COMMENTARY | The 2013-14 season is sure to be filled with uncertainty for the Phoenix Suns. Common sentiment is that the Suns will be near (or at) the bottom of the Western Conference. Sure, they'll be an exciting team to watch, but wins will be at a premium.
With that said, here are three bold predictions for the 2013-14 season:
Alex Len will not finish in the top 10 for the NBA Rookie of the Year
Len is the center of the future for the Suns, at least that's the theory they're going on right now. Still, we can't ignore the fact that Len has had injuries to both ankles over the past few months. One can't help but think of a guy like Sam Bowie or Bill Walton who had injuries to their lower bodies and never recovered.
Len will start the season slowly and likely won't see big minutes until at least the trade deadline. If the Suns are lucky, he'll average seven points, five rebounds and one block, which won't get him anywhere close to the Rookie of the Year discussion. In fact, I've stated he's going to be the biggest bust this season (but I still believe in his long-term impact as long as he stays healthy).
Eric Bledsoe will win the Most Improved Player Award
The Most Improved Player Award is almost always given to a player who sees a significant rise in his playing time and position on the roster. The last three winners were Paul George (went from 29.7 MPG to 37.6), Ryan Anderson (went from 22.3 MPG to 32.2) and Kevin Love (from 28.6 MPG and 22 starts to 35.8 and 73).
Bledsoe is in that exact position after playing 20.4 MPG during the 2012-13 season. He's being given the keys to the offense and will be allowed to play big minutes. His per 36-minute numbers were 14.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks. Expect fewer rebounds and more assists and that would be enough to win the award.
Archie Goodwin will average over 10 points per game
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has already said the team is going to play at a frenetic pace. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the team average over 100 points per game. While Goodwin isn't an elite shooter and didn't shoot well during the Las Vegas Summer League, he is excellent at getting to the free-throw line and can thrive in transition.
The main issue for Goodwin will be getting consistent minutes. With Bledsoe, Dragic, Shannon Brown, Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker and Kendall Marshall all fighting him for minutes, it will come down to playing time. If Goodwin can get to the free-throw line like he did in Las Vegas (6.9 per game), he'll leapfrog the others and get his time.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers Phoenix Suns practices and games for the site he founded, HoopsHabit.com.Follow @iambabyd13 on Twitter!
- Sports & Recreation
- Phoenix Suns
- Alex Len
- Archie Goodwin
- Eric Bledsoe