The Phoenix Suns season tips off tonight at Talking Stick Resort Arena when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers. As the team looks to contend with Western Conference powerhouses Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, and reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, here are six things you should know about the Suns’ upcoming season.
1. New Kid on the Block
The Suns picked forward Josh Jackson fourth overall in this year’s NBA draft, and the former Kansas star joins a young core of players led by Devin Booker, who scored a franchise record and NBA season high 70 points in a game last season.
2. New Threads
This season, NBA uniforms are manufactured through Nike. While some teams basically kept their primary uniforms the same, the Suns changed it up a little bit.The new primary jerseys blend orange, purple and white and look somewhat like Suns jerseys from the past. An alternate uniform is black with orange and gray trim, similar to the team’s alternate jersey from the past couple seasons.
3. New Voice
On TV, Kevin Ray takes over as the play-by-play announcer for the Suns on Fox Sports Arizona. The veteran Valley sports personality takes over for Steve Albert, who retired at the end of last season. Ray has been the Suns sideline reporter for the past five seasons, after previously serving as a pre- and post-game host. Longtime voice Al McCoy returns to call games on Arizona Sports radio.
This season marks the 50th season of Phoenix Suns basketball. Throughout the season, the team will have dedicated “Decade Nights” to honor past players and teams. Each Decade Night includes a bobblehead giveaway, including the late Connie Hawkins on November 10 and Tom Chambers on December 9.
5. New Courts
Inspired by the 50th season, the Suns announced they will refurbish, restore, or build 50 basketball courts throughout the state during the season. The team also recently helped open a new learning center for sex trafficking victims at the Phoenix Dream Center.
6. New Giveaways
Among the giveaway items on the Suns promotional schedule this season are a margarita shaker (October 25), an ugly sweater t-shirt (December 13), a cooling towel (January 2) and a cape flag (April 8).