The Phoenix Suns are in rebuilding mode, with the organization in the process of trying to add as much young talent as possible to the roster. There are some intriguing new additions in place, including Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt and first-round pick Alex Len up front, but it's unclear if that'll be enough to benefit Phoenix this season.
Like most rebuilding efforts, there will be a lot of losses along the way and things could get ugly at times for Phoenix.
Five games to watch
Oct. 30 vs. Portland Trail Blazers - The Suns' season opener has plenty of intrigue for a couple of reasons. New head coach Jeff Hornacek will make his regular-season coaching debut and Channing Frye will play in a regular season game for the first time since the 2011-12 season after missing all of last year due to a heart issue.
Nov. 29 at Utah Jazz - The Suns and Jazz will be two of the weaker teams in the league, but there's a major storyline surrounding this matchup. Hornacek played for the Jazz from 1994-2000 and was a key contributor to the two Jazz teams that lost to the Chicago Bulls in consecutive NBA Finals. Hornacek was also an assistant coach for the Jazz for the last two seasons. This will be his first trip back to Utah as a head coach.
Dec. 23 vs. Los Angeles Lakers - It has been more than a year since Steve Nash was traded from the Suns to the Lakers, but emotions will likely still be running high when the veteran point guard returns to Phoenix for the first time this year.
Dec. 30 at Los Angeles Clippers - The Clippers will be major favorites, but it will be interesting to see how Bledsoe performs in his first game against the team that dealt him away this offseason. Bledsoe was a key part of the Clippers' bench last season, but now he'll be expected to carry a much larger load for Phoenix. Jared Dudley, who was part of the Bledsoe trade, will also be playing his first game against his former team.
Jan. 27 at Philadelphia 76ers - Two teams. One spot for the most ping-pong balls in the 2014 NBA Draft lottery and the best chance at Andrew Wiggins. A "Wiggins-off," if you will. This could be the Suns' best chance at a road win all year. It should be a thriller!
The Suns' longest road trip of the year is five games in early January, featuring games against teams that should all be in the playoff hunt and a pair of back-to-backs. Phoenix has another difficult five-game stretch around the All-Star break with matchups against the Bulls, Rockets, Warriors and Heat coming before the break -- and a trip to Denver to play the Nuggets coming immediately after.
It's kind of hard to say anything will be "easy" for the Suns this year, but there's one four-game stretch which could prove a bit less challenging. It comes at the beginning of the season in November and includes a home-and-home against the Sacramento Kings before games against the Charlotte Bobcats and Orlando Magic.
Important schedule facts
Season and home opener: Oct. 30 vs. Blazers
Longest road trip: Five games from Jan. 7-13
Longest homestand: Five games from Jan. 15-24