I’m a little annoyed when it comes to Phoenix Suns These days, I can admit that. I haven’t always been, but the decade of futility that preceded the team’s current iteration and the bitterly disappointing endings of the past two seasons have made me wary of over-optimism.
However, I think it’s time for Suns fans to hit the panic button on this team (and I’ve seen it in the past few weeks as the Suns have gone 4-6 over the last 10) to calmly re-evaluate.
1. The Suns will make a deal before the deadline
I know it’s been fashionable lately to complain that Suns GM James Jones has done nothing to improve the team. And it’s not without merit in saying that he could and should have done more over the course of the season to bolster the Suns frontcourt and/or add another ballplayer and scorer.
But it’s not reasonable to expect Jones won’t make some kind of move by the deadline, especially if he is Waiting to sell of the team by then already, ending the apparent limitations on the range of deals the team is willing to consider.
2. NO TEAM IN THE NBA SEEMS INCREDIBLY STRONG
It’s always debatable, but the 2022/23 season doesn’t feature any great teams whatsoever. the Memphis Grizzlies And the Denver Nuggets Leading the Western Conference at (as of Dec. 21) 19-11, instead Milwaukee Bucks East lead at 22-8. The Sun, Through All Injuries, 19-13.
While there can be no doubt that dollars, Boston CelticsAnd the Cleveland CavaliersGrizzlies, Nuggets, and New Orleans Pelicans The teams are all extremely strong, and no team as currently established has the look of the 2017 Warriors, 2001 Lakers, or 1996 Bulls. Teams I just thought “man… everything has to be going right for someone to beat them in a seven-game series.”
As of this moment the Suns would really be an underdog against the Bucks or the Celtics and maybe against one or two Western teams as well.. but I firmly believe they would be right about it with a perfectly good chance of winning. And that’s all you can really ask for in a clincher series.
3. The rest of the leagues are far from being consistent…and that goes both ways
No doubt some other competitors, like the Suns, will strike deals with tank teams to get their best players. But on the flip side, other teams, like the Suns, will continue to deal with problems like injuries. It’s never okay to hope for injuries, but it’s a reality of professional sports and a virtual guarantee that some other top team will lose at least one of their stars in playoff time. This can completely change the perception of compatibility with them in a way that is impossible to predict at the moment.
4. Early season adversity will set the Suns up for playoff challenges
The Suns have already had to juggle their lineups to deal with the various absences of Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Cam Johnson, Deandre Ayton… not to mention having played the entire season so far without anyone replacing Jae Crowder on the roster.
And this has forced several Suns to take on roles that might benefit the team when it matters most… be it Mikal Bridges as a scorer or Josh Okoji being pressed into service on the big stage. Forcing them to make these adjustments now will make it less difficult if they have to do it again later.
5. Devin Booker of the Suns
As frustrating as those nights when a poker shot doesn’t land and he seems determined to take 25 shots anyway, let me tell you: He’s the kind of player it takes to challenge.
“Champion ball” may be a dirty phrase to many fans… something to be scorned as impure basketball. But every tournament contender needs a man who can. You can’t just count on him on your way to the NBA Championship. You need that guy who can just drop in from deep and pin a three on his cannons. Who can drive against the defense and get to the cup or get to the line.
for him heroic effort Against the Pelicans where he scored 36 points in the second half to lead the Suns back from a 46-63 halftime deficit was a reminder (if you need one) of what Booker can do when his team needs points and is fighting for them.
Will the Suns be the team to lift the O’Brien Trophy when the NBA Finals wrap up in June? I hope so, but I obviously don’t know.
What I do know is that the Suns, despite their recent slip, are still one of the few teams capable of winning it all. do not forget it.