Bakersfield Jam
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Bakersfield Jam
Northern Arizona Suns
Northern Arizona Suns logo
League NBA G League
Founded 2003
History Long Beach Jam
ABA: 2003-2005
Bakersfield Jam
D-League: 2006-2016
Northern Arizona Suns
Arena Prescott Valley Event Center
Location Prescott Valley, Arizona
Team colors Purple, orange, black, gray[1][2]
President Chris Presson
General manager Louis Lehman
Head coach Cody Toppert
Ownership Phoenix Suns
Affiliation(s) Phoenix Suns
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.


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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11][12] The new front office personnel and coaching staff would officially be unveiled on August 16, 2016.[13] 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.[14] 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.

Season-by-season record

Season League Division/Conference Finish Wins Losses Pct. Postseason Results
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
Bakersfield Jam
2006-07 D-League Western 6th 19 31 .380
2007-08 D-League Western 5th 11 39 .220
2008-09 D-League Western 3rd 26 24 .520 Lost Round 1 (Utah Flash) 0-1 (81-94)
2009-10 D-League Western 8th 17 33 .340
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
2013-14 D-League Western 5th 24 26 .480
2014-15 D-League Western 2nd 34 16 .680 Lost Round 1 (Austin) 1-2
2015-16 D-League Pacific 3rd 22 28 .440
Northern Arizona Suns
2016-17 D-League Pacific 3rd 22 28 .448
ABA regular season 42 17 .712 2003-2005
D-League regular season 268 282 .487 2006-2017
Total Playoffs 6 10 .375 2003-2017
Total Regular season and Playoffs combined 314 308 .505 2003-2017

Current roster

Former players

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.
  • Davon Reed - Assigned by the Phoenix Suns on December 28, 2017, January 8, 2018, and January 21, 2018.

Players recalled by NBA teams

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.
  • Isaiah Canaan was called up by the Phoenix Suns via disabled player's exception on December 13, 2017, one day after the Northern Arizona squad originally traded for him.
  • Josh Gray - Called up by the Phoenix Suns via 10-day contract on February 1, 2018, one day after Isaiah Canaan fractured his tibula in a game.
  • Shaquille Harrison - Called up by the Phoenix Suns via 10-day contract on February 20, 2018, one day after Josh Gray would have his second 10-day contract expire.

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.
  • Derrick Jones Jr. would be the first former Phoenix Suns player to get cut from the parent squad, only to return to the Northern Arizona squad on December 13, 2017.
  • Josh Gray - Returned to Northern Arizona on February 21, 2018.

Two-way players

  • 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 due to his contract concluding early on December 7, 2017.
  • 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.[15] Young would be waived from the Wizards on January 3, 2018 without playing a single game for Washington at all. This would be the only season the Wizards would assign a player to whatever G League team they wanted to, as they prepared themselves for their new G League affiliate squad, the Capital City Go-Go, a season later.
  • Danuel House - Signed a two-way contract with the Phoenix Suns on December 8, 2017, one day after Mike James' two-way contract concluded. He'd join Northern Arizona on December 28, 2017.

Players called up to Two-way contracts

Head coaches

# Head coach Term Regular season Playoffs Achievements
G W L Win% G W L Win%
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 -- -- -- -- -- -- --




External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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