ESPN’s Lowe: Phoenix Suns are not a team to watch this NBA season

Oct 2, 2017, 4:26 PM
Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss, left, hangs on the rim after stuffing over Sacramento Kings g...

Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss, left, hangs on the rim after stuffing over Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 11, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. The Kings won 129-104. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The Phoenix Suns appear to have a roster filled with talented young players ready to take the next step — but ESPN senior writer Zach Lowe ranked the Suns 27th out of 30 NBA teams in terms of watch-ability with a 21.5 score.

Lowe gave out scores from 1 to 10 in five categories, and the total output determines a team’s place in his annual League Pass Ratings.

The five categories are “Zeitgeist” — which looks at how often a team is brought up during face-to-face conversations — the frequency of highlight-reel plays, how the team plays within the coach’s system, the entertainment value of the team’s announcers and unintentional comedy from players during games.

Here is what Lowe said about the 27th-ranked Suns, led by third-year pro Devin Booker.

This is too low for a team sporting a militia of interesting prospects, a pure hot-hand gunner who scored 70 points in one game, and a bulldog point guard who was so good last season the tanktastic Suns sent him home. (Eric Bledsoe looms as one of the season’s most interesting trade pieces.) But the ranking system knows the Suns are too young to play the style — part Spurs, part Blazers — Earl Watson envisions, and that Watson may not be the coach to coax them there.

Not only does Lowe feel the Suns are too young to develop Earl Watson’s offensive style, he believes Alex Len, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and T.J. Warren “haven’t really shown the kind of skills that contribute to winning.”

Watson’s system and where certain players are at development wise probably contributed to the Suns’ presence in the lower-half of the rankings, but Lowe said Booker and his young teammates still “carry the whiff of intrigue.”

If anything, Lowe and the rankings system approved of the Suns new uniforms and the television broadcast team.

At least the purple is back in both the uniforms and the court design. The blocky, shadowed lettering on the jerseys is cartoonish, but that sunburst on the belt buckle is a perfect subtle touch.

And let’s give one final salute to Steve Albert, Phoenix’s longtime play-by-play guy who retired after last season. He inserted biting wit into every broadcast. Kevin Ray is a ready replacement, and Eddie Johnson, his partner, pulls no punches.

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ESPN’s Lowe: Phoenix Suns are not a team to watch this NBA season