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‘Good nerves’ coming for Monty Williams as Suns’ opener gets closer

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams instructs his team during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The weird rhythm of the Suns’ nine-day break between the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season is just about over.

Tuesday will be your typical practice before the game and then it’s gameday on Wednesday after that.

“I’m excited,” Williams said after practice Monday. “Every day that gets closer to opening night, I can feel it. The good nerves, first time doing it here in Phoenix, wanting to do well, wanting our guys to do well.”

With a bit of a laugh behind it, Williams described his players as “agitated” because they’ve been going hard against each other for such a lengthy amount of time before facing opposition.

There was much more of the offense installed in the past week or so, something intentional Williams wanted so the Suns could learn to play without relying too much on star shooting guard Devin Booker.

“We got a ton of plays in, now we have to learn how to play within those plays,” Williams said.

Williams labeled it as a “sacrifice” for Booker to make.

“New coach, new system — he won’t admit but there were days where he was like, looking around, and I knew that would happen but I thought it was important for our team to learn how to play off of him,” Williams said. “We can’t have him try to save the day all the time, even though he’s more than capable.”

In no surprise, Booker said it wasn’t a big deal.

“It’s fine with me,” he said. “I always take pride in being a basketball player. Growing up my whole life, it’s never been an offense or a coach’s gameplan I never understood. So I always felt I [can] be in any offense, in any way, and find a way. That’s just a part of knowing the game, playing the right way. It comes down to knowing how to play and playing with each other and building that chemistry with each other.”


There isn’t a more valuable pair of hands in Talking Stick Resort Arena than Booker’s, so, especially given his history of minor injuries, it was notable to see a wrap on the top half of his left middle finger.

Booker labeled it as a sprain and said he was fine. Practice, as usual, was not open to the media but Booker was one of the many players shooting around after practice and nothing appeared to be abnormal with his form.

Williams said there were no injury updates available but that they are “a little banged up” after getting through training camp.


Rookie point guard Jalen Lecque has been one of the team’s last players shooting after practice nearly every day.

In the past couple of practices, Lecque has been specifically working with the coaching staff on tweaking the form on his jumper. That’s a critical part of Lecque’s game, because as the undrafted guard showed in Las Vegas in summer league, he’s got a solid slashing foundation as a scorer with strength, quicks and of course his hops.

“He’s got a lot of potential,” Williams said of Lecque. “Like most young guys, he’s learning the day-in, day-out grind of work. And until you do it, you just don’t know. So, it’s an adjustment for him but he’s acclimated well and most young guys are always learning.

“Come early, stay late-type thing, is something he’s going to have to adopt for a while because the better his habits, the better his potential or better his ability will come out.”

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