It’s Labor Day weekend, which on the NBA calendar means players get together for voluntary workouts with teammates to get in shape before training camps open in about three weeks.
That is certainly the case in Phoenix, where a team that hasn’t made the playoffs for six seasons (and isn’t projected to this coming season) tries to round into form. Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and the big names are leading the way in workouts at the Suns’ facilities, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
Suns players Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and Alan Williams have spent nearly all of their offseason training in Phoenix while most of their teammates have been in and out or have trickled into Talking Stick Resort Arena in recent weeks. Since mid-August, there have been enough players to run five-on-five, full-court games on weekdays with the help of visitors such as Phoenix native and Philadelphia 76ers guard Jerryd Bayless.
“We take it as a good sign that they have a chance to go anywhere and they choose to be here,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said.
It is a good sign. It certainly beats the alternative. But the Suns have had this same good sign the past couple of seasons and it didn’t translate once the games mattered.
The Suns added a couple of veterans this summer — Jared Dudley, Leandro Barbosa — to go with a young roster that has potential but needs time to develop. How far this team can go this season rests on the shoulders of Bledsoe, who only played in 31 games last season due to injury. They need him to be a shot creator and a force on the court, and if he’s back this team improves off last season. His health matters more than preseason workouts, but the fact he is part of them is one of McDonough’s good signs.