Northern Arizona Suns
|Northern Arizona Suns|
|League||NBA G League|
|History||Long Beach Jam
Northern Arizona Suns
|Arena||Prescott Valley Event Center|
|Location||Prescott Valley, Arizona|
|Team colors||Purple, orange, black, gray
|General manager||Louis Lehman|
|Head coach||Cody Toppert|
|Championships||ABA: 1 (2004)
D-League/G League: 0
|Division / Conference titles||ABA: 1 (2004)
D-League/G League: 1 (2013)
The Northern Arizona Suns are an NBA G League team based in Prescott Valley, Arizona and the minor league affiliate of the Phoenix Suns. The franchise began as the Long Beach Jam in 2003 under the revived American Basketball Association and moved to Bakersfield in the D-League in 2006 as the Bakersfield Jam; after 10 years in Bakersfield, California, the franchise was moved to Prescott Valley in 2016 by the Phoenix Suns and were subsequently renamed the Northern Arizona Suns.
- 1 History
- 2 Season-by-season record
- 3 Current roster
- 4 Former players
- 5 Head coaches
- 6 Affiliates
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Long Beach Jam (2003–2005)
During the year-long hiatus that the American Basketball Association had in the 2002–03 season, one of the teams the league approved of would be the Long Beach Jam. In the team's inaugural season, the Jam managed to procure NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, fellow veteran Corey Gaines, up-and-coming player Matt Barnes, and Japanese point guard Yuta Tabuse on their squad. They also got former NBA Finals winning head coach Paul Westhead during the start of the season, but he managed to procure himself an assistant coach gig with the Orlando Magic after their first game of the season. Nevertheless, with the presence of players like Rodman, Gaines and Tabuse under new head coach Earl Cureton, the Jam would hold a 24–7 record. It was not only considered the best record of the league that season, but also gave the Jam a bye all the way into the Finals, where they competed against the winner of the Kansas City Knights (the previous champions of the ABA) and the Juárez Gallos. In the championship round, the Jam barely escaped against the Knights to win the ABA Championship with a final score of 126–123.
In their second and final season under the Long Beach name, the Jam began their season under a pedestrian 8-6 record with another NBA Hall of Famer, this time Nate "Tiny" Archibald, leading the way as head coach during the first half of the 2004-05 season. On January 17, 2005, Archibald resigned from his position as head coach and had former player and future head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, Corey Gaines, assigned as their new head coach during the second half of their season. In that season, they managed to produce an 18–10 record in a greatly expanded ABA, with Gaines improving the team with a 10-4 second half during that season, which produced them with the second-best record in the Red Division. The Jam competed in the playoffs and made it to the quarterfinals, where they lost 130–115 to the Utah Snowbears (who produced a 25–1 that season), who would surprisingly end up forfeiting their last match to the Bellevue Blackhawks (potentially due to sunk costs with the team) since the Snowbears folded soon afterwards, while Bellevue lost the championship match to the Arkansas RimRockers. After the end of that season, the Jam withdrew from the 2005–06 ABA season to move to the NBA Development League the following season, with the intent to also move to Bakersfield soon afterwards.
Bakersfield Jam (2006–2016)
After their first season in Bakersfield ended in 2007, there was a contest where the fans could decide on a new name for the team. The choices were to rename the team Desperados, Roughnecks, Oilers, or keep the name Jam. On May 17, the team announced that the team will remain the Bakersfield Jam, as that name won the poll in a landslide vote.
On April 29, 2009, it was reported that the Jam had ceased operations, citing lack of sufficient fan attendance. However, on June 18, the Jam announced that they had not shut down and plan to play in the 2009–10 season, with further details to come the following day.
On April 30, 2014, it was reported that the Jam would enter a hybrid operation with the Phoenix Suns. Not only would that lead to the Suns having exclusive collaborations with the team, but it would also allow the Jam to operate under their own management in the process. On May 9, it was confirmed that the Suns and the Jam would agree to working under a hybrid affiliation. Four days later, the Jam completed their transition by allowing Suns scout Bubba Barrage to be the team's newest general manager and letting Nate Bjorkgren coach the Jam in place of Will Voigt. Since the Dignity Health Event Center seated only 500, the team did not sell individual general admission tickets and were sold to season ticket holders only.
