Suns Dazzle Fans at Open Practice
Thousands of fans came to the team’s open practice at US Airways Center on Saturday hoping to see the new look Suns put on a show.
And that’s exactly what the team did.
Conducted by new head coach Jeff Hornacek, fans were able to see returning Suns stars Goran Dragic, Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat and P.J. Tucker, along with newcomer Eric Bledsoe and 2013 first-round picks Alex Len and Archie Goodwin.
The insider’s look at a typical Suns practice began with several drills utilizing the entire length of the court followed by a 15-minute scrimmage. The open practice culminated in a fun half-court shot competition with fans.
Showing he still has an innate long-range shooting touch, head coach Jeff Hornacek nailed the final half-court shot for the victory.
“It felt good,” Hornacek joked about his half-court make. “But in all seriousness, it was great to see the turnout from Suns fans today. They’ve been really supportive of the team and we are working hard to put the best possible product we can on the floor.
“Hopefully, they saw a glimpse of the type of team we want to be and came away impressed.”
Highlights of the open practice included a high-flying Gerald Green dunk (his head was above the rim), Archie Goodwin racing down the court for a chase-down block and Eric Bledsoe splitting the defense numerous times to find an open cutter to the basket.
Indeed, the fast-paced style on both ends of the floor was in full effect.
“The fans were great today,” Eric Bledsoe said. “We want them to know we appreciate them and hopefully they were able to see a good show on the court.”
In addition to the scrimmage, Suns rookies had an opportunity to showcase their dancing skills in front of the fans thanks to “encouragement” from veterans P.J. Tucker and Marcin Gortat.
“We had to give the rookies a little bit of a hard time,” added Tucker with a smile. “Some of them need to work on their moves. But it was all in good fun and I think the crowd loved it.”
One bonus of attending the open practice besides getting an inside look at the team was the interaction with the players – each made a point to high-five, thank and chat with as many fans as possible.
“Our family had a great time,” said longtime Suns fan Joseph Addington. “We brought our two boys and their eyes were glued to the court the entire time. Most importantly, the players were all incredibly gracious and fun to be around.
“It affirmed why we’ll always be such huge Suns fans.”