The Phoenix Suns came out of the All-Star break with one of the most disappointing records in the entire NBA. They haven’t won a game since February 9th, and their record stands at 22-32. With the exception of Eric Bledsoe, the Suns haven’t had any players reach the All-Star game, and their future has looked uncertain since Rajon Rondo left.
On this episode of the S-Word, we look at the Phoenix Suns’ projected starting lineup for their upcoming season. This will be the first season since 2006 under the direction of new head coach Earl Watson, and part of his rebuilding process will be to build a team that can compete in the Western Conference. If last year was any indication, the Suns will be a very young and inexperienced team, and we can’t expect them to win a lot of games. If we’re honest, we know that the Suns might be able to trot out a starting lineup that can compete against an average Western Conference team, but it’s hard to imagine that they will be able to beat a healthy Golden State Warriors team.
The Phoenix Suns are currently sitting on the third seed in the Western Conference standings. The team has been without some of its key players for most of the year, including some of its best players in point guard Eric Bledsoe, power forward Channing Frye, and center Tyson Chandler. But with some help from the NBA’s reserve players, the Suns have managed to move up the standings, leading some to believe they have a chance at winning the conference.
When Chris Paul advanced to the NBA Finals, the whole world believed he would win his first title. After reaching that level for the first time in his career, he ultimately fell short. Making it back to the championship match may be tough in the future.
You have to question how much of the Suns’ success was due to chance rather than talent. After all, this club was up against a Los Angeles Lakers team without Anthony Davis, a Denver Nuggets team without Jamal Murray, and a Los Angeles Clippers team without Kawhi Leonard. Paul accepted less money in the summer to remain with the club for the next four years, but it doesn’t mean they’ve improved. In a healthy Western Conference, can this squad return to the NBA Finals?
Chris Paul, point guard
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In some ways, last year was a comeback year for Paul. Since 2016-2017, it was his best assist per game record. The offense ranked sixth in points per game with Paul at the helm. The Suns were third in assists per game, behind only the Warriors and the Pacers.
Last season, Paul wasn’t the sole reason the Suns went from No. 9 seed to NBA Finals contender, but he was a big part of it. He’s in charge of the dressing room. He may be the greatest all-around leader of the contemporary age. He looks to be in good condition and should be able to lead the club to a long playoff run once again.
Devin Booker, Shooting Guard
Last season, Booker shot 86.7 percent from the free-throw line, helping the Suns to the league’s second-best free-throw percentage. The club (83.4 percent) was just 0.5 percent behind the Clippers (83.9 percent) for the league lead. Booker averaged at least 25.0 points per game for the third year in a row last season. The line had a significant role in this.
Overall, Booker’s outside shooting has to be improved. Last year, he shot 34.0 percent, and his percentage has gradually declined since shooting about 38 percent three years ago. Despite Booker’s poor outside shooting, the Suns finished eighth in three-point field goal percentage as a team. Imagine what this team might do if he develops.
Mikal Bridges, Small Forward
Mikal Bridges will make the All-Defensive Team this season, despite the fact that this is a big prediction. Bridges, now in his fourth season, is an underappreciated defender in the league. He’ll be reunited alongside Chris Paul, one of the best defenders in league history, for his second season. Bridges, who is already a capable defender, would undoubtedly benefit from some of his knowledge.
Last season, the Suns prospered because of their defensive approach. Bridges was the first to do so on the wing. Not to add, his offense improved, with double-digit scoring for the first time in his career and a 42 percent three-point shooting percentage. Bridges is in the middle of a contract year. He’s in line for a five-year, $173 million contract deal. Let’s see whether he’s really worth it.
Jae Crowder – Jae Crowder – Jae Crowder – Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder seems to have been in the league for a long time, although he is just 31 years old. The veteran has rebuilt himself as a defensive force in the post and a legitimate outside shooter since joining the league in 2012. Crowder hit 44.5 percent of his three-point attempts in 2020. Last year, he had a 38.9% success rate.
Crowder does not need to score in large swaths, but he must be consistent. Crowder had been chilly from the field at times. His game should revolve on double digits and defense. The Suns will be in excellent condition if he does it again.
Deandre Ayton (center)
Deandre Ayton was ecstatic to have Paul join the squad. He scored 14.4 points per game and grabbed 10.5 rebounds, which was a drop from the previous season. His total defensive rating, on the other hand, has greatly improved. The Suns need Ayton to continue to be one of the league’s top rim defenders and average a double-double on a regular basis.
Many people thought Booker and Ayton had the potential to become the next Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. That may have been a stretch, since Ayton’s entire offensive game pales in comparison to Shaq’s. Having saying that, Ayton is just 23 years old. Ayton, like Bridges, is in the last year of his contract and is eligible for a five-year extension. This may be the year he reaches his full potential.
Cameron Payne, Elfrid Payton, Landry Shamet, Cameron Johnson, Abdel Nader, Jalen Smith, Dario Saric, JaVale McGee, Frank Kaminsky, Cameron Payne, Elfrid Payton, Landry Shamet, Cameron Johnson, Abdel Nader, Jalen Smith, Dario Saric, JaVale McGee, Frank Kaminsky
Cam Payne went from being on the verge of retirement to becoming a legitimate backup point guard in the NBA. It was the first time in Payne’s career that he played at least 60 games in a season. He averaged 8.4 points and 3.6 assists per game with the Suns. When Chris Paul was injured, he even started in the playoffs. The club now has genuine point guard depth thanks to the acquisition of Elfrid Payton, who was a starter for the Knicks last season.
Landry Shamet adds to the team’s intrigue. The third-year shooting guard averaged 9.3 points per game and shot 38.7% from outside the arc. Could he provide points off the bench for the Bucks in the same manner that Bryn Forbes or Pat Connaughton do? As Bridges’ backup, Cameron Johnson is in a similar situation. Johnson showed the ability to be a high-flying athlete. His development will be closely watched.
Jalen Smith had a fantastic Summer League season. Although his second season may be fruitful, the club nonetheless acquired JaVale McGee for depth. Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky were key contributors last season and should continue to see plenty of action this season. Overall, this bench is extremely well-made.
Will This Lineup Be Able To Survive In A Healthy Western Conference?
As previously said, the Suns were fortunate in that they were able to play the Lakers, Nuggets, and Clippers without being at full strength. Despite this, the squad finished the regular season as the No. 2 overall seed. During the regular season, when Anthony Davis was injured, Jamal Murray and Kawhi Leonard each saw considerable playing time.
Murray and Leonard will both be out for a considerable amount of time this season as they heal from ACL injuries. If Davis is really recovered, the verdict is yet out. Even without those guys, the Lakers, Mavericks, and Jazz are all stacked with talent in the Western Conference.
Despite not making any significant acquisitions this summer, the Suns have a cohesive squad. It was good enough to go to the NBA Finals and finish as the conference’s top seed. Even if the whole league has healthy teams, there is no reason why the Suns can’t return to the NBA Finals.
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The Phoenix Suns have been struggling as of late as they have lost seven of their last nine games, and currently sit at a record of 13.5-23. They have a talented young roster with a lot of potential, but it has been a long time since they have been a playoff team. With a roster that is young, talented and struggling, that is not a good sign. But with a healthy West, the Suns could make a strong playoff push, and make a statement that they are a force to be reckoned with. They have a lot of talent on the roster, and with a healthy West, they could make a run at a playoff spot. For them to win their first playoff series, they will need a healthy West, and. Read more about news about suns and let us know what you think.
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