On May 29, 2015, it was announced that Nate Bjorkgren would leave the Jam to take part in the Suns' organization as a leading player development and assistant coach. Three months later, former NBA coach Chris Jent would be the newest head coach for the Jam.
Move to Prescott Valley
On April 12, 2016, the Phoenix Suns announced that the organization had officially purchased the Jam and were relocating the franchise to the town of Prescott Valley, Arizona for the 2016–17 season, where the team would be known as the Northern Arizona Suns. In response, the previous owners of the Jam franchise, Stan Ellis and David Higdon, announced that they have been working with the D-League in securing a new franchise and affiliation before the 2016–17 season. On May 2, it was announced that former Arizona Sundogs and current Arizona Rattlers president, Chris Presson, would become the new team president for the Suns. The new team logo and jerseys for Northern Arizona would be officially unveiled on May 11, 2016. The new front office personnel and coaching staff would officially be unveiled on August 16, 2016. During their first season as the Northern Arizona Suns, the team started out the season strong, entering with a 10-1 record at one point. However, the Suns would enter a major losing streak after having Tyler Ulis and Alan Williams briefly play for them via assignment, and would ultimately not recover from it afterwards.
On October 20, 2017, the Suns would have assistant general manager Louis Lehman take over general manager duties for the Northern Arizona Suns, while Bubba Barrage would return to the parent squad in Phoenix for his Director of Player Personnel role. Three days later, it was announced that head coach Tyrone Ellis would became an assistant coach for the parent Phoenix Suns team instead. Assistant coaches Bret Burchard and Brandon Rosenthal would also be called up to help man the vacant assistant coaching positions Phoenix had around this point in time, leaving only Tyler Gattin as the interim head coach to take over for the preseason before naming Cody Toppert as the full-time head coach for the rest of the season. During the season, they would not only name Tyler Gattin as an associate coach, but they'd also hire former center Earl Barron and former Rio Grande Valley Vipers video coordinator Nick Friedman to be their newest assistant coaches for the season later in the month of November.
|Long Beach Jam|
|2003–04||ABA||—||1st||24||7||.774||Won ABA Championship (Kansas City) 126–123|
|2004–05||ABA||Red||2nd||18||10||.643||Won ABA Quarterfinals (Las Vegas) 148–126
Lost ABA Semifinals (Utah Snowbears) 115–130
|2005–06||Suspended operations for D-League application|
|2008–09||D-League||Western||3rd||26||24||.520||Lost Round 1 (Utah Flash) 0–1 (81–94)|
|2010–11||D-League||Western||4th||29||21||.580||Lost Round 1 (Rio Grande Valley) 1–2|
|2011–12||D-League||Western||3rd||28||22||.560||Won Round 1 (Dakota) 2–0
Lost Semifinals (Los Angeles) 0–2
|2012–13||D-League||Western||1st||36||14||.720||Lost Round 1 (Austin) 0–2|
|2014–15||D-League||Western||2nd||34||16||.680||Lost Round 1 (Austin) 1–2|
|Northern Arizona Suns|
|ABA regular season||42||17||.712||2003–2005|
|D-League regular season||268||282||.487||2006–2017|
|Total Regular season and Playoffs combined||314||308||.505||2003–2017|
Northern Arizona Suns roster
Players assigned by NBA teams
- Derrick Jones Jr. was the first player assigned to the Northern Arizona Suns through the Phoenix Suns practice squad. He would be assigned to the squad on November 3, 2016, November 25, 2016, December 23, 2016, January 4, 2017, January 9, 2017, February 22, 2017, November 7, 2017, and November 20, 2017.
- Tyler Ulis – Assigned by the Phoenix Suns on December 14, 2016.
- Alan Williams – Assigned by the Phoenix Suns on December 14, 2016.
- Chris McCullough was the first player assigned to the Northern Arizona Suns via a different franchise besides the Phoenix Suns. He was assigned by the Washington Wizards on March 3, 2017.
Players recalled by NBA teams
- Derrick Jones Jr. was recalled by the affiliate Phoenix Suns on November 19, 2016, December 15, 2016, December 31, 2016, January 7, 2017, January 21, 2017, February 23, 2017, and November 19, 2017.
- Tyler Ulis – Recalled by the Phoenix Suns on December 15, 2016.
- Alan Williams – Recalled by the Phoenix Suns on December 15, 2016.
