Hi! The Sixers are playing for the first time in a week tonight! And the people who are excited about this can probably be counted on one hand. The extended holiday is still going on. You're meeting up with friends of old when they're actually back in town. Maybe you're catching a movie - The Wolf of Wall Street seems to be popular. Grudge Match has Kevin Hart, who must be popular for NBA fans after the Kevin Hart commercial deluge. It may have been a brainwashing attempt. The Hobbit is still playing, but I'd suggest waiting for DVD (without spoiling anything: there's a really unnecessary arc which takes up a lot of the movie that's just terrible).
Anyway, the Sixers are like number 39 on the list of realistic options for viewing/doing this weekend, and that's for diehards and blogreaders. But I've acquired game coverage for a game to be announced later from blog phenom/nice-guy-in-person Jake Pavorsky and have to figure out a way to interest you in this game.
It would have been a lot more intriguing had both teams attempted to lose, as was expected when the season began. Except the Suns are (accidentally?) good. And the best part? Who even are these guys? Well, that's why I'm here: to introduce you to our opponent/make you want to watch this game. Since I'm failing at the second part of the aforementioned purpose of this preview, I can at least fulfill the requirements of the first.
What you need to know: In retrospect, the Bledsoe-Jared Dudley swap was a genius move by the Suns. Bledsoe was probably worth the ability for the Suns to get Dudley and Redick, but Phoenix only had to give up Dudley and a future draft pick to Milwaukee. Bledsoe, the ex-Baby Bron, is averaging numbers similar to Evan Turner, but he's doing it efficiently and is better on defense. So imagine some of the good things Turner does but better and fewer bad things, from a freakishly athletic 6-foot guard.
What to tell your roommates/loved ones/friends: He's Chris Paul's old backup.
What you need to know: Dragic is nominally the second point guard of this two-headed machine, though he's arguably been better than Bledsoe. He's taller and craftier, but not as athletic. He can wow you with his dribble moves, which get a bonus watching-point (I just made this up) because he's a lefty.
What to tell your roommates/loved ones/friends: He's Steve Nash's old backup.
What you need to know: Tucker's created quite the path to an NBA starting job. He played part of one season in the league, went overseas and played in five different pro leagues, then came back to the NBA and won a starting job late last season on the Suns. And he hasn't relinquished it. He's a D-and-3 player, with more emphasis on the D until this season, where he's shooting a seemingly fluky 44% from distance. He's also not a guy you want to mess with.
A Look at the Opponents
A Look at the Opponents
What to tell your roommates/loved ones/friends: Easier to say you've never heard of the guy.
What you need to know: Frye returned from a life-threatening heart ailment to become basically the player he's always been since joining the Phoenix Suns - a stretch four in the most literal of senses. Frye averages almost 5 three point attempts per game in under 27 minutes and doesn't do anything else particularly well. But bigs who shoot threes have a great effect on your spacing and overall team play, and can be especially good just by hitting a high percentage of the jumpers they take.
What to tell your roommates/loved ones/friends: A three point shooting catapult.
What you need to know: I laughed when I heard Plumlee was named the starter for the Suns. I saw the athletic but unproductive backup who couldn't get minutes in Indiana's rotation last season - a team that routinely played Tyler Hansbrough as their primary backup big - and thought it was a tanking ploy. NOAP. He's legitimately not bad! He finishes around the rim, rebounds well (nearly 12 per 36 minutes!) and blocks some shots as well. Maybe the Plumlee hatred around these parts needs to die down, as Mason's been halfway decent this year as well.
What to tell your roommates/loved ones/friends: One of those big white guys from Duke.
What you need to know: They only play well together, it seems. The Philly-bred Morris twins are both having career years, especially Markieff. Kieff has cut down on the three point attempts and jumpers in general for more interior play, and has been excellent as a backup center. Marcus is the other primary backup big, and like starter Channing Frye is tasked with spreading the floor. A spread attack featuring two drive-and-kick point guards only works when you have capable shooters to kick it to, and both twins can provide that.
What to tell your roommates/loved ones/friends: The NBA's wonder twins.
What you need to know: Gerald Green's career has been resurrected for the second time. Traded with Plumlee (and a first round pick - Phoenix has 4 this year!) for Luis Scola, Green has rediscovered how to play effectively in the NBA. Like many of the others on this team, his success is dependent on his three point stroke. And unlike Jeff Jarrett's, it's an effective one, especially when used often. Green's launching an amazing 6.5 three point shots in well under 30 minutes per game. This team likes shooting threes, and Green's green light (sorry) may make him the biggest individual beneficiary.
What to tell your roommates/loved ones/friends: He's the cupcake guy.