All of the talk surrounding the Phoenix Suns revolves around the future of guard Eric Bledsoe, who rejected a four-year, $48 million deal from the Suns and may wind up accepting their qualifying offer and becoming a free agent next year.
Lost in the shuffle is that the Suns improved from a record of 25-57 in the 2012-2013 season, the worst mark in the Western Conference, to 48-34 and narrowly missing out in the playoffs last season. Although the team still doesn’t have Bledsoe back and lost forward Channing Frye to the Orlando Magic, many believe they can still get to the postseason.
Point guard Isaiah Thomas, who adds another dimension to one of the deepest backcourts in all of the league, is no stranger to being overlooked. At 5-9 it basically has been part of his bio since he stepped on a court for the first time. It hasn’t stopped him though. He, like his new teammates, has embraced the challenge and overcome it. Not only did he become the first player in league history his height or shorter to record a triple-double, but he also averaged 20 points, 6 assists and almost 3 rebounds a game last season.
The offseason acquisition, forward Anthony Tolliver, took the road less traveled, but the one that strengthens a player’s resolve, in his journey to the NBA. He went undrafted out of Creighton, played overseas in Turkey and Germany and in the D-League and fought to earn his spot in the league. The journey has led to a role in the NBA as a stretch-four that he’s thrived in the last few seasons. It also has given him an edge and appreciation for every NBA minute he logs.
Thomas averaged 20.3 points, 6.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game last season while shooting 45.3% from the field, 34.9% from beyond the arc and 85.0% from the free throw line. Tolliver averaged 6.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game while shooting 42.0% from the field, 41.3% from the field and 80.5% from the charity stripe last season.
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