- Chris McCullough – Recalled by the Washington Wizards after their only D-League under the Northern Arizona Suns name season ended on April 2, 2017.
Players called up by NBA teams
- Johnny O'Bryant III was the first player from the Northern Arizona Suns to be called up to an NBA team. He was first called up by the Denver Nuggets on January 26, 2017 for two 10-day contracts.
- Johnny O'Bryant III was later called up by the Charlotte Hornets on February 24, 2017 before signing a multi-year deal on March 16, 2017.
- Elijah Millsap was the first player from the Northern Arizona Suns to be called up to the Phoenix Suns. He was called up on a multi-year deal on April 9, 2017.
Players returned to the Suns
- Johnny O'Bryant III was the first player to return to the Northern Arizona Suns after an NBA stint was concluded. He briefly returned to Northern Arizona on February 16, 2017.
- Mike James became the first Suns player to hold a two-way affiliate contract to play in both the NBA and G League. James would sign his two-way contract with Phoenix on July 3, 2017, although he'd never officially get to play in Northern Arizona at the time.
- Alec Peters was the first Phoenix Suns draft pick to sign a two-way contract between Phoenix and Northern Arizona. Peters would sign his two-way contract on September 18, 2017 and went to Northern Arizona on October 23, 2017, thus being the first official player to play for both Suns franchises.
- Michael Young would be the first two-way player that's not a part of the Phoenix Suns' parent roster to play for the Northern Arizona Suns. Young would sign a two-way contract with the Washington Wizards on July 5, 2017 before being assigned to the Northern Arizona squad on November 13, 2017. This would be the only year the Wizards would do that, as they prepared themselves for their new G League affiliate squad, the Capital City Go-Go, a year later.
|#||Head coach||Term||Regular season||Playoffs||Achievements|
|1||Westhead, PaulPaul Westhead||2003||1||1||0||1.000||—||—||—||—|
|2||Cureton, EarlEarl Cureton||2003–04||30||23||7||.767||1||1||0||1.000||ABA Championship (2004)|
|3||Archibald, NateNate Archibald||2004–05||14||8||6||.571||—||—||—||—|
|4||Gaines, CoreyCorey Gaines||2005||14||10||4||.714||2||1||1||.500|
|5||Harrick, JimJim Harrick||2006–07||50||19||31||.380||—||—||—||—|
|6||Rooks, SeanSean Rooks||2007–08||50||11||39||.220||—||—||—||—|
|7||Roth, ScottScott Roth||2008–09||50||26||24||.520||1||0||1||.000|
|8||Voigt, WillWill Voigt||2009–14||150||134||116||.536||9||3||6||.333|
|9||Bjorkgren, NateNate Bjorkgren||2014–15||50||34||16||.680||3||1||2||.333|
|10||Jent, ChrisChris Jent||2015–16||50||22||28||.440||—||—||—||—|
|11||Ellis, TyroneTyrone Ellis||2016–17||50||22||28||.440||—||—||—||—|
|12||Toppert, CodyCody Toppert||2017–present||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
- Phoenix Suns (2011–present)
- Atlanta Hawks (2012–2014)
- Golden State Warriors (2006–2010)
- Los Angeles Clippers (2009–2014)
- Los Angeles Lakers (2010–2011)
- Orlando Magic (2008–2009)
- Sacramento Kings (2006–2008)
- Toronto Raptors (2011–2014)
- Utah Jazz (2013–2014)
- "Northern Arizona Suns Reproduction Guideline Sheet". NBA Properties, Inc. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
- Bakersfield To Keep Jammin'
- The Jam is not toast after all
- Phoenix Suns to use D-League Bakersfield as affiliate
- Phoenix Suns to "make experience seamless" between Suns and D-League's Jam by using same system
- "Phoenix Suns Buy Bakersfield Jam; Relocate Team to Prescott Valley, Arizona". OurSports Central. April 12, 2016.
- "Phoenix Suns Purchase Bakersfield Jam". OurSports Central. April 12, 2016.
- Petersen, Matt (May 11, 2016). "New Logo, Uniforms Cement Suns' D-League Presence in Prescott Valley". Phoenix Suns. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- Kotloff, Brian (May 10, 2016). "Northern Arizona Suns Unveil Logo and Uniforms". NBA Development League. Retrieved May 16, 2016.