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27 Teams In 27 Days: Meet The Northern Arizona Suns

By Jake Winderman | September 4, 2018

Team: Northern Arizona Suns

First Season: 2006-2007 (Bakersfield Jam)

Affiliate: Phoenix Suns

Location: Prescott Valley, Arizona

Arena: Prescott Valley Event Center

Head Coach: Bret Burchard

Former Franchise Names: Long Beach Jam (2003-2005/ABA), Bakersfield Jam (2006-2016)

Mascot: Buckets

2017-2018 Finish: 23-27 (3rd in Pacific)

2018 NBA G League 1st Round Pick(s): 16th (From Lakeland)

Current Two-Way Players: George King (Colorado)

Notable Alumni: Derrick Jones Jr., Tyler Ulis, Chris McCullough, Davon Reed, Johnny O’Bryant III, Elijah Millsap, Isaiah Canaan, Josh Gray, Shaquille Harrison, Mike James, Danuel House

The Northern Arizona Suns joined the NBA G League as the Bakersfield Jam during the 2006-2007 season. Before coming to Bakersfield, the team started out as the Long Beach Jam, playing in the American Basketball Association. Long Beach included players such as Dennis Rodman, Corey Gaines and Matt Barnes, and were coached by Paul Westhead and Nate “Tiny” Archibald. The team won the 2004 ABA Championship before making the move from the ABA to the NBA G League in 2006.

After their first season in Bakersfield as the Bakersfield Jam, the franchise decided to hold a name-the-team contest. Despite the choices Desperados, Roughnecks and Oilers, fans decided to keep the name “Jam” by an overwhelming landslide. While in Bakersfield, the Jam qualified for the postseason in five of their 10 seasons, winning their first playoff series during the 2011-2012 season against the Dakota Wizards.

The Jam had 11 selections to All-NBA G League Teams including Kevinn Pinkey, Derrick Byars, Trey Johnson, Brian Butch, Alade Aminu, Trey Johnson, Damion James, Jerel McNeal and Earl Barron. Bakersfield also garnered one NBA G League MVP trophy from Brian Butch (2009-2010), one NBA G League Most Improved Player Award from Joe Jackson (2014-2015), three NBA G League Impact Player of the Year awards from Brian Butch (2009-2010), Ike Diogu (2013-2014) and Jerel McNeal (2014-2015) and one Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award from Renaldo Major (2014-2015).

In 2016, the Phoenix Suns purchased the Bakersfield Jam and moved the team to Prescott Valley, Arizona, where the team has resided for the past two seasons. The N.A.Z. Suns are also the first NBA G League team in association history to call Arizona their home.

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