Team GM: Tom Leander, Suns Pregame Host
Honorary Coach: Don Nelson Jr.(former Suns asst. coach)
One of the most personable coaches in Suns history. and now GM of the Mavericks. Nellie starred in a Suns Gametime series called “Hog Wild with Donn Nelson Jr.” where he took us on different adventures on his Harley including a tour of the arena which finished with Nellie jumping into the jacuzzi in the Suns lockeroom!
First Pick: Alvan Adams
I became a die-hard fan during his magical rookie year when Alvan averaged 19pts, 9 reb. and 6 assists. In fact, during his first few years with the Suns, I would listen to Al McCoy’s radio broadcast and chart Alvan’s shots: made and missed. As a ballboy, I asked for and received a pair of Alvan’s purple-striped Nike shoes..and I still have them! He is still the most unassuming and humble NBA All-Star I have ever met. Finally,as a kid, I attended the Adams/Westphal basketball camp in Casa Grande 4 different times. And now I have this dynamic combo on my Ultimate Suns team! Obviously, when you look at the pool of star players in franchise history, the center position is quite thin. I felt it would be important to grab a quality center early in the draft, and Alvan was a no-brainer. He is now ably backed-up by Joe Kleine, who provides the beef when the svelte AA checks out.
Favorite Pick: Paul Westphal
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As mentioned above, I attended the Adams/Westphal camp and to this day I remember all the elements of shooting that Westy provided during those sessions. Over the years, Westy and I have maintained a nice friendship. Recently as head coach of the Kings, he had tremendous success against the Suns. After those Sacramento victories, I would visit Westy in the Kings lockeroom and tell him “If the Suns are going to go down, at least it’s to one of my NBA idols!” Last year in Sacramento, Paul and I visited before the game and he told me about the beginning of his coaching career at little Southwestern Baptist Bible College in Paradise Valley. It’s a fascinating story which someday could turn into a major motion picture. The Suns have had some great combinations in their history: Nash/Stoudemire, KJ/Chambers and Adams/Westphal. As General manager of Tizzy’s Team, it was important to keep these 2 legends together!