Citizen Staff Writer
The official unveiling of the Terry Porter-led Phoenix Suns will happen when the team opens the regular season Oct. 29 at San Antonio.
Fans will get a glimpse of the new coach’s defensive-minded plans when the Suns hold their first public scrimmage at 5 p.m. Friday at McKale Center.
“In the first one, I’m just looking for guys to have a good feel for what we want to try to get done, want to make sure everybody is active and is talking, give them a chance to blow it out,” Porter said.
Porter stresses a more controlled style – set plays, defense and a deep rotation – than the run-and-shoot approach of coach Mike D’Antoni, who left the Suns for the New York Knicks.
“It will be interesting to see how, when the ball is thrown up, guys react,” Porter said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what guys have been able to take from the drills in practice.”
The Suns will likely be without guard Leandro Barbosa, who missed camp to be with his ill mother in Brazil.
And it’s questionable whether star forward Amaré Stoudemire will play after he sustained a torn iris after being jabbed by Boris Diaw in a Wednesday workout.
Stoudemire, who has missed the Suns’ last two training camps in Tucson, could play Friday with goggles, Porter said.
“Kareem Abdul Amaré,” teammate Shaquille O’Neal joked, referring to NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who wore eye protection most of his career.
Before the injury, Stoudemire had eased back into practice as he recovered from an ankle injury.
“For us, it’s going to be important that he gets back and (picks) up his condition,” Porter said. “It seems you take a couple of steps forward and then you’ve got to take steps backwards. . . . We’ll get him back into the swing of things as quickly as we can.”
Suns general manager Steve Kerr, a former Arizona Wildcat, said he would “like to see the first few days of practice pay off” with “guys understanding defensive rotations and offensive sets.”
“Given that it’s the first scrimmage and we’re only a few days into camp, inevitably there will be some breakdowns,” Kerr said. “You have to look at it as a teaching opportunity.”
When: 5 p.m. Friday (doors open at 4)
Where: McKale Center
Suggested donation: $6 adults, $3 youths (for UA programs)