Few people are as familiar with the Phoenix Suns as Flex, a team insider with over 23k Twitter followers who wears multiple hats, one of which is working for KSRN Arizona.
Inside The Suns were able to get down with Flex and get his comments on Phoenix’s current playoff run:
Q: What drew you to the Suns? What drew you to the game in the first place?
A: I became interested in basketball since I am the youngest of 14 children. Everyone was a high-level athlete who participated in collegiate sports. In my early years, I was a baseball player through and through. My family was so invested in baseball that when my brother (a baseball prodigy himself) died, I turned to basketball as a method to escape the stresses of baseball.
Everything in the game captivated me, from the processing and skill necessary to achieve to the art form it conjures. One of my brothers saw how rapidly I was taking up basketball. He planted the seed of my devotion by bringing me to a Nets-Suns game when I was 12 years old. I recall Kevin Johnson outscoring Mookie Blaylock by 38 points. Three days later, my brother gave me a KJ jersey, and I fell in love with the Suns and haven’t looked back since.
Q: Who is your favourite Suns squad of all time? What did you like most about it?
A: Without a doubt, the 92-93 Suns. That was the team to whom I felt the most closely linked. As my basketball fanaticism increased, and many of the locals in South Jersey were Sixers supporters, it was natural for me to get acquainted with Barkley’s game and personality. It was a pairing made in heaven to have KJ and Barkley on the squad.
Thunder Dan (Majerle) was incredible, and Cedric Ceballos and Tim Kempton are personal friends of mine. I also believe that this squad is the finest overall. We’ll be champs that year if Ced (Ceballos) doesn’t get hurt in the conference finals. I also have to commend the 2004-05 and 20-21 squads. Both of those squads were genuinely exceptional.
Q: How do the Suns compare against Denver, assuming that’s the matchup we get in the next round?
A: I believe it’s an excellent matchup. The Suns are a deliberate club that enjoys meticulously and accurately dismantling opposition defences. The Nuggets aren’t nearly as physical as the Clippers, so I believe this will be a chess match. Two years ago, Jokic was exposed on defence against a completely different Suns squad. Outside of Jamal Murray and 15 (Jokic), I don’t think anybody on that squad should be feared.
I also like the Suns’ prospects of coming to Denver and playing freely when Denver is under siege in games 1 and 2. I also believe that Monty (Williams) has a tactical edge against Mike Malone, which is underappreciated in the series.
Q: Do you envision a single Suns role player being a consistent game changer for the remainder of this season?
A: I believe it will be Cam Payne. We haven’t seen him yet; he’s currently recovering from an S1 bone contusion in his lower back. I believe he will provide a change of pace to Chris Paul’s minutes, that he can take (Landry) Shamet’s minutes and shots, and that he will bring a whole new dynamic to this team when he returns. His reappearance piques my interest.
I also wanted to highlight that everyone I’ve spoken with believes Cam’s (Payne) peak in 2021 is closely tied to Dario (Saric.) With the bench unit, Dario and Cam would run a dynamic two-man game, and Dario’s ability to stretch the floor opened up a lot of opportunities for Cam. I honestly feel that the fact that KD is currently in that role makes this a frightening prospect for rival defences.
Q: One more question. Brooklyn’s season is over, but how did you like Mikal and Cam in their new uniforms? Is there any chance that one or both of them will return?
A: I watch every Nets game, particularly now that Cam and Mikal are on the team. On a personal level, I know both of them; they are both wonderful people who I will always admire. Cam’s approaching free agency has piqued my interest, and I hope he is adequately paid. I know the Nets see Mikal as a building piece and appreciate what he’s already contributed to the table.
In only two months, the entire locker room and front staff feel he has emerged as the franchise’s cornerstone. Despite all of this, I think Mikal will return to Phoenix in 2026. This was a scenario similar to Steve Nash, who, after being moved to Dallas and becoming an all-star, returned to Phoenix because he loved the city and team. I see a same thing happening with Mikal; he likes Phoenix, knows the reasons for the relocation, and recognises that it was likely the greatest choice for his career. There is no ill will between them. Cam’s future is uncertain, owing to his imminent free agency. In 2026, Devin is the lone Sun under contract.
This coincides with the free agency class that includes Embiid, Giannis, Luka, and others. The Suns may be able to chase one of those max players to combine with Devin, as well as maybe reuniting with Mikal. Cam may not have enough space at that moment.