Top 5 Preseason Performances
October 24, 2013
By Ben York, Suns.com
Before your new-look Phoenix Suns begin their 2013-14 campaign against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, October 30 in the team’s regular season home opener at US Airways Center, take a moment to look back at the team’s stellar preseason. Finishing with a 5-2 record, there were multiple players – some new, some returning – who showed flashes of brilliance and promise. Click through to revisit the top five individual performances of the preseason.
Eric Bledsoe vs. Maccabi Haifa, Oct. 7: In perhaps the team’s best overall individual performance of the preseason, Eric Bledsoe demonstrated why the Suns are so excited about the young guard in a 130-89 victory against Maccabi Haifa. The 6-1 star tallied 22 points on 10-of-15 from the floor to go along with five steals, four assists, three rebounds and a game-high +25 efficiency rating (the highest of any Suns player in the preseason). “Good basketball players know how to play with other guys in terms of what works best,” Hornacek said after the game about the budding relationship between Bledsoe and Dragic. “One time it might be Goran. One time it might be Eric. They seem to have a pretty good little relationship already, which is kind of nice.”
Channing Frye vs. the Blazers, Oct. 9: After missing the entire 2012-13 season with a heart condition, Channing Frye’s first action on the court proved to be not only inspiring, but a huge key in the Suns’ 104-98 victory in Portland. Frye was 5-of-6 from the field including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in just 16 minutes of action. The Suns held off a fourth-quarter rally by the Blazers to improve their preseason record to 2-0.
Goran Dragic vs. the Clippers, Oct. 15: Playing with what many consider to be their starting lineup for the 2013-14 season opener, Goran Dragic elevated his game to another level to help the Suns nearly come away with a win after trailing by 16 at the half. The Dragon scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting (4-of-4 from downtown) as the Suns stormed back to take a 95-94 lead with 38.8 seconds left in the game. Even though the Suns didn’t emerge victorious, Dragic’s leadership and effectiveness were on full display.
Miles Plumlee vs. the Nuggets, Oct. 23: Finishing the preseason on a positive note, the Suns pulled away in the fourth quarter against the Nuggets in a 98-79 win. While Eric Bledsoe’s 21 points and Gerald Green’s 19 were certainly welcomed, Miles Plumlee verified why he’s turned so many heads in preseason. The center scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting while adding 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 25 minutes. More significantly, perhaps, Plumlee finished with a game-high +20 efficiency rating. “If I had to say any one player right now, it’d probably be Miles,” Hornacek said to Suns.com’s Matt Petersen when asked who has impressed him thus far. “When we got him, obviously he only played 55 minutes [total] in Indiana last year. When we got him, we watched him shoot the ball. He had a little bit of a hitch he said he was trying to work on. Offensively he didn’t look that great. He came here and worked his tail off for a month prior to the season.”
Gerald Green vs. the Spurs, Oct. 13: Gerald Green is obviously known for his amazing athletic ability and high-flying dunking skills. But his 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting to go along with three rebounds and two assists in just 19 minutes proved that the 6-7 combo guard can do so much more. Green’s versatile performance on both ends of the floor helped lead the Suns to a 106-99 win and an unbeaten 3-0 in the preseason. “You’ve just got to go out there and compete hard every day,” Green said. “I’m all about winning. It doesn’t matter if I start, or if I don’t start, if I play or if I don’t play. As long as we’re winning, that’s all I care about.”