The Brooklyn Nets make their only visit to the desert Tuesday night to face the Phoenix Suns in a battle of rebuilding clubs looking to turn a corner.
Something’s gotta give Tuesday night when the Brooklyn Nets visit the Phoenix Suns for a 9 p.m. Eastern Time tip at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Both the Nets (4-6) and Suns (2-7) come into the game off victories on Sunday night and neither team has yet been able to string together consecutive victories this season.
Brooklyn finished a 2-1 homestand Sunday with a 122-97 drubbing of the Philadelphia 76ers, while Phoenix snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 102-100 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies later the same night.
It was the first win for the Suns since they blew out the Dallas Mavericks in their season opener.
Phoenix, in its first season under coach Igor Kokoskov, is still looking for an identity and they have been mostly wanting to enter witness protection. Through nine games this season, the Suns are near the bottom of the NBA in both offensive and defensive rating (29th and 27th, respectively).
The Suns are no strangers to new beginnings, with Kokoskov the team’s fourth head coach since the start of the 2015-16 season. The team is also in a front-office transition after firing general manager Ryan McDonough just nine days before the season opener last month.
It makes the Brooklyn operation, where general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson are in their third seasons on the job, seem like a paragon of stability.
But it’s been tough sledding in Phoenix for awhile now. The Suns haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 and have just one winning record since then, so that identity crisis has been going on for some time.
Put it this way — it’s been so long since Phoenix had a player selected for the All-Star Game that their last All-Star is now actually in the Hall of Fame. That would be Steve Nash, who was selected in 2012.
They may have a candidate to break that drought in guard Devin Booker, the fourth-year scorer who is averaging 25.7 points and 6.7 assists per game this season, having missed three games earlier with a sprained ankle.
Booker is the face of the franchise at this point, having just signed a five-year, $158 million max extension in the offseason. It was Booker’s two buckets in the final minute Sunday that lifted the Suns to the win over Memphis.
Phoenix is also in the process of waiving veteran big man Tyson Chandler. Chandler was in the final season of a four-year, $52 million free-agent deal he signed in July 2015 and has reportedly agreed to forfeit $2.1 million of the remaining $13.5 million in order to secure his release.
Chandler just turned 36 last month and is an awkward fit for a young, rebuilding club. He played in seven games for the Suns this season and averaged 3.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game, shooting 8-for-12/—/10-for-18.
Here are three things to watch Tuesday night when the Nets battle the Suns in a game that will be carried on YES Network.