot. Knight also has stayed supportive, but in his own way.
“He understands the opportunity to play is going to come back around and he’s going to be well prepared,’’ Watson said. “His mindset is to just work harder. He has more time to exhaust his body instead of saving it for games, and he’s taking advantage of that.”
Knight insists he has perspective. Others are out with season-ending injuries. At least, he can continue to work. His confidence remains strong. When he practices, Knight still believes he’s the best player on the court. He’s thought that way his entire career. Nothing changes that.
“I’ll cheer the guys on and continue to just control what I can control, be positive, be happy,” Knight said. “I’m blessed to be in this situation as it is. A lot of people can’t be here or even fathom to be here, so as long as I just continue to work hard, those things will take care of themselves.”
Trail Blazers at Suns
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena.
TV/Radio: FSAZ/KTAR FM 98.7
Portland update: Entering Saturday’s home contest against Washington, the Trail Blazers (28-35) had won four in a row to move within 1.5 games of the Western Conference’s eighth playoff spot. They are 11-22 on the road. Center Jusuf Nurkic – acquired before the trade deadline – has averaged 17 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists since the All-Star break. In Thursday’s win over the 76ers, he had 28 points, 20 rebounds, eight assists and six blocked shots. Damian Lillard (25.9 ppg) and C.J. McCollum (23.3) are strong in the backcourt.