After a week of training in Flagstaff, the Suns traveled down to Prescott Valley to compete in an open scrimmage and let the fans get a sneak peak of the 2017-18 Phoenix Suns.
The roster was divided as such:
Eric Bledsoe, Anthony Bennett, Troy Daniels, Josh Jackson, Mike James, Derrick Jones Jr., Alex Len, Alec Peters
Dragan Bender, Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Peter Jok, Elijah Millsap, Tyler Ulis, T.J. Warren
Jones made the first bucket of the game as a familiar crowd gave him a loud ovation. After spending much time at the Prescott Valley Event Center last season playing for the Suns G-League affiliate NAZ Suns, the locals were happy to have him back.
“I loved every second I was here playing,” Jones said. “It’s always going to be great coming back here and playing in front of these fans. It holds something dear to my heart because I came down here and they embraced me with open arms. It was always great being down here.”
As fatigue began to set in due to the long week of training, Jackson credits the veterans for helping push the young players to their limits.
“A lot of the guys here are just telling me to stay competitive through fatigue,” Jackson said. “The biggest problem that us young guys were having was trying to stay focused through fatigue because we were just so tired.”
Fatigue didn’t seem to be an issue with Jackson’s team though as they took an early lead and held onto it almost the rest of the game.
“We had them down pretty much the whole game and then they started to come back,” Jackson said. “We got a little bit winded, but that’s what we expected them to do. We didn’t expect them to lay down.”
It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter that Booker sunk a mid-range bucket to put the white team in the lead 44-43. The teams would continue to battle back-and-forth until Len was sent to the free throw line with under five seconds remaining.
Draining both of his shots, he sealed a 52-51 victory for the black team.
“I think Alex Len is taking a major step forward,” Head Coach Earl Watson said.
“We did really good today,” Jackson said. “We had a lot of fun. I know guys are really tired, but I was just really impressed that everybody still came out and gave it their all.”
Suns fans came from all over the state to show their support and cheer on the team, but Jackson expressed that he was just as excited about the fans as they were for him.
“They’ve got me really excited this year,” Jackson said. “Expecting great things from us I see. We’re expecting great things from ourselves. Hopefully we can come out and please them this year.”
The Suns will hit the practice court again tomorrow as they begin to gear up for their first preseason game against the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday.