The Phoenix Suns admittedly are in “rebuild mode” and it’s obvious with their youthful roster, but rebuild shouldn’t be confused nor an excuse with deficiency. The Phoenix Suns have a major deficiency on defense.
They simply struggle to stop teams from piling up points on them and it’s becoming a major issue.
At the bottom of their division and one of the worst teams in the Western Conference, and the NBA, the Suns rebuild is moving at a snail’s pace. While fans can get excited with the offensive promise of youngsters such as Devin Booker and the performances of Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix needs to start building a defensive anchor to go along with their young offensive building blocks.
True, Phoenix has big men such as Alex Len and veteran Tyson Chandler to man the paint and rookie Marquese Chriss’ shot blocking ability is promising, but the Suns are allowing teams to score on them in alarming bunches and it’s costing them games.
It cost them a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday when Minnesota rallied from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit, courtesy of a 27-6 run, to rally past Phoenix 98-85. Minnesota outscored Phoenix 31-10 in the 4th.
It cost them the game against Denver when the Nuggets’ 16-point outburst in the first quarter ballooned to a 20-point lead. In that game Denver outscored Phoenix 34-15 in the second quarter, took a 53-33 at the half and despite cutting the Denver’s lead to 3 in the 4th quarter, Phoenix lost 120-114.
Phoenix needs to invest in a youthful rim-protector, a true defender, who they can pair with Len, Chriss and others for the future.
The Suns need to make a trade for Philadelphia 76er’s Nerlens Noel.
Noel is a potential defensive anchor who won’t command the ball on the offense, won’t take shots away from Bledsoe, Booker and others and is the young player that a veteran such as Tyson Chandler can mentor and mold into a piece of the franchise’s foundation.
Noel, 22, is a 6-11 228 pound rim protector who can also score in the paint if needed. He is also readily available on the trade block and has already garnered interest from teams such as the Toronto Raptors.
So who could Phoenix offer to Philly? Brandon Knight? Draft Picks?
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein recently reported that interested rivals believe Knight “will be made available” although Phoenix has maintained otherwise:
“We’re certainly not looking to move Brandon, we haven’t been close to trading Brandon,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said earlier this month, per Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports.
Phoenix may not want to trade an attractive piece such as Knight for a player who will be a free agent at the end of the season, but the Suns should explore all opportunities.
While Knight might be pursued more by a contending team, he also meets a need for Philadelphia who is motivated to move Noel:
Was told recently, not much desire to trade Jahlil – Noel is the guy they’ll move. Not on the same page at all. https://t.co/G3uRMqt3E6
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) November 23, 2016
Noel would be a nice addition to the Suns, one who can instantly boost their defensive presence and perhaps allow the Suns to use a “twin towers” approach to their starting lineups by starting any combination of Chandler/Len/Noel.
It would also allow Phoenix to make Chandler and/or Len available in trade, fetching more potential draft picks in return.
Will Phoenix roll the dice on a Noel trade? Maybe, but one thing is sure, they need to address their major issues on defense before it starts stunting the development of their key players.
Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).
Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.
According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.
Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.
Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.
Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.
“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.
The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”
Mavs’ Kristaps Porzingis Accused of Rape in New York
Dallas Mavericks big man and former New York Knick Kristaps Porzingis is being investigated back New York for an alleged rape that a woman told police took place sometime last year, according to the New York Post.
The woman, who informed police about the alleged rape on Thursday, says that she waited more than a year to come forward regarding the incident because she had discussed receiving $68,000 from Porzingis to keep quiet.
Roland G. Riopelle, the attorney for Porzingis, has since denied the allegations and has said they had previously referred the case to federal authorities due to the “accuser’s extortionate demands.”
“We are aware of the complaint that was made against Mr. Porzingis on Friday and unequivocally deny the allegations,” Riopelle said. “We made a formal referral to federal law enforcement on Dec. 20, 2018, based on the accuser’s extortionate demands. We also alerted the National Basketball Association months ago, and they are aware of the ongoing investigation of the accuser by federal law enforcement. We cannot comment further on an ongoing federal investigation. Please refer any questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the National Basketball Association.”
The woman alleges that the incident took place on February 7th, 2018, at the Sky building in New York, where Porzingis lived, just hours following Porzingis suffering a torn ACL, the injury that has kept him off the court for more than a year.
An NBA spokesman said the league is aware of the situation while the Knicks’ team spokesperson said; “This is Kristaps’ personal matter and not related to the Knicks.” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated that the team is aware of the situation but “we have been instructed by federal authorities not to comment.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks had informed the Mavericks of the pending Porzingis rape allegations during a trade call with NBA headquarters, that took place on January 31st, that finalized the deal that sent Porzingis to the Mavericks.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department issued the following: “The NYPD takes sexual assault and all rape cases extremely seriously, and urges anyone who has been a victim to file a report so we can perform a comprehensive investigation, and offer support and services to survivors.”
Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins Says Fans Have Called Him ‘N—-r’, Says He’s Reported it to League
Golden State Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins is speaking out about how NBA fans treat players, revealing that fans have called him the N-word during games and stating that he had reported the incidents to the league.
Cousins discussed the incidents during an interview with Chris Haynes on the ‘Posted Up’ podcast:
“Oh, I’ve been called n—-r, and it’s crazy because this has happened to me on a few occasions. I reported it to the league, and, you know, I may have said whatever I said back, and I was still punished for it. But obviously it became a bigger issue when it was Russ [Westbrook] and he was still fined for it. I don’t really understand it. We’re the product. We push this league. So, I don’t understand. When does our safety, when does, it become important?”
While Cousins spoke candidly about his experiences, he did not specific which cities in which he heard the racial slurs.
“I don’t really want to, because I’m not really trying to put a label on an entire fan base” Cousins said when discussing which cities he heard the slurs. T”here are ignorant individuals in every city. I’ll just put it like that. [NBA] tells you to ignore it, or whatever the case may be. But how many times am I supposed to ignore that? Me coming from where I come from [Mobile, Alabama]. They lucky all they got was a response.”
While Cousins did not mention any cities or teams, Haynes reported that one city was Sacramento, where Cousins spent the majority of his career playing for the Kings.
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