Suns Retorter: Suns Fans, It's Safe To Return
Here’s a challenge for you. The next time the Suns play, turn on FOX Sports Arizona, watch at least a few minutes of the game and then check your pulse. If it isn’t racing and you aren’t having fun, I highly recommend you consult a physician immediately. You likely are dead, capable of playing an extra on The Walking Dead or can’t go into the sunlight (or are very shiny when you do depending on which generation of vampire movies you grew up on).
That’s because, plain and simple, the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns are exhilarating.
In fact, it might be time for a name change. Drop the S, add an F and and call them the Funs.
Let’s be honest -- and I’m going to be regardless of who signs the checks -- the 2012-13 iteration of the Suns was, well, difficult to watch. It was exactly what you’d expect a 25-win season to be, about as ugly as the premise for the new Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro movie.
Sure, the roster has turned over, the front office got a facelift and the coaching staff is different, yet strangely familiar to loyal fans. Those all have helped take the Suns from boring a year ago to soaring in the standings now but it may not have been the most impactful thing to happen.
As much as it sounds like a bad self-help infomercial you’d see late at night on an obscure cable channel, a simple change in attitude and mentality may have been just as important for the team as anything else.
“Before the season in training camp,” Goran Dragic said, “when we had a meeting with all the coaching staff, Jeff said one good [thing]: ‘You guys, I want to see smiles on your faces even if it’s tough moments for us. Just be happy. Play your game and have fun.’’”
It shows. Since training camp there has been a sense of comradery that was missing for much of last season. It is a brotherhood and an understanding a group of men who spend as much time together as an NBA team does need to evolve from individuals playing for the name on the back to a team playing for the one on the front.
The difference in their body language from last season to this season is about as vast as the difference between Vulcan and whatever language nerdy Star Wars fans speak.
Teammates have shared as many laughs as they have plays on the court. They’re celebrating the wins together as a group and commiserating about loses as one as well. They’re chest bumping and the bench is fully engaged (just see how much they get into the game after a play like a Plumlee block). Even Marcus and Markieff Morris make sure to stand at the scorers table and give dap to each of their teammates heading onto the floor for opening tip even though they aren’t among the starters.
Oh, and the team is not afraid to show their goofy side when necessary. Take rookie Archie Goodwin for example. He photobombed a Goran Dragic interview after a big win by combining his teammates hair and straightening his collar.
That’s right, these Suns are having as much fun as they are creating for the fans.
“I think everybody’s having fun this year,” Dragic explained. “It’s much easier [that way]. You don’t feel any pressure, you’re more relaxed and you just play your game.
“I get back home, I’m smiling, I’m having a good time with my kid, my wife. The next day, I can’t wait to get to practice and play basketball with those guys.”
It’s a far cry from just six months ago, and that’s a good thing. The shift in attitude has kept Suns fans from the loud cries that resembled those of the horror movie heroine last year.
So don’t worry. It’s fun again to be a Suns fan. Don’t hesitate to come out from hiding and prove that you do have a pulse. And if you don’t, well we’re not going to judge, you’re welcome along for the ride too.
As a fan, what has been the most fun moment of the season so far for you?