Oklahoma City opens its preseason home schedule tonight against the one opposing team Thunder fans should track the most in 2009-10 — the Phoenix Suns. Tonight’s game is only game three of the exhibition season for both teams. That means there is the potential for some bad stretches of basketball played by guys you might have never heard of. But Thunder fans should pay close attention to these Suns this season because no team will have more of an impact on Oklahoma City. Here are five reasons to watch the Suns: → The Thunder owns Phoenix’s first-round pick Here’s why Thunder fans want to root against Phoenix. The worse the Suns do, the better the draft selection becomes that Phoenix must convey to the Thunder. Many project the Suns to be worse than last year’s squad that won 46 games and missed the playoffs. If that happens, the Thunder could own two top-14 selections in next year’s draft. →The race for the eighth seed With Houston losing Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady to injuries and Ron Artest to free agency, the Rockets are widely considered to be a team in decline. If the Rockets miss the playoffs this season, that will open one spot for a postseason hopeful in the highly competitive Western Conference. The Thunder would exceed everyone’s expectations if it reached the eighth seed. But that ambition would be assisted if the Suns fall off. →Will Amare Stoudemire be dealt? The answer to that question could greatly shape the outcome of the Suns’ season. Phoenix flirted with trading the four-time All-Star forward last season and throughout the summer. If the 26-year-old is moved before February’s trade deadline, the Suns officially will be committed to rebuilding. His potential destination also could hold a significant impact on the playoff picture if he’s traded to a contender. →Taylor Griffin is a Sun The Oklahoma City native and former OU forward has proved he could make it to the NBA. The Suns selected him with the 48th overall pick. Phoenix is trying to turn the 6-foot-7 Griffin into more of a perimeter-oriented, finesse player. So don’t be shocked to see Taylor Griffin hoisting 3s and taking his man off the dribble. →Run-and-gun in the Valley of the Sun Coach Mike D’Antoni has taken his high-wired act to New York, but the engine that made it run, Steve Nash, is still around. Nash has lost some of his weapons, but the Suns still could be very entertaining. Even with a lumbering big man in Shaquille O’Neal and a new coach in Alvin Gentry, Phoenix led the league in scoring at 109.4 points last season. The Suns have shed the big man, and with Nash, Stoudemire, Jason Richardson and Leandro Barbosa there still should be plenty of points put up in Phoenix.