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Phoenix Suns to get to work after getting to work

PHOENIX — They put on their gloves — have to protect those hands — and went right to work.

“I’m not too much of a handy man,” Kendall Marshall said. “Growing up, my Dad wouldn’t even let me cut the grass because he had a bad accident. But I’m going to do what I can to help out.”

Marshall and P.J. Tucker joined other team personnel to help build wheelchair accessible ramps for two Valley families.

“I think I’m more of a hammer guy,” Tucker said, which matches his style of play. “For sure. You’ve got to be the same. You’ve got to correlate. My game off the court and on the court got to correlate together.”

The team, including alumni, executives and staff, took to the community as part of “Suns Week of Service,” benefiting various non-profit organizations.

Training camp, meanwhile, begins in a few days.

“I’m very excited,” Marshall said. “I feel like it’s kind of a new start for us.”

No kidding.

There’s a new general manager, new head coach, new coaching staff and — at the moment — nine new faces on the roster.

“I’m hoping we know who we are. We find out what our identity is,” Marshall said when asked what he hopes to gain from camp, which opens Tuesday in Flagstaff. “I think that’s going to be big for starting out the season. We tried to do so many things last year that we never found one thing that we were really, really good at. I think that if we can do that throughout training camp it’ll be a good stepping stone for going into the season.”

After a 25-win season and missing the playoffs for a third straight year, the Suns head into camp with very few expectations, except one, according to Tucker.

“This year is just all about competing,” he said. “Us putting whoever is out on the floor and everybody going 150 miles an hour. Everybody pushing it to the limit, picking it up on the defense; being together, being a team — come back being a team. I think that’s the biggest thing (head coach Jeff Hornacek) wants.”

There is, however, one concern: The altitude. Flagstaff is 7,000 feet above sea level.

“Everybody has been talking about it a lot,” Tucker said. “I think that’s all in your mind. I’m going to go out there and play hard. I think we’ll all get in shape and it’ll be good. I’m excited.”

Added Marshall with a smile, “That’s what I’m nervous about. I’ve heard nothing but bad things about Flagstaff and this altitude, but I’m sure after the first day we’ll be good.”