|Northern Arizona Suns|
|League||NBA G League|
|History||Long Beach Jam|
Northern Arizona Suns
|Arena||Findlay Toyota Center|
|Location||Prescott Valley, Arizona|
|Team colors||Purple, orange, black, gray |
|General manager||Jeff Feld|
|Head coach||Bret Burchard|
|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.
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.
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.
The team played at Rabobank Arena until 2009 and later at the Jam Events Center.
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.
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 and became 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, although it did not come to fruition. 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 was officially unveiled on May 11 and the front office personnel and coaching staff were announced on August 16. During their first season as the Northern Arizona Suns, the team started out the season strong, entering with a 10–1 record. 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 afterward.
In the 2017 offseason, the D-League rebranded as the NBA G League. On October 20, 2017, the Suns had assistant general manager Louis Lehman take over general manager duties for the Northern Arizona Suns, while previous general manager Bubba Barrage remained in Phoenix as director of player personnel.Three days later, head coach Tyrone Ellis became an assistant coach for Phoenix leaving assistant coach Tyler Gatlin as the interim head coach during the G League preseason. Cody Toppert was named the head coach just prior to the start of the season. The team finished the season with a 23–27 record and missed the playoffs. At the end of the season, head coach Toppert was promoted to an assistant coaching position in Phoenix. He would be replaced by former Northern Arizona Suns assistant and Phoenix Suns' assistant coach Bret Burchard.
|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/G League regular season||303||347||.466||2006–present|
Northern Arizona Suns roster
|#||Head coach||Term||Regular season||Playoffs||Achievements|
|2||Earl Cureton||2003–04||30||23||7||.767||1||1||0||1.000||ABA Championship (2004)|
The NBA G League, or simply the G League, is the National Basketball Association's (NBA) official minor league basketball organization. The league was known as the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) from 2001 to 2005, and the NBA Development League from 2005 until 2017. The league started with eight teams until NBA commissioner David Stern announced a plan to expand the NBA D-League to fifteen teams and develop it into a true minor league farm system, with each NBA D-League team affiliated with one or more NBA teams in March 2005. At the conclusion of the 2013–14 NBA season, 33% of NBA players had spent time in the NBA D-League, up from 23% in 2011. As of the 2019–20 season, the league consists of 28 teams, all of which are either single-affiliated or owned by an NBA team.
Earl Daniel Barron Jr. is an American former professional basketball player and current assistant coach for the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League. He previously played college basketball for the University of Memphis and had stints in the NBA with multiple teams, including the 2006 NBA Finals champion Miami Heat.
Corey Yasuto Gaines is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was also a former head coach of the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Cody Arlyn Toppert is a former American professional basketball player and current assistant coach for the Memphis Tigers men's basketball team in the American Athletic Conference. At 6'4" (194 cm), he was a left-handed guard who was a strong outside shooter and quick enough to drive past defenders and finish in the lane.
John Logan Jenkins III is an American professional basketball player for Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli Premier League. Jenkins was a two-time TSSAA Class AA Mr. Basketball selection, and was the Gatorade Tennessee High School Player of the Year in 2008–09. He played college basketball at Vanderbilt.
Tyrone Ellis is a retired naturalized Georgian professional basketball player, originally from the United States. He is 1.93 m tall and played as a shooting guard. He was the first head coach named for both the Northern Arizona Suns and the Stockton Kings of the NBA G League.
Reginald Ryedell Bullock is an American professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels before being selected by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft with the 25th overall pick. Bullock has also played for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, and Los Angeles Lakers.
Kendall Dewan Marshall is an American basketball coach and former professional basketball player. He was born in Dumfries, Virginia, and attended Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. He was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft with the 13th overall pick.
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Michael Perry James is an American professional basketball player for CSKA Moscow of the VTB United League and the EuroLeague. He was a high school basketball standout playing for Grant High School in Portland, and played college basketball for Eastern Arizona College and Lamar University. He's also best known for being the first player in NBA history to go from a two-way contract to a regular contract, all while never being sent down to the NBA G League in the process.
The 2012–13 Phoenix Suns season was the organization's 45th season in the National Basketball Association. This season was the first since the 2003–04 season that the Suns were without star point guard and former two-time MVP Steve Nash after Nash was sign-and-traded to the rival Los Angeles Lakers. Another fan favorite, Grant Hill, also left for Los Angeles in this season, but he would sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. By technicality, the player who held the most playing experience for the Suns this season was Jermaine O'Neal.
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Cory Allen Jefferson is an American professional basketball player for the Atléticos de San Germán of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional. He played college basketball for Baylor University and represented the United States at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia.
Derek Cooke Jr. is an American professional basketball player for Pallacanestro Trieste of the Lega Basket Serie A (LBA). He played three years of Division I college basketball for Wyoming.
Nate Bjorkgren is an American basketball coach who is an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for University of South Dakota and Buena Vista University. He was previously an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns from 2015-2017.
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Davon Malcolm Reed is an American professional basketball player for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA G League. Reed was selected with the 32nd pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He played college basketball for the Miami Hurricanes.
The 2018–19 Phoenix Suns season was the 51st season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as well as their 26th season at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. They finished with 19 wins to 63 losses, the franchise's worst regular season record since the inaugural season 1968–69.