Round Table: Season Preview

Posted: Oct. 29, 2013

What part of the upcoming Suns season are you most excited about?

Greg Esposito:The part of the upcoming season I’m most looking forward to is the start of it. With so many new players the start of this season is much like the holiday it falls near, Halloween. When you reach into the bag after trick or treating you just don’t know what you’ll come out with. You could get a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup – the Cadillac of candies – or a tooth brush from the dentist down the street. Either way, the excitement of the unknown is what piques your interest most about the holiday. The Suns are in the same boat. We just don’t know what to expect, but finding out is exhilarating.

Matt Petersen: Greg’s response ends where mine begins. If it’s the Reese’s, it goes in the good pile. Toothbrush, bad pile. Sorting out the haves and have-nots is both serious and fun business. Basketball is slightly different in that the “have-not” status, especially with young players, can be a temporary thing. The Suns’ youngsters (see: Eric Bledsoe, Miles Plumlee, the rookies, etc.) will have plenty of opportunities to show what they can do and what they need to improve. Witnessing the lessons sink in, the coming-out moments and even the growing pains is what has me intrigued more than anything.

Ben York: I dig the Halloween analogies, but if I’m honest, my answer is more literal. Speaking as a fan and not an employee for a moment, I’m excited to see how the effort and dedication that each and every player put in during the preseason (and even months before) translates onto the court. Coach Jeff Hornacek and General Manager Ryan McDonough have each said that perhaps more than anything, they’ve been impressed with the work ethic they’ve seen the players demonstrate on a daily basis. That type of mentality is something I respect in any human being, and certainly a quality that fans can relate to firsthand.

Which Suns player do you think is getting overlooked the most heading into the season?

Petersen: Eric Bledsoe is getting a lot of love in anticipation of a breakout season, so he’s out when it comes to “overlooked.” The guy who does qualify? Miles Plumlee. I don’t fault anyone – local or out of state – for not expecting much from him. His rise to relevancy within the Suns organization has been meteoric, and has occurred over a ridiculously short period of time. Now, General Manager Ryan McDonough mentions him in the same breath as Bledsoe when it comes to the team’s young talent. Entering the season pegged as the starting center and flanked by two play-making guards in Bledsoe and Dragic, Plumlee is the 2013-14 definition of “sleeper.”

York: It’s hard to argue with Matt’s choice of Miles Plumlee, but I’m going to go in a different direction. In my humble opinion, I think people are overlooking what Jeff Hornacek can do with this roster. Already earning rave reviews for the amount of “teaching” he’s done thus far (including the inspired play of Miles Plumlee), Hornacek’s emphasis on playing fast, smart basketball allows each member of the team an opportunity to become a better, more confident player. Sometimes, that level of confidence can take an entire team to another level.

Espo: Wrong and wrong. And to think that people view you both as Suns experts. Wait, they don’t. Well, that’s better. The answer is simply, EVERYONE. Very little respect has been given to this group of guys around the interwebs and in general. That is what we call MOTIVATION jack. All these guys have a chance to surprise and prove themselves. In fact, it is what Gerald Green told me is what is bringing the team together. They are a bunch of guys with something to prove. These guys will be the Suns of Anarchy. Some will be exhilarating and some will be uncomfortable but it will all be interesting to see.

List one thing Suns fans should watch for this season.

York: The details. The little things. That’s how good teams become great. Watch how players rotate on defense. How hard they come off screens. How fast (and smart) they play. How they go after loose balls. That’s what Hornacek has instilled in this team. Throughout the preseason, the Suns have proven that wins are predicated on hard work and effort, and there’s no shortage of that on this squad.

Espo: The devil is in the details, Mr. York. The word of the season will be growth. Either it will happen or it won’t and it will determine a lot about the future of this franchise and who will be a part of it. Hopefully it will be something you don’t have to watch too closely to see. If things go according to plan everyone from the coaching staff to the players on the court and the guys writing these round tables will actually round into what everyone hopes to see from them as the season goes on.

Petersen: Speedy offense and sound defense. Hornacek learned the best of both worlds during his playing days under former NBA head coaches Cotton Fitzsimmons and Jerry Sloan. He wants both philosophies instilled on the Suns. The available talent pool will continue to grow, but the foundation on which that talent is built will be key. Regardless of who’s executing on either side of the floor, expect Hornacek to, well, expect his game plan to be performed.