WHO: Phoenix Suns (1-1) at Golden State Warriors (2-1)
WHEN: Monday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. PST
WHERE: Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA
HOW TO WATCH: NBC Sports Bay Area
BLOG BUDDY: Bright Side Of The Sun
Warriors: Shaun Livingston (left knee contusion) questionable, DeMarcus Cousins (left Achilles) out.
Suns: Troy Daniels (concussion) questionable.
After a losing to the Denver Nuggets, the Warriors fly home for a Monday night date with the Suns. Stephen Curry has played like an MVP in the first three games of the season, but tonight will be a classic “players are tired” game on a back-to-back. Buckle up because the score will likely be closer than the talent indicates.
Phoenix’s Bright Future
The Suns won’t be a good basketball team this year, but it’s not because they don’t have any talent. The team’s most exciting talent is still at or under the legal drinking age.
DeAndre Ayton, 20, was the number one draft pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. His rookie year will likely be full of ups and downs, but there’s no denying he’s a cornerstone for Phoenix. Literally, he looks stronger than a piece of stone.
Josh Jackson, 21, is entering his sophomore NBA season as he hopes to take a step forward on offense. Jackson impressed on defense in his inaugural NBA season.
Mikal Bridges, 22, is the rookie-elderstatesman sharpshooter of the group. He was considered one of the safest picks in the NBA Draft last June.
Elie Okobo, 20, is a work-in-progress French point guard with a strong court presence and vision beyond his years. Playing against Stephen Curry will be an early season test in the limited minutes Okobo receives tonight.
Oh, and don’t forget about Devin Booker, 21. Booker is Phoenix’s go-to scorer, and it feels like he’s been in the league for ages. He’s already a star. That said, he probably wouldn’t start for the Warriors.
The Phoenix brass has surrounded their prospects with veterans wings like Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and Jamal Crawford. The final win total won’t impress this year, but the Suns are on the right path and they play entertaining basketball. Tracking their progress throughout this year is a worthy venture for all NBA fans.
Golden State of Mind’s Hugo Kitano recently wrote about Jordan Bell’s lack of playing time in the first week of the season. Bell has played all of ten minutes this season. Part of this could be because of strong play from Kevon Looney and Damian Jones at center. Matchups might also play a role in less playing time. It’s mostly likely that Bell is stuck in Steve Kerr’s doghouse. I expect more than three minutes for Bell tonight, so look for him to play with a chip on his shoulder.
How will Damian Jones, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko (all players with NBA experience) handle the 7’1’’ wunderkind Ayton? If I were a betting man, I’d feel confident in the Warriors big men and their ability to handle Ayton, who will be playing in his third NBA game and his first at Oracle. If that’s not the case, trust that Steve Kerr is still working out which center rotation works best.
Warriors shooting vs. Suns defense
Josh Jackson can’t rent a car, but he can play defense. So can Trevor Ariza. I’m interested to see how Jackson, Ariza and Bridges match up on the Warriors because they can (technically) guard so many positions. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson went a combined 1-10 from three in Denver. Durant will always find open shots, but the Warriors should try to find some open shots for Thompson out of the gate.
We are almost 5% of the way through the season. I’m still enjoying that basketball is back and that I never played pick-up basketball with Rajon Rondo.