EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns spend Christmas at home before weekend back-to-back on road

Dec 24, 2020, 2:52 PM
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives on Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson during the secon...

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives on Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The NBA season’s yearly calendar can give teams the potential of spending Thanksgiving and/or Christmas away from home.

The 2020-21 edition for the Phoenix Suns, though, has taken a fortunate turn in that regard. Thanksgiving took place before the start of the season, and they’ve got two days off after the season-opening win before a weekend back-to-back in Sacramento against the Kings.

That includes Christmas, which the Suns will be able to enjoy with family in town before flying out later on Friday to Sacramento.

“It’s really cool. Different but cool,” head coach Monty Williams said Thursday. “Different in that, you play one game and we’re on to a Christmas slate of basketball games. So for me, as a fan, I can’t wait to watch games tomorrow but also spend time with my crew. All of my kids are in town — it’s a rarity in my house to have everybody in the same house. I’m so excited for that and all the goofy stuff that’s going to happen authentically at my house. I can’t wait. We have a really good time doing nothing.”

After that nice break, Saturday will start a stretch of five games in seven days for the Suns.

“It’s gonna test our ability to manage practice time,” Williams said. “Use it well, maybe film study, maybe more walkthroughs.”

Williams noted that could mean getting other players involved, such as veteran guard E’Twaun Moore, who did not crack the rotation against Dallas. He also brought up Frank Kaminsky, the big man who spent last season with the Suns and was claimed off waivers on Monday.

Kaminsky returned to the team on Thursday. He said he needed to have a couple of negative COVID-19 tests come back and that a gap in his testing while he was waived set him back a bit with the NBA’s process. Kaminsky was a part of the practice while still going through some health and safety protocols.

While Kaminsky’s effectiveness last year was mixed, the Suns on Wednesday in the win over the Mavericks certainly looked like they could use him.

Deandre Ayton was in foul trouble throughout, playing only 12 minutes in the first three quarters. His backup Damian Jones had five fouls in eight minutes, and Jones played because Dario Saric is out dealing with a quad injury. That led to rookie Jalen Smith getting 16 unexpected minutes at the 5. He played well, but it’s a safe bet that Williams and the front office don’t want to rely a lot on Smith in the case that Saric is out. Jones’ performance did not inspire confidence that he could provide any more relief.

Kaminsky obviously has some familiarity with the system already. He said while watching Wednesday’s game at his house that he saw a lot of the same looks offensively and Williams didn’t rule out the chance of Kaminsky playing against the Kings.

The sixth-year big admitted he was playing through some injuries last year and is looking forward to another opportunity with Phoenix to show what he can do.

“I feel good. This is where I wanted to be,” Kaminsky said.

Penguin Air

Empire of the Suns

Kevin Zimmerman

Atop Kevin Durant wish list, it’s complicated for the Suns and Heat

No matter what the Phoenix Suns can offer for Kevin Durant, it'll be a complex trade to actually pull off a trade with the Brooklyn Nets.
3 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Ho...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker’s latest commitment to Phoenix Suns further cements legacy

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker continues to commit to the city and is on his way to becoming the top player in franchise history.
4 days ago
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) becomes entangled with Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul during ...
Kevin Zimmerman

How the Suns will have the Kevin Durant trade discussion

The Phoenix Suns have shifted into discussing a Durant acquisition at least internally just after noon in Arizona.
4 days ago
General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns watches warm-ups to Game One of the Western Confere...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns offseason checklist: What needs to get done in free agency

This is the most difficult offseason for Suns GM James Jones since he got the job in 2019 and I doubt he sees a tougher one in the future.
4 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Aaron Holiday (4) drives between Sacramento Kings guard Josh Jackson (55) and gu...
Kevin Zimmerman

Report: Suns opt against making Aaron Holiday restricted free agent

The Phoenix Suns will not extend a qualifying offer to backup guard Aaron Holiday, giving the team financial relief.
5 days ago
Dennis Schroder #17 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Suns free-agency focus: Will there be a significant upgrade at guard?

The Phoenix Suns could shake up the backcourt to help Chris Paul and Devin Booker manage the load, but how likely is it via free agency?
3 days ago
Suns spend Christmas at home before weekend back-to-back on road